Licensing for foreign pilots

From Transport Canada

If you are a foreign pilot who wants to fly for pay or reward in Canada, you must hold a valid Canadian commercial or airline transport pilot licence. This requires you to meet medical fitness, knowledge, experience and skill requirements set out in the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) Part VI, Subpart 1 – Flight Crew Permits, Licences and Ratings.

Foreign pilots wishing to fly in Canada for recreation must hold a foreign licence validation certificate.

On this page

Credit for foreign training and skills

We will grant credits to foreign pilot licence holders if the foreign licence:

  • is medically valid, and
  • comes from a country that is a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

You will meet the ground school instruction requirement if you:

  • hold a commercial or higher type of pilot licence in the aeroplane category, which was issued by an ICAO contracting state, and
  • meet applicable experience requirements

Commercial pilot licence – aeroplane category

To obtain a Canadian commercial pilot licence – aeroplane category (CPL-A), foreign pilots must meet all requirements set out in the CARs Standard 421, section 421.30. The following information is a summary of the requirements only.

To successfully earn a Canadian CPL-A, you must:

  1. Complete medical examination requirements and hold a Category 1 medical certificate.

    Aviation medical examiners designated by contracting states of the ICAO may do your medical exam. We will supply you with the correct medical form upon request.

  2. Provide proof that you meet the experience requirement. Be prepared to show us a log book of your flight experience for our review.

    Read CARs Standard 421, section 421.30, para. (4) to learn more.

  3. To meet the knowledge requirement, successfully complete the Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane (CPAER) examination.

    Read CARs Standard 421, section 421.30, para. (3) to learn more.

  4. Meet the skill requirement by successfully completing a practical flight test.

    Read CARs Standard 421, section 421.30, para. (5) to learn more.

  5. Complete your licence application.

Multi-engine rating

To obtain a multi-engine rating endorsed on the CPL-A, you must meet the requirements set out in CARs Standard 421, section 421.38, para. (3).

We may issue you a multi-engine rating based upon your current rating if you fulfill one of the following:

  • you have 50 hours of experience as pilot-in-command on multi-engine aeroplanes, or
  • you met the standard of the state that issued the rating, in the preceding 12 months (based on your date of application)

If you cannot meet these requirements, you must successfully complete a practical flight test.

Instrument rating

To obtain an instrument rating endorsed on the CPL-A, you must meet the knowledge and skill requirements set out in CARs Standard 421, section 421.46 by successfully completing:

  • the Instrument Rating (INRAT) written examination, and
  • a flight test

Airline transport pilot licence – aeroplane category

To obtain a Canadian airline transport pilot licence – aeroplane (ATPL-A), foreign pilots must meet all requirements set out in CARs Standard 421, section 421.34. The following information is a summary of the requirements only.

To successfully earn a Canadian ATPL-A, you must:

  1. Complete medical examination requirements and hold a Category 1 medical certificate.
  2. Provide proof that you meet the experience requirement. Be prepared to show us a log book of your flight experience for our review.

    Read CARs Standard 421, section 421.34, para. (4) to learn more.

  3. To meet the knowledge requirements, successfully complete the following written examinations:
    • Meteorology, Radio Aids to Navigation and Flight Planning (SAMRA)
    • Aviation Regulations and Air Traffic Procedures, Aeroplane Operations and General Navigation (SARON)
    • Instrument Rating (INRAT)

    Read CARs Standard 421, section 421.34, para. (3) to learn more.

  4. Meet the skill requirement by successfully completing a flight test in a multi-engine aeroplane (excluding centre-line thrust) suitably equipped for instrument flight rules (IFR) flight in controlled airspace.

    Read CARs Standard 421, section 421.34, para. (5) to learn more.

  5. Complete your licence application.

Foreign licence validation certificate (for recreational pilots)

Visitors to Canada may have a foreign pilot licence validated for private recreational purposes. The foreign pilot licence must be valid:

  • under the law of the issuing state, and
  • for privileges appropriate to the reason you’re flying

You may apply for a foreign licence validation certificate before arriving in Canada. The certificate will be issued for a period of one year. After a year you may renew it or apply for a permanent Canadian pilot licence.

To learn more about the certificate, including how to apply, read Advisory Circular 400-003: Foreign Licence Validation Certificate.

Contact General Aviation, Personnel Licensing

Telephone: 613-990-1056
Fax: 613-990-6215

Related links

Date modified: