Restarting for a foreign ATP pilot

Good evening, captains!

First of all, my COMPLIMENTS about the website. Outstanding source of reliable information and knowledge.
I REALLY appreciate your will to help us.

Well, I’m a foreign ATP pilot with bachelor degree who recently moved to U.S. and is waiting for the work permit.

About my experience, during the last 10 years I flew, on corporate aviation, around 3.000 hours (total time) in type ratings like LR31, LR40, LR45, CL30…

Analyzing the actual scenario in U.S., which is really good for aviators, it looks like the Airlines became a very good option for me.

About my certification, since I arrived here, I requested to FAA the Private Pilot License and received it “no charge”.
Now I’m looking for the best (and cheaper) way to obtain the FAA ATP.

My doubts (countless):
-TOTAL TIME: I’m not sure if FAA will recognize my total time experience from my log books. Can you confirm that?

-Do you know if it’s possible, for example, find some FAA Instructor and do the necessary check rides for the ATP License?
I contacted some flight schools but most of them are trying to sell me the full program of ATP, that I’m not interested due to it’s elevated price.

I think this Q&A will be long, very long…
By the way, I want to thank you about the patience with so many silly questions…

Best regards and safe flights…


Not very long or complicated at all. I don’t see why the FAA wouldn’t validate your hours so I think you should be fine with that (unless there are inconsistencies of course). The big issue is no, there are no instructors or FAA Inspectors who can give you the necessary checkrides. The thing is in 2013 the US govt passed the Airline Safety Act which made it MUCH more difficult to obtain your ATP. Back in the day you simply took the written, went up in a twin and you were done. Now there’s a LONG list of requirements including the fact you MUST complete a mandatory ATP CTP (Certified Training Program, the expensive course you’re referring to) just to take the written let alone take the checkride. The good news is the Regionals are hiring like crazy, with your time and experience they’ll scoop you right up AND (here’s the good part) as part of your newhire training they will provide the CTP training and get you your ATP. Spend a couple of years here building your TT and you’ve got a good chance at a Major.


Mr. Adam, good evening!
Thank you for your quick answer.

I’m waiting a confirmation from FAA about my total time and how it would work. And it seems that this is my first obstacle. I’ll need those hours to avoid wasting money building hours for the Commercial Pilot (Multi + Instrument) License, correct?

By the way, to apply for a regional or a major I will need, at least, the Commercial License AND the written of ATP, correct?

IF FAA recognizes my experience, can I just look for a school and request the check ride for this?

Best regards,


The FAA should be able to verify/authenticate your time and your foreign Commercial pilot license. If they only verify the hours but not your Commercial (not sure why they wouldn’t?) then yes you can simply take that written exam and checkride. A Major airline will require you to have your full ATP (and more hours than you currently have), a Regional will only require your Commercial and all the flight time requirements to obtain your ATP. Why? Because again, YOU CANNOT TAKE THE ATP WRITTEN WITHOUT COMPLETING THE ATP CTP COURSE.



You can’t just take the ATP checkride, those flight schools are correct and you will need to take their full program to obtain an ATP. You will need to speak directly with the FAA about your flight time questions.

Also, you can’t fly for a US airline with a work permit, you will need to be a permanent US resident.


Dear Captain Chris,
Thank you for your comments.

About the residency, it looks like it’s a matter of time to receive it.

When I mentioned the full ATP program that flight schools are trying to sell me, I’m talking about the 1500 hours. This is a reason to desperate me.

The ATP CTP, I know that sooner or later I will need to accomplish this.

Besides, another question:
Talking about a career from the bottom in regionals/majors, can you detail me the difference entering at those jobs having Commercial License and having ATP License?

I’m trying to measure if the investment of running after the ATP BEFORE enter the job worth the amount.

Does it make any difference for the company (about seniority) to hire someone with commercial and another one already with ATP License?

Best regards,


As long as your flight time meets the ATP requirements per FAR 61.159, a commercial license will be fine as the regionals don’t require applicants to have their ATP in hand before they apply. If they offer you a position, they will pay for you to attend an ATP CTP course. During ATP CTP, you will need to prepare yourself to take the ATP written test. After completing ATP CTP and passing the test you will begin ground school. At the end of ground school you will take your ATP/Type Rating check ride in the sim.

It sounds like you need to start working on your US Residency first though.


What about the Medical Certification?

Having the Private Pilot, Can I look after the First Class Exam directly?

I don’t understand your question, but bottom line is you need to focus on obtaining US residency before doing anything else. Your goal is to fly commercially in the US. Without residency, that will never happen.



Anyone can obtain a First Class Medical. No licence is required.