|Quoting Kingairman (Thread starter):|
Are their any requirements to fly to Canada from the USA VFR ? Any special permits or flight plans needed ?
I live near the US-Canada border and this comes up all the time. I haven't crossed the border in a while so take this with a grain of salt but this may suggest some stuff to research further on your own. Talk with the authorities (in both countries) if you have ANY questions!! They're easy to chat with and are far more pleasant if you find them long before a bad situation comes up.
A tip: be sure to utilize the restroom prior to starting your trip and try not to take in a lot of diuretics (coffee, caffeine, etc)... because you *can't* even get out of the airplane post-landing until the Customs/Immigrations officer allows you to do so.
You don't want to know how upset they can get if this is disregarded. If travelling alone, I'd say to bring a portable bottle 'just in case' the wait is long and not worry about it further. Can get a little more embarrassing with passengers onboard, but it beats some of the bad experiences friends has had with U.S. Customs.
Obviously, don't forget to bring along your (and any paxs') passports or other appropriate legal documents for entry into both countries. Can be easy to forget that sometimes in the excitement of packing up and going to the airport.
You also can't have a DUI/DWI/maybe DWAI conviction on your record nor drug offenses or you won't be allowed in the country. If you have passengers... also check this for them, too!
Obviously, make sure ALL
paperwork are in order since you don't want to come across an inspector having a bad day.
You do NOT want to risk having your aircraft confiscated! (On either side of the border.)
Canadian flying rules and setup also slightly differs here-and-there, and is somewhat more European in flavour. For instance, airspace classification or contacting (e.g.) 'Toronto Terminal'. Certain best practices in the U.S. are either prohibited or strongly frowned upon in Canadian aviation.
So... definitely be aware of the Canadian aviation flight rules, best practices, have current charts and whatnot.
Also, in Canada, all VFR flights >25 nm from departure airport and all transborder flights requires a filed flight plan -- the intent is to facilitate search & rescue efforts; particularly important in large and less populated areas of the country. Unlike the U.S., where a filed flight plan for VFR flight is not required, primarily due to population density and services availability.
Read up on Canadian best practices for pattern entry and departure. And airspace classification rules (some differences there), weather minimums, etc.
Do you know where to go to obtain a legal weather briefing prior to departing any airport in Canada?
If you encounter any significant delays (past, say, 15 minutes) in arrival to Canada or the U.S., you most likely need to immediately call and update Customs people using whatever means available.
This may or may not be a requirement on the Canadian side, but the U.S. can be rather an@l-retentive about this. Details varies, depending on how you cross and if you use CANPASS, ADCUS, or some other program or as an ordinary transborder crossing without any special expedited flight programs.
A suggestion would be to make a checklist of required documents, required actions to perform, frequencies and phone numbers (both sides of the border), so that when the time comes, you just run through the list, check off everything as you go along instead of sweating over if you forgot something or not.
Keep in mind that Nav Canada is a private firm that collects payment for services rendered (as part of users fee collection initiative). The registered owner of the aircraft you fly will probably get a bill in the mail later for services rendered. For more information:
They note the aircraft's registration number and then later sends an invoice in the mail to the address on file with the civil aviation authority of the country of registration (e.g. the FAA's records for U.S.-registered aircraft). No big deal.
Also, keep in mind that in official documentation in Canada, airports will often be referred to as aerodromes.
Nav Canada also has a fee calculation website link here:
If you're an AOPA member (and I strongly
recommend it!), they've got a great website on flying to Canada and then back to the U.S.:
AOPA and COPA also has a prepared joint U.S.-Canada flying guide on how to prepare for a trip to Canada and back to the U.S. (or other way around):
It's a great guide, especially for the first-timer.
Another thing you need to do is make sure your aircraft insurance also includes coverage in Canada, too! Many people forget to check this subtle detail. And if you drive a rental car in Canada as a non-citizen, you'll also need a little card titled:
Non-Resident Inter-Provincial Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Card
Or you may be subject to arrest and jail if you end up in an accident without legal proof of insurance coverage in Canada. You can get this card for free from your U.S.-based automobile insurance company upon request.
Main government agencies you'd probably deal with on the Canadian side: Nav Canada and Revenue Canada (whom handles customs/immigration via CANPASS as a convenience for the registered CANPASS traveller on behalf of Citizenship and Immigration Canada)... and maybe Canada Border Services Agency.
You'll need a working Mode A and Mode C transponder (or a waiver granted in writing) for transborder operation involving the U.S. side.
Be sure you are current on your intercept procedures and how to respond in case something goes wrong (e.g. not communicated 'in the system') when crossing the border back into the U.S. A big one is to get ATC clearance to enter U.S. airspace BEFORE you actually arrive in it or you're going to be intercepted.
If you do not own the aircraft you're flying, you'll need a notarized letter with details of the aircraft information and an explicit authorization for you (by your full name) to fly the aircraft into Canada and back for a given date range. They want to prevent stolen aircraft as well as revenue lost from improperly registered and purchased aircraft so this is why.
There's quite a few requirements and quirks so read up on them all! Take notes as you go along.
It's a fair bit of planning and reading, but the actual flight itself should be a non-event if well prepared. Enjoy your flight.