Answers for Pilots

Flying north of the lower 48

July 1, 2007

Flying to Canada in a private aircraft can be one of a pilot's most enjoyable adventures. From the mountains of British Columbia, to Nova Scotia, and to the vast far Northwest Territories, Canada provides spectacular views and great locations that often can be reached only by light aircraft. Here is a brief list of how to prepare for a trip to Canada.

  • Personal documents. As the pilot, you will need your pilot certificate, medical certificate, and restricted radiotelephone operators permit. All certificates must be original and current.

    Each person on board must have a current passport. Birth certificates are no longer acceptable as sole proof of citizenship. Any minor child on the flight accompanied by only one parent must have a notarized letter from the absent parent authorizing the trip. Specific dates, places, and names should be included.
  • Aircraft documentation and equipment. A standard airworthiness certificate, permanent registration certificate (no temporaries or pink slips), radio station license, and documentation of operating limitations and weight and balance are required. If the aircraft is registered in another name, it is required that you have a notarized letter authorizing use of the aircraft for flight in Canada. Bring an original completed Form 337 if fuel tanks have been installed in the baggage or passenger compartment.
  • Insurance. Verify insurance coverage with your agent to be sure that it extends into Canada. Private aircraft must be covered by liability insurance; the amount is determined by the aircraft's gross takeoff weight. Proof of coverage should be carried on board the aircraft.
  • Entry into Canada. You must provide advance notification to Canadian customs (Canpass) no less than two hours but no more than 48 hours prior to your arrival by calling 888/CAN-PASS (226-7277). A filed and activated IFR or VFR flight plan is required for border crossing, and your first landing in Canada must be at an airport of entry. After arrival at your airport of entry, contact the Canpass office again at the same number and receive an arrival report number or be advised to await a customs inspection.
  • Flight operations in Canada. To access weather information and file flight plans while flying in Canada, contact Canadian flight service by calling 866/WX-BRIEF (992-7433). This number can be used only within the borders of Canada.
  • U.S. Customs. U.S. Customs requires you to purchase a $25 annual user-fee decal. You must obtain it in advance of your departure, or contact the airport of entry you will be using for your return to see if there is a supply of decals on hand.
  • Notices to airmen. Be sure to check all international notams pertinent to your route of flight.

Membership Q&A

Answers to frequently asked questions about your AOPA membership

Q: I'd like to give an AOPA membership as a gift to a friend. Can I do that?

A: Yes. Giving friends or relatives a membership in AOPA provides them with information and tools that help them fly safely and get more enjoyment out of flying.

Your gift recipient will receive a special gift card and an AOPA pilot's cap. Use our convenient online form or call Member Services to help someone special celebrate a holiday or any special event.

Q: Could I be putting myself at risk flying without renters insurance?

A: Yes, you could be putting yourself at risk. But, most important, you're putting yourself in financial jeopardy when flying without renters insurance. The average cost of an aviation claim is $30,000, in addition to legal fees, which average $20,000 per accident but can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the circumstances. Why take the financial risk when AOPA Insurance Agency offers renter's policies for as low as $90? Call the AOPA Insurance Agency to make sure you are covered, at 800/622-2672.

Q: Can I update my AOPA membership and pilot information online?

A: Yes. Go online and look for the My AOPA Membership link in the left column. After you click on it, you'll be asked to log in — for your security — with your AOPA member number or your user name and password. You'll then be able to view and update your current membership information and options. You can do it as often as you need to and whenever it's most convenient for you. You can review personal information, renew your membership, and more by clicking on My AOPA Membership in the left column of our home page.

Contact information

Phone: 800/USA-AOPA (872-2672), from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time from Monday through Friday
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: Update your personal information, renew your membership, and much more by clicking on My AOPA Membership in the left column of our home page.

Kathy Dondzila

Kathy Dondzila | Manager, Technical Communications, Pilot Information Center

Technical Communications Manager, Kathy Dondzila, joined AOPA in 1990 and is an instrument-rated private pilot.