Transferring from British Military to Canadian Military


Book Reviewer
I have amended the title to reflect all three services.

Updated March 2017.

Before you think about making the jump to Canada you need to understand some basics. There is no transfer, you are either on exchange (remain UK Mil but "loaned" to the Canadians) or you leave the UK Mil then join the Can Mil. You can not join the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) if you are a member (including Reserves but not those after service things like Fleet Liability) of another states military.

Successful candidates tend to either be already a Canadian and join like all other Canadians but through an experienced stream or are tapped up by someone within the CAF because they have skills the Canadians need. This may be because you were on exchange with the CAF, you work with a Canadian or you have skills (like cyber or pilot) that are in short demand.

The skills thing catches people out, a Infantry CSgt with no specialist skills is unlikely to get in but a RAF Pilot will. A Cpl cyber specialist has a greater chance than a Group Captain Admin.

In reality you are going to be approached or approach someone senior within the CAF and they will help guide you in. You need to make an application to the Forces Recruiting Group at CFB Borden (attn Overseas Applicants) who will see if there is a need within the CAF for you. This is the tricky bit - if you apply blind then the chances are you will get a no thanks note. If someone wants you in then the service to take you will do a lot of the leg work. Once the receiving service agrees to take you on the books they can look at your quals etc. Once everyone agrees they can't fill the posts you will take and that you will not screw up the promotion plot etc they will get you to apply, again. In this case you still need to take the entry tests that a 18 year old takes - practice makes perfect. You do this on your own cost unless you are lucky and are in a very specific group, say fast jet pilot.

In order for you to joint he CAF without citizenship Chief of the Defence (CDS) needs to give a waiver. To do this there needs to be a LMIA done by the CAF and for the Immigration people to agree and allow application for PR to take place.

Once that hurdle is done you need to apply to the Express Entry scheme for Permanent Resident. This will need to be for you and your family. This is not an easy thing to do anymore but with the job offer and LMIA you should get in to the pool for application. Remember you will need to take English or/and French tests for all applicants as well as medicals and police checks. If you have convictions that could scupper the whole thing.

All the while you need to match up your UK leaving date so that you are out and eligible to join the CAF.

Once you get your PR then the CAF puts you through the application process. Streamlined and by this stage you should start planning your move. You go in to conversations with the CAF about ranks, pay, seniority and where you will start working.


It costs thousands to make the move to Canada. PR process costs even for the simplest of applications and add moving costs it can be a very expensive process. Once you arrive you will need housing (there is limited FQ/MQ in Canada for NCOs and above), cars, furniture etc. It all adds up.

Edited to reflect limited FQs
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To all those looking at the Canadian Armed Forces, good luck. It's a good service from my experience. Been retired since 82 so what do I know about now? Is nadda. The only negative thing I can see, is the present new govt. is pretty well following the old govt.'s way of trying to keep those veterans who require assistance at an arms distance and not living up to the promises made in years past. VAC (Veteran Affairs Canada) was good enough to own to my hearing problem, being induced from my time in the military, but it took the assistance of the Cdn. Legion to get it done. (Got relatives here in Canada? Get them to bug their M.P.)
Erm, there are MQs for NCOs and Officers. Lancaster Park at CFB Edmonton. There are PMQs in Comox/Courtenay, Gagetown and Petawawa.

There are lists but the housing exists.


Book Reviewer
If anyone is still considering joining the CAF the areas of shortage that seem to be getting people in are fast jet pilot, cyber, maritime comms, J2X, EW (mainly Air and Maritime) and engineers (qualified and experienced, preferably Degree or Chartered. Not looking for field engineering, more technical side with things like standards/procurement and requirements).

You need to have operational experience and the preference is for those that are in procurement, policy and requirements.

The big problem those in recruiting are finding is people failing the immigration requirements. Normally drink driving or family members and drugs.

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