Getting a drone pilot certificate

Drone pilots must carry a valid drone pilot certificate at all times while operating their drone. A valid drone pilot certificate is a printed or electronic document issued by Transport Canada. No other form of certification will be accepted.

There are two types of pilot certificates: basic and advanced. The type of licence you need depends on how you want to fly. Find your category of operation.

On this page

Getting a drone Pilot Certificate – Basic Operations

For basic operations, you need to take the online exam.

If you pass the Small Basic Exam, you will be issued a Pilot Certificate – Basic Operations. You can download and print your certificate through the Drone Management Portal.

Your pilot certificate does not expire, but you need to keep your skills up-to-date.

Getting a drone Pilot Certificate – Advanced Operations

For advanced operations, you need to:

  1. pass the online exam for advanced operations
  2. successfully pass a flight review
  3. apply for a Pilot Certificate – Advanced Operations

About the Pilot Certificate – Advanced Operations

Drone pilots who hold a Pilot Certificate – Advanced Operations can conduct both basic and advanced operations.

Once the $25 fee is paid, you will be issued a Pilot Certificate – Advanced Operations.  You can download and print your certificate through the Drone Management Portal.

Your pilot certificate does not expire, but you need to keep your skills up-to-date.

Keeping your skills up to date

It is important to keep your knowledge and skills up to date once you have obtained your pilot certificate.  Before operating a drone, you must have completed one of the following within the previous 24 months:

  • Re-taking and passing either the Small Basic Exam or Small Advanced Exam;
  • Successfully passing a flight review ; or
  • Completing any one of the following training activities:
    • attendance at a safety seminar endorsed by Transport Canada Civil Aviation;
    • completion of an drone recurrent training program from a drone flight school; or
    • completion of a Transport Canada endorsed self-paced study program

Your pilot certificate does not expire, but you must be able to show proof of completion of one of these activities whenever you fly.