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Canadian foreign licence validation process

I’m thiking of doing some flying in canada some time in the future (possible seaplane rating). Looking for experiences in the process.

Do they verify the licences with the issuing authority? I don’t see any reference of it on the application process, which seems otherwise very straightforward (fill out form, send it along with copies of licence / passport / medical)

Avoiding spending money on the CAA (and their long lead times) would be great.

@Qalupalik, as the resident expert on many things, I imagine you’ll probably know? Otherwise maybe @pilot_DAR?


Have a look at this web page:

A friend from Norway followed this process, and it seemed very straight forward. The reverse did not seem to be the case, and once his plane was changed from “C” to “LN”, the effort for me to get an EASA license to continue flying it was really much too much!

You’ll find lots of opportunities to rent, and fly long scenic trips, in nearly unrestricted airspace. Ontario, and British Columbia are your best places for lots of rental planes, and float flying. Manitoba, and Alberta also have lots of flying, though fewer lakes. The eastern maritime provinces are beautiful, tough fewer rental opportunities. Lots of flying in Quebec, beautiful, and lots of lakes, though some places will prefer to serve you in French.

A few training places: – magnificent scenery there, 3 hours drive from Toronto – (though I’m not sure that they are training this season) – 2 hour drive from Toronto

There are a few in B.C. as well, though I’m not recently familiar with the training that they offer. B.C. is beautiful, though expensive to visit, and more congested airspace. Long trips are possible, but you’re either flying over mountains, ocean, or the US, each of which requires added preparation. Short trips around “the lower mainland” are okay, but lots of traffic, and ATC compared to anywhere else in Canada.

Home runway, in central Ontario, Canada

Pilot_DAR wrote:

Have a look at this web page:

Thanks, that’s the page I was looking at. It seems they only require the applicant to show up at one of their local offices to complete the process. They say nothing about them contacting the CAA who issued the licence that is getting validated, hence my question.

I’m not too concerned about ATC, although probably wouldn’t try french as I think I’ll have a hard time understanding the accent!

Re flying to US

Many Canadian planes may be insured for the US, but to enter yourself on the visa waiver you’ll need an I-94 which has to got via scheduled airline or on the ground. I know this because I had to drive to the US border on the morning of flying there because no-one in my flight school knew that (why would they, ther’e all Canadians!) and it came up by chance in a telephone conversatIon with the US airport!

EGBW / KPRC, United Kingdom

Thanks, I’m aware of the issue (Qualupalik wrote another of his excellent posts here) .
Still unclear how you can prove you left from the US (I have global entry).
Reading the regulation, it’s still unclear to me if you can reenter the US anytime from a contiguous territory provided you arrived to the US via CAT no longer 90 days before, but having initially left the US to a non-continuous territory:

- CAT: Go to the US
- CAT: Fly to a non-contiguous territory (e.g. Europe)
- CAT: Fly to Canada
- GA: Entrer US via GA.

I’d probably focus my efforts on Canada though. I can do side trips within the US fairly easily off business trips to NYC.

Transport does not require verification by the foreign authority. The FLVC should be issued on the spot at a regional office. For seaplane training in BC I will relay the venerable Chuck Ellsworth’s long-standing recommendation of Randy Hanna (link).

The only poor sport in the process is Industry Canada which requires a Canadian radio operator certificate (restricted), with aeronautical qualification, while operating a Canadian aircraft radio other than when under training. The ROC-A is issued by post and requires a short multi-choice written exam. There may be an exception for FLVC holders: see contact details for IC at the end of appendix F to RIC-21 (link). Otherwise do the pragmatic thing and ignore this requirement. Canada cuts out most of the nonsense used in RTF by VFR traffic: see Navcanada’s VFR Phraseology guide (pdf link).

As you are considering a seaplane rating it makes more sense to apply for a Canadian PPL. This is because ratings cannot be included in an FLVC. The PPL comes in foreign-based and standard versions depending on whether a flight test will be attempted and both require a Canadian category 1 or 3 medical certificate. It takes Transport about six weeks to issue the medical so to speed things up use one of the 48 Civil Aviation Medical Examiners based in Europe—10 in UK and 14 in France—whose contact details are in Transport’s CAME database (link). Here is a map of them (link). Most will do a combined Canadian and Part-MED medical exam which cuts down on the number of mucky paws poking at your privates.

