Let us discuss the pilot license conversion process for pilots with EASA or ICAO licenses. Pilots who hold an American FAA license have a different process to follow.
Transport Canada Medical
Before we look at any requirements, we must first discuss the Transport Canada Medical. Medical examiners can be found in Canada and throughout the world using Transport Canada’s Medical Examiner search. Just as an example, medical examiners can be found in France, India, Thailand, Namibia and many more countries.
For a Private Pilot License, you will need a Category 3 or 1 Medical.
For a Commercial or Airline Transport Pilot License, you will need a Category 1 Medical.
To learn about aviation medicals in Canada, please visit our article here.
Private Pilot License Conversion Canada
Aspiring Canadian pilots can choose to either complete a foreign license validation or earn their private pilot license.
Foreign License Validation Certificate
Pilots may choose to validate a foreign license to fly recreationally; undergo flight training or conduct a flight test in Canada; earn a type rating; or for other reasons. A holder of a foreign pilot license would normally be issued a foreign license validation certificate if they can provide their foreign license and proof of experience (provide a pilot logbook), and a Canadian medical.
A pilot wishing to obtain a FLVC should apply for the certificate prior to arriving in Canada. Foreign License Certificates are usually only valid for one year. After one year, pilots may apply for another FLVC or attempt to convert their license to a permanent Canadian one as shown below.
To apply for the FLVC, candidates should:
- Download and fill out the form below.
- Pay the fee online at here and select “A license or permit.”
- Email a copy of your pilot license, current medical*, passport, english exam to a minimum ICAO level 4 standard, and the completed application form to email@example.com or any Transport Canada regional office.
*If the license is an EASA license, provide a copy of the EASA medical.
For more information on the FLVC process, please see the download available below or visit their webpage here.
Convert to a Canadian Private Pilot License
If a pilot wants a permanent Canadian license which will not expire, they must do a conversion to the Canadian pilot license. If a pilot has a foreign pilot license issued by another country, they must provide proof of experience (pilot logbook) and their license.
- Have a Transport Canada Medical 3 or 1 (see above)
- Pass the PSTAR Exam;
- Complete 5 take-offs and landings as pilot in command or co-pilot within 6 months of applying;
- Complete an aviation-language proficiency test;
- Have a minimum of 45 hour total time, 12 hours solo, 5 hours instrument time, 3 hours of dual cross country, and 5 hours of solo cross country time;
- Pay the applicable fee; and
- Apply for an Aviation Document Booklet.
You will then be issued a licence which will state it is based on a foreign licence. If you wish to remove this statement from your licence, the Private Pilot written examination (PPAER) and flight test must be completed. Our ground school course will help with this.
Commercial Pilot License Conversion
There are many foreign pilots in Canada who have successfully converted their licenses and had very successful careers. Here are the steps to complete a commercial pilot license conversion in Canada.
- Complete a Category 1 Medical which includes an audiogram and ECG;
- Complete a Commercial Pilot Flight Test
- Complete the CPAER Written exam. The best option to study for this is our Commercial Pilot Ground School;
- Provide proof that you meet the experience requirements as set out in CAR 421.30, usually done by submitting a pilot logbook;
- Pay the appropriate licensing fee; and
- Apply for an Aviation Document Booklet.
If you wish to work in Canada, we suggest you speak with an Immigration lawyer to discuss options for work permits and visas.
To convert an ICAO or EASA ATPL to a Canadian ATPL, pilots must:
- Complete a Category 1 Medical Examination as stated above;
- Complete the SAMRA, SARON, and INRAT examinations at Transport Canada;
- Complete a multi-engine IFR flight test in an aircraft or an approved flight simulator;
- Provide Transport Canada proof of meeting the experience requirements (provide a pilot logbook);
- Provide other additional paperwork such as the foreign license, application form, and appropriate fee; and
- Apply for an Aviation Document Booklet