How to Immigrate to Canada as a Pilot

Discovering how to immigrate to Canada as a pilot can open exciting new opportunities. This process involves understanding specific requirements and navigating through appropriate immigration programs. In this detailed guide, we will explore why choosing Canada as a destination for pilots is beneficial, delve into eligibility requirements, and outline the complete immigration process.

We will also address the possibility of bringing your family with you and analyze the best available immigration programs for pilots. From costs to the need for a job offer, we will address frequently asked questions and provide valuable information in plain language. Learn how you can turn your dream of living and working as a pilot in Canada into a smooth and successful reality. Get ready to take off towards a new life in Canada!

Why Immigrate to Canada as a Pilot?

Why Immigrate to Canada as a Pilot?

Canada welcomes skilled professionals like pilots with open arms, offering a rewarding career path, a vibrant lifestyle, and a clear route to citizenship. Buckle up, and let's explore why immigrating to Canada could be the perfect flight plan for your future:

Job Market

  • High Demand: Canada faces a pilot shortage, with projections for thousands of new positions by 2025. This translates to abundant job opportunities across airlines, cargo carriers, and regional operators.
  • Lucrative Salaries: Expect competitive salaries ranging from $100,000 to over $500,000 annually, depending on experience, airline, and location.
  • Career Growth: The industry offers excellent progression opportunities, allowing you to advance from co-pilot to captain, specialize in specific routes or aircraft types, or even move into management roles.


  • High Quality of Life: Canada consistently ranks high in global livability indices, boasting universal healthcare, excellent education, and safe, secure communities.
  • Multicultural Mosaic: Embrace diversity and inclusion in a welcoming society with vibrant cultural events, delicious cuisines, and opportunities to connect with people from around the world.
  • Natural Splendor: From majestic mountains and pristine lakes to breathtaking coastlines and vast forests, Canada's breathtaking landscapes offer endless opportunities for outdoor adventures and exploration.

Path to Citizenship

  • Express Entry: The Express Entry system prioritizes skilled professionals like pilots, offering a streamlined pathway to permanent residency based on factors like education, work experience, language skills, and age.
  • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs): Several provinces have dedicated streams for pilots, providing targeted support and faster processing times.
  • Citizenship: After fulfilling residency requirements and meeting other criteria, you can apply for Canadian citizenship, granting you full voting rights and social benefits.

Remember, this is just a glimpse. Deciding to immigrate requires careful research and planning. Consider consulting with an immigration lawyer or consultant to navigate the process and maximize your chances of success.

Eligibility Requirements for Working in Canada as a Pilot

Visa Options

Several visa options can help pilots immigrate to Canada:

Express Entry: This point-based system prioritizes skilled workers like pilots. Points are awarded for factors like education, work experience, language skills, and age.

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs): Several provinces, like Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, have dedicated PNP streams for pilots with faster processing times and targeted support.

Intra-Company Transfer (ICT): If your current employer has a branch in Canada, they may be able to transfer you under the ICT program.

Work Experience and Pilot Licenses

Required Work Experience: The minimum required work experience depends on the visa program and your specific situation. However, generally, 1-3 years of pilot experience is expected.

Pilot Licenses: You need a valid Canadian Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) or Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) to work as a pilot in Canada. Converting a foreign license may be possible, but you'll need to meet Canadian requirements and complete additional training if necessary.

Language Skills

English or French: Canada is bilingual, so proficiency in either English or French is mandatory. The required level varies depending on the visa program and profession. You'll need to take and pass a language test like the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Test d'Évaluation de Français pour l'accès au Canada (TEF).


Medical Certificate: You'll need a valid Category 1 Medical Certificate issued by Transport Canada, demonstrating your fitness to fly.

Additional Ratings: Depending on the type of flying you want to do, additional ratings and endorsements may be required, such as Multi-Engine Instrument Rating or Single-Engine Seaplane Rating.

These are general requirements, and specific details might differ depending on your individual circumstances. It's crucial to consult with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) to receive personalized guidance and ensure you meet all eligibility criteria.

