Direct Examination process

We use the Direct Examination process to assess qualifications given to seafarers by an authority other than the Minister of Transport. We check qualifications against the Marine Personnel Regulations to see if we can give an equal or lower ranking certificate.

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What you need to apply to the Direct Examination process

You may submit the following certificates for assessment:

  • a certificate issued under the Seafarer’s Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention that is:
    • validFootnote 1 for use at sea without tonnage or class of voyage restrictions
    • issued by an Administration recognized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as being STCW compliant
  • a qualification issued by the Department of National Defence
    • This includes, but is not limited to, deck and engineering qualifications

We can only issue a Certificate of Competency once you provide us with proof that you are a qualified person (Canadian citizen or a permanent resident). However, the Direct Examination process may start as soon as you provide us with proof you have applied for permanent residency in Canada.
An applicant for Direct Examination must:

  1. be at least 18 years old on the day they receive the certificate or endorsement
  2. have started to collect the sea service needed for the certificate or endorsement after reaching 16 years old
    • This age is 15 years old for service collected on a fishing vessel for a fishing certificate

How to apply:

You must schedule an appointment with a Transport Canada Marine Safety and Security Examination Centre to have your credentials assessed. There, you will complete forms given by the Examination Centre and provide the required documents.

You must provide the required documents in English or French. If an original document is not in English or French, you must provide the original of a certified translation into English or French.

Required documents

  1. Foreign Seafarer:
    1. Proof of qualified person status (Canadian citizen or a permanent resident)
      1. i) Permanent resident applicants do not need have their permanent residency cards to apply. Transport Canada only requires the applicant’s permanent residency submission application number to start the review process. (Note: A Certificate of Competency (CoC) will not be issued to the applicant until Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada issues a permanent residency card)
    2. Valid passport for country of origin or a Canadian passport
    3. The applicant's birth certificate or equivalent
    4. all of the discharge books and any certificates of discharge for the qualifying service needed for the certificate or endorsement
    5. any testimonials, containing the required signatures and at least the information set out in Schedule 4 or 5 of the Part 1 of the Marine Personnel Regulations
    6. proof of qualifying service ashore, if any
    7. any relevant certificate held by the applicant, including certificates issued by an Administration other than the Minister that is recognized by the IMO as compliant with the STCW Convention
    8. transcripts of relevant academic training, if any
  2. Applicant from the Department of National Defence:
    1. Proof of Canadian citizenship or Canadian permanent resident status
    2. Driver’s license (or other government issued photo ID)
    3. Canadian Armed Forces Form CFP-245, completed and duly signed by the commanding officer
    4. Canadian Armed Forces Form CF-1110, completed and duly signed by the commanding officer
    5. Member’s Personnel Record Resume or the more recent Guardian version from the Royal Canadian Navy
    6. Degree/diploma including the original transcript of the program completed in the Royal Canadian Navy
    7. Qualification level and certificates obtained in the Royal Canadian Navy

Review process

The Examination Centre reviews the completed forms, assembles a file, then sends the file to the main Transport Canada headquarters office for review. Headquarters assesses the file and sends a response letter to the applicant telling them what qualifications they have been given. If anything is missing, the regional Examination Centre will work with you to complete the file.

Direct Examination process service standards

Assessment of qualifications and experience

  • Initial assessment: 35 working days after we receive the complete application (if all the requirements are met)
  • Final assessment: 260 working days after we receive the complete application (if all the requirements are met)

Canadian programs and training

For more information about Canadian approved training programs or courses, please contact the recognized institutions directly. Transport Publication 10655 contains the name and location of the institutions we recognize and the courses they are approved to give.

Applying for permanent residence in Canada

For information on applying for permanent residence in Canada, please contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Need help?


Mailing Address:
Seafarer Certification
330 Sparks St., 8th Floor
Tower C, Place de Ville
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0N5

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