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This question already has an answer here:

I think the controller sometimes gives altitudes for VFR traffic to fly, but do pilots actually need permission to change their altitude?

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marked as duplicate by Pondlife, Community Jul 3 '18 at 13:54

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • $\begingroup$ Which country or regulations are you asking about? $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Jul 3 '18 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ The US, thanks. $\endgroup$ – slantalpha Jul 3 '18 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ In Bravo, where you are cleared in, and the area is large, I would say yes. In Charlie or Delta, it would depend on how much other traffic was around. $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads Jul 3 '18 at 13:55
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    $\begingroup$ The question should NOT be marked as a duplicate: you should have a clearance in a controlled airspace (except E for VFR) regardless of whether you requested flight following or not. But the answer is really pretty much the same as during the flight following: it depends on airspace class and ATC instructions, and you should always follow ATC instructions. $\endgroup$ – avtomaton Jul 4 '18 at 9:22