Work for foreign pilot in US

Hi, I am a FAA Comercial pilot and a CFII, but I am Costa Rican. I would like to know if there is a way to work in the USA as a pilot with my ratings?



To work as a pilot in the US you must either be a citizen OR have permanent resident status. If you do then after a background check you could work in the US. You don’t mention how many hours you have but if it’s >1500 you could go straight to a Regional if not you could probably find an instructor job somewhere to build the time.


Right now I have 620 hours. I did about 80% percent of my training in the US. Well that is too bad because I am neither one of those. So without those I guess it is impossible to work as a pilot in the US. Guess I will have to keep looking here. Thanks for the quick answer Adam.

Hello, i am a first officer working for turkish airlines with total 3000 hours in boeing 737. I had my training in Usa so i have faa commercial license with instrument rating but i dont have atp, i have atpl though. Obviously i live in turkey but want to live and work in Usa in an international airline company. Actually my wife is american and she is bored to live in turkey and wanna go back. So i dont have any difficulty to get a green card. I already applied for that. And i also now i need to get faa atp. But my questions are; 1) is the big airlines like delta, american, southwest etc, would hire me for the same type of aircraft or do they still require flight instructor bacground (cfi) or regional airlines flight time? Are those for only building the time?
2) i read sth about some airlines require 1000 hours pic. What is meant by pic? Because i actually have 100 hours pic which i gained during my flight training in florida. Since turkish airlines have only 250 hours requirement they hired me. And my flights are not consider pic cause i m a first officer.
Appreciated if i can get answer for that. Thank you very much in advance.


The regional airlines would likely hire you, the majors will want to see 1,000 hours of Turbine (jet) PIC time. This means that you will need to spend some time at the regionals before you are eligible to go to the majors.

Also, judging from the way you write, you need to improve your English language skills. This includes not just speaking, but grammar and punctuation when writing. These things matter when applying for jobs.


Thank you very much for your quick reply Chris. The thing i dont understand about the pic time is how can i make pic time in regional airlines. I will be a co pilot in there anyways and wouldnt have pic time unless otherwise i become a captain. Am i right? Thank you for the reccomendation for the English language part. It is not my mother language of course but i am improving it every day.


You are correct. The idea is you get hired at a Regional, upgrade to Capt and then build PIC. Yes it will take a few years.


Thank you Adam. But i guess there is still sth missing. Lets say i become a captain in a regional, why i want to be a f/o in a company even though it is a major one. On the other hand how major companies hire f/o from the regionals? They are not all captains from the regionals. Maybe the required pic time is done by being cfi in flight schools.
Sorry for taking your time guys but i ll start my green card process very soon and apply to airlines in usa. So your opinion, knowledge and experience is very important to me. Here is my last question; is it better for me to stay here in turkey for a little while, become a captain and collect the pic times and then apply for a major one in Usa. I guess it will meet the requirements to be a f/o. But are majors hire direct entry captains? Than you very much for your time again. Appreciated.


To answer your first question, the most common reason as to why a Regional CA would want to move to a Major is pay. Most Regional CAs top out at around $90k while that’s starting pay for Major FOs and Major CAs can make $300k+. Others simply want to fly a heavy and see the world. That said some pilots enjoy the seniority and quality of life at their Regional and choose to stay but most do not.

You’re also correct that the Majors sometimes do hire Regional FOs but as you point out they’ve already satisfied the PIC requirement elsewhere. That begs another question. You say you only have 100hrs PIC. To fly for ANY airline in the US you must have your ATP and that requires 250hrs PIC and there’s really no way around that. You need to figure out how you’re going to get that time? Even if it means renting a Cessna and doing some flying on your own.