TCCA to FAA pilot conversion

Conversion of Canadian TCCA Pilot License to FAA Pilot Certificate

Canadian Pilot and Flight Instructor to FAA CFI Certification

The FAA and Canada signed a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) back in 2008. This agreement was eventually expanded in 2014. BASA allows the Canadian pilots to easily obtain a US FAA issued pilot certificate, and vice-versa. The process is explained in detail in FAA’s Advisory Circular (AC 61-135A) but here is the short version.

TCCA to FAA conversion

If you hold a Transport Canada Civil Aviation Authority (TCCA) issued pilot’s license, then the process to obtain an FAA issued pilot’s certificate is fairly simple. 

STEP 1 – Apply with the FAA for the verification of your TCCA issued pilot’s license. Here is the link.

STEP 2 – Obtain an FAA Medical Certificate (minimum required is Class III). This process can be completed at your TCCA authorized medical examiner – the same doctor that does your Canadian medical.

STEP 3 – Take the appropriate written exams at the approved testing sites. These are multiple choice type exams and there are many online test prep sites available to help you with this.

STEP 4 – Make and appointment and visit your nearest FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) and get your FAA pilot certificate and/or rating – Temporary Airman Certificate.

FAA CFI certificate (Flight Instructor) does not have any such provisions for conversion from Canada or from any other country. You much meet the requirements of 14 CFR 61.183 and then take a practical test to earn your CFI certificate. CFI Academy can help you with process. The duration for Canadian Flight Instructor’s training and testing here with us is about 2 weeks.  

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13 Responses

  1. So there is no way to convert an FAA CFI rating to a Canadian Flight instructor rating too correct?
    But if I possess an FAA CFI rating and would want to be a flight instructor in Canada, do I need to do the entire Training and Ground School process again or would the process be much shorter and simpler since I already am an experienced CFI?
    Please do help with my query

    1. No. The process is available to convert the CPL, but not the CFI. You should contact some flight schools in Canada to learn about the process. We can help you here in the US if you were seeking FAA CFI. Thank You.

  2. Hi Prince,

    Thank you first of all, this is very informative.

    I graduated from Canada I already have all the certificates (PPL,CPL,etc) if I’m going to convert it to FAA will I convert every single certificate or will I just take 1 exam for all?

  3. Several questions so lets begin at the CPL.
    Under the old NAFTA agreement, you simply write a simplified exam to convert to and from a
    Canadian CPL and FAA CPL.

    Converting an Instructor rating was not and is not and probably will not be possible in the foreseeable future.
    (A) The easiest solution for a Canadian is to do 15 hours flight and 10 hours Instructor training in Canada with a Class One Canadian Instructor, and then do training in the US and after writing 2 written exams, do the FAA CFI flight test. Then return to Canada and you have no minimum ground or flight time requirement to do a TC Class 4 instructor rating.

    (B) For an FAA CFI to convert to a TC initial class 4 instructor rating, you will need to write the 2 written exams and a 15 hours flight and10 hours ground (minimum) with a Canadian Class 1 Instructor followed by a flight test.

    Here is the good news. If you are an experienced CFI in the USA, you should not have any difficulty in becoming familiar with the Canadian differences in training, however you will have to up your game considerably when it comes to Ground Lessons, what is called PGI or Preparatory Ground Instruction.

    The ACS or PTS are very similar if not identical however the US has manoeuvers that do not exist in the Canadian Syllabus.

  4. Hello ,

    Thanks , I’m at step 3 and i only found Gleim aviation course to study my exam ( ATPL to FAA ATP )
    do you have any website or reference for study ?

    There is a difference between the gleim aviation conversion course and the FAA study guidline so I,m not sure that is accurate enough


  5. Hi,

    I am about to finish college in Canada and soon I’ll have a CPL with Multi IFR ratings. If I do the exam you say to convert my TC to FAA, will it be enough to convert ME IFR as well or it would be converted just the CPL, cause the information and the other questions just talk about CPL and Instructors but ME IFR ratings are “convertable” with the same exam for the CPL or you’ll need to do another for these ratings? Is it possible to do this without flying any hour, cause I heard that you can do this, but it is just like a pilot permit not the FAA CPL in order to work.

    Thank you for your information!

    1. Yes you can convert all the pilot certificates/licenses and ratings, including instrument rating.

  6. Hi,
    I am Tc licensed, CPL MIFR and I have my instructor rating. I am around 400h

    what’s the process for me convert my Tc instructor rating to FAA CFI.

  7. If I convert my TC PPL to FAA PPL can I then train for an IFR rating in the US and get an FAA IFR rating?

    1. Hello Matt. Yes, you absolutely can. As a matter of fact, many PPL holders from Canada, and from other countries chose this pathway. I am one of them. CFI Academy can help you with the FAA Instrument Rating and PPL conversion as well. Here is a link to our accelerated IR course – . Note, you do not need to choose the 10-day option, 2-3 weeks is a much better pace. We do have on-campus housing and in-house DPE.

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