Foreign (Non-U.S. Citizen) A&P Applicants

Applicants for a mechanic certificate must meet all the same requirements as their counterparts in the United States, and must be able to read, write, speak, and understand English.

Section 65.77 requires the applicant to have documented practical experience in maintaining airframes and/or powerplants. At least 18 months of practical experience is required for the rating requested. For a certificate with both ratings, the requirement is at least 30 months experience concurrently performing the duties appropriate to both ratings. If the 30 months experience concurrently performing the duties appropriate to both ratings has not been met, then the FAA inspector will calculate each rating separately using the 18-month requirement for each.

Foreign military experience is acceptable toward authorization to take the knowledge test based on the context of 65.77. The applicant must present verifiable documentation from the foreign military or government substantiating the experience. Foreign military experience on aircraft that are not manufactured to U.S. standards is acceptable; the experience still has to meet the requirements of 65.77.

Foreign and U.S. applicants alike who have not graduated from an FAA-approved Part 147 AMT program must present documents from an employer, co-worker, or other sources satisfactory to the Administrator to establish the required record of time and experience.

1. Documented experience directly applicable to the certificate and ratings sought. The applicant must have verifiable experience in 50 percent of the subject areas listed for the rating sought (see Part 147, appendices B, C, and D) in order to be eligible.

2. The FAA inspector must evaluate the documents submitted to determine the applicants’ eligibility for a test authorization. There is no expiration for this eligibility.

After passing the written exams, the foreign applicant must take the practical test with a DME located in the United States; there is no exception to this rule.

The view from Japan

Here in Japan the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) license can only be obtained by attending a certified Japanese aviation school. Most of the instructors are former aviation mechanics of airlines or from the Japan Self Defense Force (JASDF). Students study aircraft systems, repair methods, and more to obtain a Level 2 basic aviation mechanic license. The Japanese mechanic license has many classifications broken down in levels one and two based on experience, aircraft weight, types, and purpose of use. Level 1 is an apprentice and Level 2 is a journeyman.

To enter the Japanese training school prospective students must pass a very difficult entrance exam unlike the U.S. Part 147 programs where no initial testing is required. The program teaches practical subjects for three years (about 1,350-hours per year) and is set up very much like a Part 147 school. Most foreign A&P applicants I have worked with are highly trained with years of work experience and are second to none when it comes to maintaining aircraft to the U.S. standards for safety. General or business aviation, air carrier or MRO, aviation is an increasingly global industry and non-U.S. citizen A&P certificated mechanics are necessary to support it. AMT


Denny Pollard was the FAA maintenance field Inspector of the Year in 2004 and holds the ratings Airframe and Powerplant (A&P), Senior Parachute Rigger and two authorizations — Designated Mechanic Examiner (DME) and Inspection Authorization (IA). He teaches an accepted Inspection Authorization refresher course on behalf of the FAA. He is an author of two aviation books, both of them have sold worldwide and reflect his devotion and interests in aviation safety.

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