The foreign-based PPL, issued on the basis of a foreign licence, requires applicants to have (standard 421.26— link):

  1. met the flight time requirements for a Canadian PPL,
  2. obtained at least 90 per cent in the PSTAR written exam, and
  3. completed as PIC/P2 (not PUT) at least 5 takeoffs and landings within the 6 months preceding the application.

The Canadian PPL still requires 5 hours instrument time under instruction which is a typical stumbling block for newcomers. The recent experience requirement may be satisfied in Canada under an FLVC or a student pilot permit. Any flight training unit can arrange the latter which, subject to a 50 CAD expedited processing fee, can be issued on the spot by any of Transport’s regional offices. Once the above three requirements are met any regional office will issue the licence on the spot. The foreign-based Canadian PPL is actually independent of the foreign licence. For the standard PPL the written exam must be a PPAER instead of a PSTAR and a flight test is required. In Canada written exams require demonstration of medical fitness and flight tests require an appropriate valid medical certificate.

If you do apply for a Canadian licence then a multi-engine rating could be included without a flight test subject to your having flown 50 hours PIC on class in the 12 months preceding application. The rating is also thrown in for free for candidates who acquired one on a foreign licence in the recent 12 months (ie no 50 hour PIC requirement) but this won’t apply in your case. The logging rules are almost exactly the same as in UK. Further, if you have a Part-FCL CPL then, for essentially the same effort, you could skip the PPL and go straight to a standard CPL. This sounds excessive but can be done in half a week once a category 1 medical is in hand, with a bit more on the side to revise for the fairly straight-forward commercial written exam. Either licence, and any included ratings, may be converted to a US equivalent under the terms of the Canada–US BASA–IPL (pdf link). This route avoids the hassle and expensive of TSA security threat assessments, student visas, excessive DPE fees, and US practical tests.

As I have already strayed from your original enquiry I might as well continue. A second benefit of potential interest to you as an ME CRI is that a Canadian CPL confers some flight instruction privileges. Among these, as detailed in 425.21(5) of the standards, is the ability to give ab initio multi-engine instruction. If you held the appropriate IR you could also, subject to experience requirements in 425.21(9), give some instruction towards a Canadian IR. Up to 15 hours of the latter instruction ought to be creditable towards a Part-FCL IR under the competence-based pathway. See appendix 6, section Aa para 6(a)(i)(B)(ii) [single-engine] and 6(b)(i)(B)(ii) [multi-engine], to Part-FCL.


WRT travel between the US and Canada by GA: I had planned on doing that with a European friend who traveled to the US on the ESTA / Visa Waiver program three years ago. He contacted his local US embassy (Vienna in his case) and got the answer in writing that the initial arrival into the US had be on CAT, but side trips to Canada (and Mexico, etc) were allowed by GA. However, IIRC, the stipulation was that
a) he had to re-enter the US and then make his final departure again via CAT
b) the time spent outside the US did not reset the clock on the 90 day rule

These rules are fluid, so best check again.

PS: in the end we didn’t get to test this, as it turned out the plane I was flying (renting) didn’t have a radio station license. These are not required for the US anymore, but are for Canada. We ended up flying to Bellingham, WA and driving from there to Vancouver. No worries for him leaving and re-entering the US on his ESTA via a land border.

I have looked into flying and getting ratings in Canada (Qualupalik is award of that :)). Unfortunately, it is not as straightforward as in the US.
The issuance of the TC license that takes 6 weeks and the Canadian medical are annoyances.

If some Canadian school registered as EASA DTO for seaplane rating, it would be much easier !

DTO can only be established in the EASA Member States.


Qalupalik wrote:

The foreign-based PPL, issued on the basis of a foreign licence, requires applicants to have (standard 421.26— link):
met the flight time requirements for a Canadian PPL,
obtained at least 90 per cent in the PSTAR written exam, and
completed as PIC/P2 (not PUT) at least 5 takeoffs and landings within the 6 months preceding the application.

Qalupalik, when you refer to foreign based canadian PPL, do you mean:
- a standalone PPL obtained via credit from the foreign PPL (which I would need to get the seaplane rating)?
- a validation of a foreign PPL?

I’ve applied for the latter, and my understanding is that once I show the originals to the TC office in Canada, they’d issue me something that allows me to fly for a year, without any of the requirements you mention. Am I wrong?

When reading 421.26, I have the impression that it relates to an issue of a canadian PPL based on a foreign licence. Is a validated foreign licence (what I applied for) a different thing?
Would I need to take a te

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