Foreign Students

For those of you who are considering coming to Canada to obtain your flight training, there is no better place in the world to learn to fly. Canadian licensing and training standards are widely recognized, and are ICAO standard, and the airspace is generally far less congested than in the United States or Europe. Aircraft rates can be two, three or even four-times less expensive than comparable aircraft in countries overseas.

Couple these facts with the very attractive level of exchange of Canadian currency, and you will be hard-pressed to find a more appealing training environment!

The Canadian Air Regulations (CARs) allow for credit of foreign Licences in Canada. Click here for an excerpt of the CARs in relation to credit of a foreign Private Pilot Licence specifically section 8 and 9. Click here for a link to the CARs specifically for pilots who already have a foreign Commercial Licence or higher who wish to achieve the Canadian equivalent.

The following steps should be followed by students from outside Canada who wish to obtain training to acquire a pilot’s licence, a rating for their existing licence or a Canadian licensing equivalency.

  • Pilot Medical Exam
  • Choosing a School
  • Student Authorization
  • Coming to Canada
  • Approximate Prices & Course Duration

1. Pilot Medical Exam

Prior to investing time and money in the pursuit of a pilot’s Licence, the important first step is an examination by an aviation doctor to ensure you are fit to act as pilot-in-command of an aircraft. This is true anywhere in the world.

To fly in Canada, you must apply for a Category I aviation medical for commercial Licences & above, or a Category III aviation medical for a Private Pilot Licence. Upon passing the exam, Transport Canada issues you with a medical certificate in addition to your student pilot permit. This can take two to three weeks. Flight Training Units (flight schools) cannot issue you a letter of acceptance until you have this medical.

Foreign students may search the list of Canadian Civil Aviation Examiners that are certified to conduct these examinations in countries other than Canada. A medical examination may also be conducted by an Aviation Medical Examiner designated by the CAA or a member of the International Civil Aviation Organizations (ICAO).

2. Choosing a School

When it comes to choosing a training organization, making hurried decisions can have adverse consequences. Checklists have been used in the cockpit for many years to ensure that all procedures have been accomplished. It is important to know what you are looking for in a flight training organization. Your search should begin by asking yourself a few questions. Why do you want to learn to fly? Are you learning for fun or to pursue a career in aviation? Do you intend to learn to fly on a full or part-time basis? Do you intend to learn to fly in your own airplane or to rent? Do you intend to fly locally or to travel widely?

Once you have give some thought to what you want in a flight school, start putting together a list of questions to ask the different Canadian schools. Some questions you may consider could include:

  • Schedules for upcoming courses (private, commercial, instructor, IFR, etc.)
  • Average costs for training and what other expenses one can anticipate
  • Payment policy (deposits, bank accounts, etc.)
  • Airport and school facilities, including types and numbers of aircraft
  • Local accommodation, costs and distance from the training facility
  • Local attractions

After choosing your school (the Brantford Flight Centre is at your service), you will need to obtain a letter of acceptance to obtain a student visa. This should contain:

  • Description of the nature of the training and where it will take place
  • Start date of course and estimate duration
  • Estimated cost of course

3. Student Authorization

Upon receipt of your student pilot permit and your letter of acceptance from a flight school, the next step for taking your training in Canada is to obtain a student authorization from the Department of Citizenship and Immigration.

To apply for an authorization you must have:

  • A valid passport;
  • A letter of acceptance from your flying club/school. This must be the original, not a photocopy. It should specify in detail the courses you are taking, confirm that you have been accepted as a student, and indicate the estimated length of study. Keep this letter after you application to show to immigration officials when you arrive in Canada.
  • Sufficient funds to cover tuition, living expenses and medical insurance
  • You must be able to prove you can support yourself and your dependents before a student authorization is issued. A letter from your bank in your country or a bank draft of a letter from you source of funding will show immigration officials that you can afford to pay your expenses and, if necessary, the expenses of your spouse and dependents while you are in Canada.
  • These expenses include estimated training costs, food, clothing, shelter, books, transportation, medical insurance, entertainment, personal or family needs and return trips home. In addition, you must:
  • complete an application form
  • pay a processing fee and possibly complete an immigration medical.

Dependents

Husbands and wives of holders of valid student authorizations are eligible for an open employment authorization (provided they are not full-time students themselves) to enable them to take up employment in Canada. This can only be obtained after arrival in Canada.

Application Form

An application form is available, again through the Department of Citizenship and Immigration.

4. Coming to Canada

Preparations

It is the responsiblity of the student to arrange accomodation and transporttation during their stay.

Flight to Canada

Information on booking flights to Canada is at travel agencies, or on the Internet at: Air Canada

Passports and Visas

When you arrive in Canada, you must show immigration officials the following:

  • Your student authorization
  • Valid passport
  • Any letters or papers used to obtain your student authorization

Make sure that your documentation is valid for your course length. If you need more time, apply at an immigration office. Do not overstay the date stamped on your passport. If there is something you don’t understand, immigration officers will be happy to help you. Ensure your passport allows you to return home or to travel to another country.

Canada Customs

As an international student studying in Canada, you are eligible for certain customs benefits, including the temporary importation into Canada of your household and personal effects. A number of conditions apply, so before coming to Canada, you should refer to Department of Citizenship and Immigration’s website.

Working in Canada

International students may be allowed to work while attending school. Your spouse may also be allowed to work under certain circumstances. ask any Canadian Immigration official to give you details on working in Canada as an international student. New regulations recently brought into effect allow students who complete a commercial Licence and instructor course to work in Canada as a flight instructor for a period of six months.

This term is renewable subject to a labour market assessment. This policy is essentially similar to the American J-1 visa. Both the Brantford Flight Centre and the Air Transport Association of Canada can provide you with additional information regarding these opportunities.

5. Aproximate Prices and Course Duration

  • PPL: $10,000 6 Months
  • PPL & Night Rating: $11,000, 7 Months
  • PPL/CPL: $26,000, 18 Months
  • PPL/CPL/Multi: $30,000, 20 Months
  • PPL/CPL/Single IFR: $30,000, 20 Months
  • PPL/CPL/Multi-IFR: $35,000, 24 Months

Note: These prices and time frames are based on a student training on a full time basis, and may be less or more depending on the student.

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