At the outset, it would seem that importing a plane into Canada is a fairly cut and dry matter. You follow the protocol, fill out the paperwork, pay the registration fee, and you’re done. However, be advised that when you are dealing with the import of aerospace machines and parts into Canada, one minor slip-up could end up being a very costly mistake.
Here at BorderBuddy, we like our clients to be as well-informed about the import-export process as possible. We know the ins and outs of importing an airplane into Canada simply because we have handled so many of these transactions and we understand how to make this a seamless process.
These are the steps involved in importing a plane to Canada. We will give you tips on handling the process yourself, pointing out potential problems you need to be aware of.
Basic requirements for registration
Meet airworthiness requirements for importation into Canada
Importing a plane from US to Canada can be tricky because there may be differences in the FAA’s and Transport Canada’s definition of airworthiness. Transport Canada has certain requirements and limitations that don’t exist in the US. This may mean that a legal and airworthy US aircraft may not necessarily be acceptable in Canada. Modifications can be a sticking point, as what’s approved in the US might not be allowed in Canada. They are two different systems.
If you’re considering a plane you haven’t seen in person, it should be easy to get a seller to scan and email enough of the airplane’s logbooks to ensure that it will be eligible for Canadian import. You can also get the FAA file on the airplane which will show not only all the records of the 337s filed for the airplane, but any accidents as well. You can find out if any liens are on the airplane. Once you have all that, and have numerous pictures that are easily sent via email, you will have a pretty good idea if the airplane is worth looking at.
Our advice is to have a Canadian AME/AMO inspect the aircraft and review all the paperwork since he will be well-versed in Canadian requirements. Also, if you’ve viewed photos of the plane but you have not seen it up close yourself, an engineer can make sure the airplane actually matches the paperwork, and everything is on the up and up. Be sure to contact Civil Aviation with any airworthiness questions.
Ensure that the aircraft is not registered in a foreign country
Make sure the “last state of registry” (in other words, the country from which you’re importing) provides proof to Transport Canada that the aircraft isn’t on a foreign register.
Getting the plane here
There are a few different ways of going about getting the plane here. You may choose to have the former owner fly it up with you, or you might hire a ferry pilot either on a ferry permit with its Canadian registration or or with the US registration.
Before registering the aircraft you must apply to the appropriate Transport Canada, Civil Aviation office for registration marks to be issued to the aircraft. There is no fee for issuing a mark, but there is a $45.00 fee for reserving a mark or a $140.00 fee for reserving or issuing a special mark.
Complete the form entitled Application for registration of aircraft (form 26-0522), which you can obtain from any Transport Canada, Civil Aviation office
Attach the proof of ownership document (e.g. bill of sale)
Include a photo (or rubbing) of the aircraft ID plate, clearly showing the name of the manufacturer, model, serial number and type certificate number
Include fee payment (this is around $110)
Provide the form, attachments, and fee to the appropriate Transport Canada, Civil Aviation office.
- Attach the following documents:
- proof of ownership (for example, a bill of sale)
- a photo of the aircraft’s ID plate, showing the:
- name of manufacturer
- serial number
- type certificate number (if applicable)
You will receive a Certificate of Registration in the mail from Transport Canada, Civil Aviation.
The normal time from arrival in Canada to issuance of your aircraft’s Canadian C of A should be between two to four weeks. If you have questions about the process and you’re considering hiring a customs broker, don’t hesitate to give BorderBuddy a call today to find out how we can make this a hassle-free experience for you.