Are Drones Illegal In Canada for U.S Citizens?


If you are an American who wants to visit Canada and take your drone there to capture pictures of some of the incredible scenery, you are not alone. You capture images of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta and British Columbia, urban Toronto, including the CN Tower, the Laurentians, the 1000 Islands near Ottawa, and the Quebec woodlands. Those are a few Canadian images that your drone can capture. However, before you head to Canada and take your drone with you, you will need to know a few things because you may be in for a very unpleasant surprise otherwise. You will first need to learn if you are legally allowed to fly your drone in Canada.

You Have To Register A Drone With TCCA To Fly One in Canada

The Transport of Canadian Civil Aviation or TCCA states that you have to register a drone to fly a drone in Canada. If you register and have it approved, you have to be a Canadian resident. In other words, the only time drones are legal in Canada is if Canadian or dual (with the other half being Canadian) residents register drones. In other words, if you are a complete foreigner, you cannot legally fly a drone. That goes for Americans who do not have any Canadian citizenship.

It is not illegal to fly drones in Canada, but this is a two-fold problem. First, it is not legal to fly an unregistered drone, and you cannot register a drone if you are not a Canadian citizen, so you do not even want to attempt to take a drone with you to Canada if that does not apply to you. Let’s talk about who can register a drone in Canada.

What Qualifications You Need To Register A Drone In Canada

The Canadian Aviation Regulation states that there are several qualifications that each drone pilot needs to have before even thinking of registering their drone successfully. The first and foremost thing that they need to do is be a citizen of Canada. It does not matter if the individual was born in Canada or a foreigner who became a Canadian citizen. You have to be a Canadian citizen, and if you are a Canadian who moved to another country and relinquished citizenship, you cannot register the drone. You also have to be a government identity or a business bound by federal laws. Now, does this mean you can’t take a drone to Canada at all? Let’s talk about that further.

Are You Allowed To Take A Drone To Canada?

Here is the thing. You may want to take a drone to Canada to give it as a gift to a Canadian friend or family member. You can do that as long as you are not the one who flies the drone in Canada and your friend registers that drone before flying it. However, when you plan to bring the drone into Canada, you need to ensure you do it correctly, so you do not end up facing any trouble at customs.

The first thing to remember is to not gift wrap your drone as a TSA agent will need to see the drone, and that will also be the case if you pack it in luggage. Of course, you can always take your wrapping paper with you and gift wrap it after. You will also need to bring your proof of purchase of the drone if you have had it longer than six months. If you have had the drone for a shorter time than six months, you will have to accept that they will tax you.

You will also want to ensure you stick to the battery limit rule for the drone, so you need to check to see how many batteries you can take with you. And be sure to have a copy of the TSA drone policies with you so you don’t have any issues taking the drone past the border. If you are unsure of what rules you need to go by, then contact the airline, so you do not face any unpleasant surprises when you take the drone. The last thing you want to do is face the consequences of breaking Canadian drone laws.

What Are The Consequences Of Breaking Canadian Drone Laws?

The first and foremost thing to know is that you will face some unpleasant and hefty consequences if you break any Canadian drone laws. For example, you may not even be allowed to enter Canada in the future. In addition, you need to label your drone with your name, address, and telephone number, or it will cost you a $1,000 fine. However, that is the least of it, and if you don’t register a drone and you fly it, at the very least, it will be $1,000, or it can even cost you some jail time. You will also receive the same fine if you fly the drone in areas where you cannot do so, and if you put others at risk, the penalty could be up to $3,000. If you fly the drone in a national park, you will end up likely having to pay a $25,000 fine. Those are in Canadian dollars, but they are still not too far off from American dollars, so that it will cost you a lot of money.

However, if you fly your drone without a license, near other people and aircraft, and flying a drone that you did not register, that will likely land you in jail. And you do not go to Canada to go to jail!!


If you are an American who wants to fly your drone in Canada since there is some spectacular scenery there, you will need to know about Canadian laws. Suppose you are not a Canadian citizen or relinquish your Canadian citizenship. In that case, you are not allowed to register your drone‘ there, and you have to be a Canadian citizen to have permission to fly them. Therefore, it is not legal for any foreigner to fly drones in Canada. However, if you have a drone you want to send as a gift to a Canadian friend or family member, you can do that as long as you follow the rules on bringing drones to the airport. But if you illegally fly a drone in Canada, you will end up with some hefty fines and even jail time!