Foreign conversion

Hi. I'm a foreign Instrument Commercial pilot. I have flown over 5000 hrs in different types like ATR42 and the Airbus A320 Series. Recently I have been trying to figure out the right way to get the convalidation of my licenses.

I have visit more than 8 flight schools, talked to different DPE's and the info has always been not clear. 

Here are the questions:

  1. I got the PPL based on foreign license. If I add instrument rating to it (with only the written exam), once I add commercial, does that instrument rating still on the commercial? I have been told yes, I have been told I have to take a instrument check ride, I have been told I have to do some fly training. 
  2. I also would have all requirements to apply for an ATP license. The only doubt is about  multiengine. From where I'm from, you do not need to take a specific multiengine course. You go straight from C172 to SIC position on a A320. I have read a lot of info on the internet and have not seen specifically that ME is a requirement for ATP but almost all places I called to get info about ATP license affirm I do need that course. 


Thats all for now, thanks for your help, I hope I made my self clear about my concerns.


6 Replies

You say that you have a foreign Commercial pilot license with an instrument rating.  This suggests that you have been serving as a Second-in-Command.  Of the 5000 hours in the ATR42 and Airbus A320, how many of those hours have been logged as Pilot-in-Command time?  I ask because 61.159(a)(5) allows counting  250 hours of SIC time toward the experience requirements.  (1500 hours)  The idea that 250 hours of SIC time can be counted toward the 1500 hour requirement suggests that the remainder of the time (1250 hours) would need to be PIC time.

61.153 (a)(d)(3) allows application for a U.S. ATP with a foreign Commercial & Instrument rating.  Alternatively, you could apply with a U.S. Commercial certificate.  To get that, you would need to take the U.S. knowledge test and pass a practical test for the Instrument rating.  Your U.S. certificate would then show an Instrument rating with the notation (U.S. Test Passed).  Then you would need to get a Commercial pilot certificate.  You cannot get the Commercial with Instrument privileges granted on the basis of a foreign license.

1590 Posts

I would remind folks reading this that many other countries have “Multi Pilot Licenses” (MPL) which allow them only co-pilot privileges only in air carrier operations.  They go through flight training on in sims anand a bit in the aircraft and only in the right seat.  Here's a discussion on this:

What is a Multi-Crew Pilot Licence? - BAA Training

Those who hold only MPL do NOT have ANY pilot-in-command privileges anywhere.  They can't even fly a C-150 solo. The FAA will not grant any certificate or privilege in the USA on the basis of an MPL.

That said, even in other countries, by ICAO standards, if he is flying right seat in those airliners solely on the basis of his home country's Commercial Pilot certificate (not an MPL), he would have to hold an AMEL rating on that certificate.  So I'm seeing some inconsistencies in what he's posted and can't quite figure out what he really has.


On, looking up his certificate by name, it shows he has a U.S. Private based on a Colombia pilot license.  It contains only an ASEL rating.  If he had AMEL on the Colombia pilot license, it would have been included on the U.S. certificate.

1590 Posts

From what Kris discovered, it sounds like he held only ASEL and IR-A ratings on his Columbian CPL, and was doing all that airline flying on an MPL (which is not recognized by the FAA for FAA issuance purposes).  I'm going to assume he doesn't need SE privileges on his FAA CPL.  In that case, to get from where he is to an FAA CPL-AMEL-IA with Private privileges for ASEL, the path should be:

  • Take the FAA IR written to add the IR-A to his FAA PP-ASEL
  • Take the FAA CP written
  • Get CP-level training in a twin
  • Complete a full FAA CP-AMEL practical test, which will include instrument operations because he already holds an IR-A rating.

If he also wants CP SE privileges, he would get CP training in a single and take the CP-ASEL practical test between steps 2 and 3 above.  That would also shorten the CP-AMEL practical test from a full test to an additional class rating test.

From that point, he could go on to fill any additional ATP experience requirements (mainly the PIC time requirements), then complete an FAA-approved 61.156 “CTP” course, take the ATP ME written, and finally the ATP ME practical test.


One comment.

He could take the IFP Instrument knowledge test to be able to exercise Instrument privileges under the auspices of his Private based on a Foreign license.  He could not qualify for the U.S. Commercial through that route.

He would need to take the IRA instrument knowledge test, get some training under 61.65 and take the Instrument practical test to get the “U.S. Test Passed” notation on his Private certificate.  That is what he would need in order to progress to the Commercial.

He might find it cheaper to first do the Commercial in a single and then add on the M/E.

Someone would have to sit down with him and his logbook to determine what hours could be used to count towards the Instrument rating, Commercial certificate, the AMEL rating and the ATP.  Under 61.51(e)(1), he would need to be rated (AMEL) in order to log PIC time as sole manipulator.  Same story under 61.51(f) for SIC time.  Without having had a M/E rating for all the flying he has done, it would seem that all those hours are of no use.

1590 Posts

Yeah, that sounds right in line with what I said.  It would take an examination of all his certificates and a logbook review to figure out just where he stands, and some more specific information on what he wants to do with it to know what he needs to do.