Flying to Canada Checklist

FLYING TO CANADA FOR THE U.S. PILOT
GET READY A MONTH PRIOR TO DEPARTURE

  • Confirm Passport is current and won’t expire in the next ~12 months, renew otherwise.
  • Confirm a current Custom’s and Border Patrol (CBP) Decal is affixed to aircraft (order here if not: https://dtops.cbp.dhs.gov or request the aircraft owner/operator to do so)
  • Confirm FCC Radio Station Cert for the aircraft is up to date (FCC Form 605 Main Form, Schedule C and FCC Form 159 – http://www.fcc.gov/formpage.html
  • Obtain an FCC Restricted Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit for the pilot (http://wireless.fcc.gov/commoperators/rp.html) – this may not actually be required in Canada as it appears no one actually checks for it ever, but might be good to be on the safe side.
  • Get your eAPIS account set up (https://eapis.cbp.dhs.gov
  • Check that your aircraft liability insurance is valid in Canada. Bring proof as it is required in Canada.
  • Purchase a copy of the Canadian Flight Supplement (similar to an AFD, but contains things not found on charts). Purchase NAV CANADA charts as necessary. Study differences between airspace in Canada and US and how flight plans work. http://www.tc.gc.ca/Publications/EN/TP11541/PDF/HR/TP11541E.pdf

BEFORE DEPARTURE – CHECK ONBOARD AIRCRAFT 

  • Airworthiness Certificate
  • Registration (US DOT)
  • Radio Station Cert
  • Operating Handbook
  • Weight and Balance
  • Canada Charts and Supplement
  • Proof of Liability Insurance

BEFORE DEPARTURE – CHECK ONBOARD PILOT AND PASSENGERS

  • Pilot Certificate
  • Medical
  • Passports
  • Driver’s License
  • Credit Cards/Money
  • Radio Operators Permit

ABOUT ONE DAY BEFORE DEPARTURE TO CANADA

  1. Provide notification to CBSA (Canadian Border Services Agency) at 1-888-CAN-PASS (226-7277) to schedule a custom’s appointment.  Must arrive within 15 minutes of appointment. Provide time, aircraft, arrival airport, passenger info with name, birthday, citizenship, passport number.  You must provide notification no less than two (2) hours but no more than 48 hours prior to your arrival. 
  2. Verify your first airport in Canada is on the list of Airports of Entry (AoE) http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/contact/listing/indexpages/indextype5-e.html

TWO HOURS BEFORE DEPARTURE TO CANADA

  1. File ICAO VFR Flight Plan. In the flight plan remarks section north bound state “Advise Canadian Flight Service”
  2. File eAPIS Notice of Departure Manifest (https://eapis.cbp.dhs.gov) – can be filed upto 24 hours in advance. Make sure you receive your approval to depart email confirmation.

 
ON DEPARTURE

  1. Open flight plan with FSS. Ask for border crossing transponder code. When you open your flight plan give the off time and ask FSS controller to advise Canadian Flight Service.

ENROUTE

  1. Do not cross border without squawk code. 
  2. Before entering Canadian airspace, contact Canadian ATC (often on 126.7 – look in Canadian Flight Supplement or on charts for frequencies). Verify they received your flight plan from US FSS and your routing.

 
AT DESTINATION IN CANADA

  1. Close Flight Plan with Canadian tower (or by calling 866-WX-BRIEF on the ground)
  2. Taxi to Customs. Ask tower for help if necessary. Shutdown and wait a few minutes for customs agents. If none come out then park and enter building. If no agents, call 888-CAN-PASS for directions. 
  3. Clear Customs and get report number, enter report number in logbook

 
WHILE IN CANADA

 
MORE THAN TWO HOURS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE TO US

  1. File the Canada to US flight plan with Canada FSS at 866-WX-Brief (866-992-7433). File only for the border crossing leg and get border-crossing squawk code. In the flight plan remarks section south bound “Advise US Flight Service”.
  2. File eAPIS Manifest and receive approval to depart email confirmation
  3. Contact US Customs DIRECTLY at your first US destination and make a customs appointment. Include aircraft type and registration, commander’s name, departure point, arrival airport, number of us citizens, number of aliens, estimated time. Update as necessary with FSS.

Some Western Washington Customs office numbers: 

  • Bellingham KBLI – 360-734-5463 – Mon-Sun 0800-1700 – requires 1 hour notice
  • Paine KPAE – 425-259-0243 – Mon-Fri 0800-1700 – requires 2 hour notice
  • Olympia KOLM – 253-593-6338 – Mon-Fri 0800-1700 – requires 2 hour notice
  • Renton KRNT – 206-553-1971(4) – Mon-Sat 0800-1700 – requires 1 hour notice
  • Boeing KBFI – 206-553-1971(4) – Sun-Sat 0800-1600 – requires 1 hour notice 

 
DEPARTING CANADA HEADING TO UNITED STATES

  1. Set transponder code
  2. If you haven’t gotten your border-crossing squawk-code call Canadian ATC IFR Flight Planning at 1-888-987-2633 and request one even if you are flying VFR. Do not cross US border without.
  3. Immediately check that flight plan has been opened by the tower or on 126.7MHz. When you open your flight plan give the off time and ask to please advise US Flight Service.

ARRIVAL IN US

  1. Land at AoE and taxi to US Customs
  2. Close Flight Plan with US FSS
  3. Wait in airplane with documentation or follow instructions from agent. Recommend having all of your passenger’s passports as well as pilot’s medical and license ready. Also be prepared with Aircraft registration.

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