The Immigration Process - 5 Steps to Move to Canada as a Pilot

The Immigration Process - 5 Steps to Move to Canada as a Pilot

Ready to soar into your Canadian aviation dream? Here's a step-by-step guide to navigate the immigration process:

  1. Step 1: Assess Your Eligibility:
    • Research visa options: Explore Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), and Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) to find the best fit for your situation.
    • Verify work experience: Ensure you meet the minimum required pilot experience (usually 1-3 years) and understand any specific requirements of your chosen program.
    • Evaluate language skills: Assess your English or French proficiency and prepare for language testing like IELTS or TEF.
    • Gather documentation: Start collecting relevant documents like educational transcripts, work references, pilot licenses, and medical certificates.
  2. Step 2: Choose Your Visa Pathway:
    • Express Entry: Submit your profile to the Express Entry pool and aim for a high Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.
    • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs): Research and apply to relevant PNP streams for pilots, often offering faster processing times.
    • Intra-Company Transfer (ICT): If applicable, collaborate with your employer for an ICT transfer to their Canadian branch.
  3. Step 3: Submit Your Application:
    • Follow the specific instructions and requirements of your chosen visa program.
    • Pay all applicable application fees and ensure your documentation is complete and accurate.
    • Submit your application electronically through the IRCC website or by mail.
  4. Step 4: Processing and Medical Exam:
    • Your application will be reviewed by IRCC, involving background checks and security clearances.
    • You'll be required to undergo a medical examination by a Transport Canada-approved medical examiner.
  5. Step 5: Visa Decision and Landing:
    • Once your application is processed, IRCC will issue a decision (approval, refusal, or request for additional information).
    • Upon approval, you'll receive a visa permit allowing you to land in Canada.
    • Activate your permanent residence status and begin your new life in Canada!


The immigration process can vary depending on your chosen program and individual circumstances. However, here's a general estimate:

  • Express Entry: 6-24 months (from profile creation to landing)
  • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs): 12-24 months (depending on the specific program)
  • Intra-Company Transfer (ICT): 6-12 months

Bringing Your Family to Canada as a Pilot: A Guide

Joining a dynamic aviation industry and starting a new life in Canada sounds exciting! Bringing your family along presents additional steps, but with proper planning and preparation, it's certainly achievable. Here's how you can navigate the process:


  • Spouses/common-law partners: You can sponsor them for permanent residency if you're a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. They must meet health and security requirements.
  • Dependent children: Children under 22 who are unmarried and financially dependent are eligible for sponsorship. Age limit and dependency status might vary depending on the program.

Visa Options:

  • Family Class Sponsorship: The primary route for most family members. You'll submit an application demonstrating your financial ability to support them and meet other requirements.
  • Spouse Open Work Permit: Allows your spouse to work while their permanent residency application is processed.


  1. Choose a Visa Option: Assess your situation and select the most suitable option for your family members.
  2. Gather Documents: Start collecting documents proving your relationship (marriage certificate, birth certificates), financial ability (tax returns, employment letter), and their eligibility.
  3. Submit Your Application: Follow the instructions and requirements for your chosen visa program. Pay all applicable fees and ensure completeness.
  4. Processing and Decision: IRCC will review your application, involving background checks and health examinations for your family members.
  5. Visa Issuance: Upon approval, your family will receive visas to land in Canada.



How Much Does it Cost to Immigrate to Canada as a Pilot?

While the average cost ranges from $4,000 to $8,000, remember this includes application fees, medical exams, and potential lawyer fees. Factor in living expenses during processing and consider the program you choose, as some provinces offer financial support for pilots.

Do I Need a Job Offer to Immigrate to Canada as a pilot?

Landing a job beforehand strengthens your application, but it's not mandatory! Various immigration programs don't require a job offer. Express Entry and some Provincial Nominee Programs focus on your skills and experience, while others like Intra-Company Transfer require sponsorship from your current employer with Canadian operations.

What are the Best Immigration Programs for Pilots to Move to Canada?

Express Entry offers a broad pathway, while Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) can expedite your journey with pilot-specific streams. If you're open to rural communities, the Rural and Northern Pilot might be an interesting option. Consider your desired location, processing speed, and job market fit when choosing your program.

Remember, consulting an immigration expert can personalize your strategy and ensure a smooth landing in Canada!