Flying Canada

Dear COPA members,

I am planning a cross country from central MN to Burlington VT . In order to not cross Lake Superior I am thinking I will head north to Canada and then back down . I should be able to refuel on the U.S. side , but will transition Canadian airspace. Does anyone know if I have to land in Canada for fuel or weather what the customs requirement is ? Do I need to file a customs form ahead of time just in case?


To cross the border either way you need to be on a flight plan (VFR or IFR). If you simply overfly Canada there are no custom implications. If you plan to land in Canada you need to file with US Customs (e-apis) outbound and get permission from CANPASS to land in Canada. Then you need another e-apis filing for your return to the US. The Canadian airport and the US airport inbound from Canada need to be Airports of Entry.

Go to the AOPA website for full information.

If you have an emergency during an overflight you can obviously land anywhere, but be prepared for lots of explanations and paperwork.

I agree


Landing in Canada and, EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, coming back into USA, is much better done if planned and well prepared than because of a fuel diversion.

Normally you will have to choose Port of Entries (places with custom facilities open to GA at the date and time you land) in Canada, and back in USA. You would need a flight plan with an estimated crossing time. You will need to advise CANPASS about your intentions and communicate your manifest before you fly there, and you will have to file some forms (look up EAPIS) for the USA counter parts. You will need your passports, in theory (nobody asks for it) your radio operator and radiostation licenses, and a decal for the current year for USA customs. In other words, I would consider landing in Canada, in an unplanned situation, only in case of emergency.

Now, if you just overfly the foreign territory, ON A FLIGHT PLAN and under radar control, then the worse that can (and will) happen is that the registered owner of the tail number will receive a bill for the Canadian ATC services (radio calls, etc) that you have been consuming.

Best of success with your adventures!

Thank you so much. Kind of what I thought. I would file IFR , but just can’t figure out the diversion for wx or fuel issue. No plans to land in Canada , BUT? Sounds like I should file e-apis regardless or just in case?

Sorry Doctor, I was typing much more slowly than you!

No you should not

No you should not

It will require you to list the airport that you’re going to land that, and you’re not going to land.

Just file an IFR or VFR flight plan and stay in contact with ATC and you will be fine

With ATC and you will be fine

In the very slight chance you have to land in Canada you will have already cleared your intentions to ATC and most likely called it an emergency. ATC in Canada will help you out they are very pleasant to deal with

ATC in Canada will help you out they are very pleasant to deal with

Enjoy the flight

Thank you Donald. Very helpful.

Good information as always from COPA members. Thank you all!

I don’t think you’ll necessarily get a bill for an overflight. I didn’t get billed when I overflew Canada last October in the jet on the way to Boston.

You were luckier than me.
I should have used “might” rather than “will”.

You should not be billed for an overflight.

Same here. I have done a flight similar to that proposed by the OP and did not receive a bill. Even flew to Montreal and received no bill (paid a landing fee though).

typical “Canada”…trying to charge for every possible thing!! I can say that as I am Canadian…lol