A pilot who recently acquired a new Cessna 206 on floats asked me whether he could fly the aircraft into Canada while he was still operating using the “pink copy” of the aircraft registration application. The short, but incomplete, answer is “no”. In order to operate a U.S. registered aircraft internationally, the aircraft must have a valid Certificate of Registration on board during the flight(s). The “pink copy” is not valid for border crossing flights.
However, if a new aircraft owner wants to use his or her aircraft in international flight, when he or she submits the required registration documents (e.g. aircraft registration application, bill of sale or other evidence of ownership, etc.), a request for expedited processing of the registration may also be submitted to the FAA. The FAA will then issue (usually within 72 hours) a temporary authorization or “fly wire” that will allow the aircraft to be operated internationally before the new certificate of aircraft registration is received. For more information on the requirements for obtaining a “fly wire”, check out the FAA’s webpage on the subject here.