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Can A Foreigner Acquire A Canadian Drone Pilot License?

It is necessary to have an approved Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) to fly any drone in Canadian airspace if you are a foreign operator—that is, if you aren’t a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or a corporation incorporated by or under federal or provincial law—and you want to fly in Canadian airspace for any reason, whether it is recreational, work or for research.

A Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) grants you a license to operate your drone outside of the regulations for a specific reason. This certificate is required for basic and advanced operations if you would like to fly your drone for either basic or advanced functions.

An SFOC is explicitly needed in these circumstances:

  • You’re looking to fly your drone at a special aviation event or an advertised event
  • You’re looking to fly your drone near a military airport
  • You’re looking to fly your drone beyond visual line-of-sight
  • Your drone weighs more than 25 kilograms
  • You’re looking to fly your drone at higher altitudes
  • You’re looking to fly your drone while it holds hazardous payloads such as chemicals
  • You’re looking to fly more than five drones at the same time


Can A Foreigner Acquire A Canadian Drone Pilot License - 1

How To Get A Canadian Drone Pilot License If You’re A Foreign Operator?

To operate in Canada as a foreign drone pilot, you must first obtain a Canadian drone pilot certificate, even if you are already licensed in your home country. You then need to take and pass the online exam to acquire your Pilot Certificate – Basic operations for basic operations.

However, for advanced operations, you need the following:

  • A passing mark on the online exam for advanced operations
  • Once you have arrived in Canada, you must finish a flight review and apply for your Pilot Certificate – Advanced operations, or you must provide proof that you have booked a flight review with a drone pilot training school once you have arrived.
  • You must already be permitted to use the drone in your home country for the same reason as in your current location. Your application for the SFOC should be accompanied by a copy of your country’s approval or authorization.


How To Apply For An SFOC

Here are the steps that you need to take to apply to obtain SFOC:

1) You can use the Drone Management Portal to take an exam and procure a drone pilot certificate for the particular operation you want to conduct if you don’t already have one for that sort of activity.

2) Fill out an Application for a Special Flight Operations Certificate form and gather the documentation required by the form’s instructions.

3) Send the form and documents to this address:

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Centre of Expertise

700, Leigh-Capreol Place Dorval, Quebec H4Y 1G7

After submitting your application, it may take up to 30 business days for the SFOC to be reviewed and issued. Depending on the nature and comprehensiveness of the request, the actual processing time may differ.


So What Are You Waiting For?

By providing all of this useful information, we encourage anyone that is interested in learning more about becoming a licensed drone pilot, to register for our courses.. Victory UAV is always happy to answer any questions about how we work with international clients and Canadian citizens who want assistance obtaining their private drone pilots’ licenses for commercial purposes. Contact us today if you have more specific queries!

  • Gokulnath
    Posted at 02:31h, 20 May Reply

    Can I get a job as drone pilot in Canada, If i sucessfully complete these steps? And what if we don’t have permitted drone in our home country?

    • Sheri Foley
      Posted at 03:16h, 26 May Reply

      Certified drone pilots have many different types of jobs and work with survey companies, forestry companies. Drone pilots often have other duties besides flying a drone. You don’t need to have a permit from your home country to get certified in Canada.

  • Tomas Dusek
    Posted at 19:03h, 04 June Reply

    Hi, can I fly a drone as a tourist with Pilot Certificate –for basic operations? thanks!

  • Arruk
    Posted at 09:04h, 29 October Reply


    What are the Documents that would be needed to bring my drone registered in my home country to Canada and register it and sell it to my Canadian friend. Also kindly throw some light on the process for the same


    • Sheri Foley
      Posted at 16:40h, 04 November Reply

      Provide your friend with the maintanence and flight records, plus the manufacturer manuals. Your friend can register it after they purchase it from you. To transport your drone you will need to get placards and documentation that identify the safety hazard of your drone battery. Refer to this transport canada webpage explaining the process for shipping batteries.

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