Get permission to fly your drone outside the rules

If you want to fly your drone outside the rules, you will need to apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC).

On this page

Who needs to apply

An SFOC gives you permission to operate your drone outside the rules for a specific purpose.

You need this certificate in the following cases:

  • You want to fly your drone outside the rules for basic or advanced operations
  • Your drone weighs over 25 kilograms (kg)
  • You are not a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada or a corporation incorporated by or under the laws of Canada or a province
  • You want to fly your drone carrying dangerous or hazardous payloads (e.g. chemicals)
  • You want to fly at a special aviation event or an advertised event
  • You want to fly more than five drones at the same time

Note: getting an SFOC is no longer a prerequisite for commercial operations. However, commercial operators still need an SFOC if their operation falls into one of the categories above.

You do not need this certificate if:

  • you are flying your drones within the rules for basic or advanced operations, and
  • your drone weighs under 25 kg

How to apply

To apply for this certificate:

  1. Complete an Application for a Special Flight Operations Certificate form [PDF, 1.2 MB] and gather the documentation specified in the application
  2. Send the form and documents to:
    Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Centre of Expertise
    700, Leigh-Capreol Place Dorval, Quebec H4Y 1G7
    Email: TC.RPASCentre-CentreSATP.TC@tc.gc.ca

Apply as early as possible before you plan to use your drone. Your application may take longer to process if it is missing information or if we receive a large number of applications.

Foreign operators

If you are a foreign operator (that is, you are not a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or a corporation incorporated by or under federal or provincial and you want to fly in Canadian airspace), you must have an approved SFOC to fly a drone for any purpose (recreational, work or research).

You must already be allowed to use the drone for the same purpose in your home country. Include your country’s approval or authorization with your application for the SFOC.

Did you find this information helpful?

Date modified: