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International Students

International Students - It's like college, only waaaaaaay cooler. 

Leading Edge LLC is able to offer the M visa to international students wishing to conduct their flight training in the USA. We warmly welcome applicants from other countries. The general admission requirements are identical for all applicants, regardless of citizenship. However, immigration regulations, varying educational backgrounds and financial considerations may require additional procedures necessary for international students.

Visa Types for International Students

Leading Edge offers both the F-1 and M-1 visas for international students interested in training full-time at Leading Edge in a designated program of study.

About the F-1 Visa

The F-1 visa allows a student to stay in the United States upon training completion, and gain practical experience while working as a Flight Instructor in the U.S. Flight training can be more expensive in some countries so many students choose to train in the U.S. Having the opportunity to work in the U.S. after training allows pilots to gain more flight time and experience prior to converting their license in their home country or the country they are later hired in.

Students with previous training experience must submit application materials in order for the school to determine if they are eligible for participation in the F-1 visa program.

Extension opportunities after graduation:

• Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

After graduation of the Professional Pilot Program, our graduates can apply for a position as a flight instructor. On an F-1 visa, this is possible though the CPT program, while working toward the requirements for an Airline Transport Certificate (ATP). This CPT status is issued for 12 months and can be extended. 

• Optional Practical Training (OPT)

If you graduate from the Professional Pilot Program and you desire is to work anywhere else in the United States as a pilot, there is the opportunity to apply for the OPT. After receiving the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and finding a job within 60 days, the OPT status allows you to work and stay in the USA for an additional 12 months.

About the M-1 Visa

The M-1 Visa is used for both short term stays while working towards a specific goal such as PVT or COM rating, and for our entire Professional Pilot Program.

M-1 can be issued for 12 months and is extendable if needed. Students must return to their home country within 30 days after their visa has expired.

License Verification

For pilots already in possession of a foreign pilot license (ICAO), Private Pilot License (PVT) or higher, then you may apply for a restricted FAA Private Pilot License without any additional fees or examinations.

If you are interested then please get in touch or read the following to help you get the process started.


Contact us and we will send you the forms required to begin the visa process. Once we receive your application we will notify you of acceptance to Leading Edge LLC. Unfortunately being accepted to our Flight School does not guarantee entrance to the United States. The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) will need to review your records and receive fingerprints from you before the I-20 form can be issued to you. For more information regarding this process please take a moment to look at the TSA web site and the US State Department web site.

An overview of the application process is as follows:

1) Contact Leading Edge via email or phone as to your flight training needs. Complete the Leading Edge Enrollment Forms (Once we have received your completed forms we will contact you via email to set up a phone interview. Once the phone interview has taken place Leading Edge will notify you in the following days to confirm enrollment.)

2) Go to By the time you get to this step you will have been given all of the information that you need from Leading Edge LLC. You will need to provide many details, and fingerprints. The fee for each course is $130.00. DO NOT PROCEED TO STEP 3 UNTIL Leading Edge LLC ADVISES YOU TO DO SO.

3) Please have your banking institution send a letter on official letterhead stating that you have enough money in your bank account to cover the cost of flight training and accommodations for the length of you stay. DO NOT PROCEED TO STEP 4 UNTIL Leading Edge LLC ADVISES YOU TO DO SO.

4) Please wire $500 for registration and administrative fees and a $2000 non-refundable deposit to the account number that we will provide to you. Once Leading Edge LLC has received the wire transfer and approval from the TSA an I-20 form will be sent to you.

5) Complete the I-901 form online. Be sure to print a receipt from your computer. There is a $100 fee payable when you fill out the form. An official receipt will be mailed to you.

6) Make an appointment with a US embassy or Consular office for an interview. Take the following forms with you to your meeting: Form I-20, Passport, Financial statements, Receipt for Payment of Form I 901 You will be notified whether or not you have been approved for a visa. If approved, the US Embassy will provide you with an M-1 visa, permitting you entry to the United States.

7) Provide Leading Edge, LLC with the details of travel and arrival in the United States.

8) International students must have proof of Accident/Medical Insurance with coverage within the United States.

9) International students must check in at Leading Edge, LLC upon arrival. (Our local passenger airline arrives at North Central West Virginia Aiport a few miles south of us. Airport Code CKB )

All applicants should be prepared to provide:

- Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended.

- Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.

- Financial evidence that shows you or your parents who are sponsoring you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study. For example, if you or your sponsor is a salaried employee, please bring income tax documents and original bank books and/or statements. If you or your sponsors own a business, please bring business registration, licenses, etc., and tax documents, as well as original bank books and/or statements.

Unfortunately no assurances regarding the issuance of visas can be given in advance. Therefore final travel plans or the purchase of nonrefundable tickets should not be made until a visa has been issued.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

A TOEFL test is required if English is not your first language. The Test of English as a Foreign Language measures the ability of non-native speakers of English to use and understand English as it is spoken, written, and heard in college and university settings. The TOEFL test is offered in different formats depending on a test taker's location.

The TOEFL test can be carried out as an Internet-based test (TOEFL iBT). The test helps students demonstrate that they have the English skills needed for flight training.

For more details and test locations and fees please go to the ETS web site.

I-901 Form Fees

This form is used to pay the fee to support the M visa. If you are subject to this fee and do not pay it, you will not be issued the M visa or be admitted to the United States. If you are in the United States and apply for a change of status, you are subject to this fee. If you do not pay it, your application will not be processed.

For SEVIS I-901 Fee Frequently Asked Questions please visit the Imigration & Customs Enforcement web site.

Privileges of the M-1 Visa:

* You may be issued an M-1 Visa for up to one year. Extensions beyond one year may be granted under certain conditions.

* Visas are available for accompanying dependents.

M-1 Visa Limitations:

* You are not permitted to change your course of study.

* You and your dependents may not work in the U.S.

* You may not be granted more than one Leave of Absence during your training and it may not exceed 30 days.

* You must enroll in a full course of study and train on a full-time basis.

* You must complete your program in no longer than 150% of the specified training time (i.e., a 30 week program must be completed in no longer than 45 weeks).

* Proof of English Language Proficiency is required.

* Maintain health and accident insurance.

The United States Visa web site. is a good source of additional information about U.S. visa policy and procedures. You can use this site to learn more about the visa application process.