Canada’s new entry requirement
A new entry requirement, known as an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), is now in effect for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to or transiting through Canada by air. To make sure travelling to Canada stays easy and stress free, leniency will be shown to travellers who are caught unaware until September 29, 2016.
However, starting September 30, 2016, all air travellers, including Canadian citizens, will need to have appropriate documents to travel to Canada before they can board their flight.
What this change means for dual Canadian citizens
If you are a Canadian citizen and a citizen of a visa-exempt country (dual Canadian citizen) who currently uses your non-Canadian passport to fly to Canada, you cannot apply for an eTA. This is because eTA was set up to screen foreigners for admissibility to enter Canada on a temporary basis.
Every Canadian citizen has the right to enter Canada and is not subject to immigration screening. Travelling with a valid Canadian passport proves that you are a citizen.
Travel documents you will need
Starting September 30, 2016, you will need to show proof you are a Canadian citizen to travel to Canada by air.
Travel documents that prove citizenship are:
- a valid Canadian passport;
- a Canadian temporary passport; or
- a Canadian emergency travel document.
Note: Temporary passports and emergency travel documents are only issued under strict conditions and on a case-by-case basis.
A valid Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted travel document that provides proof that you are a citizen and have the right to enter Canada without being subjected to immigration screening. Make sure that the expiry date of the passport is well beyond your planned return date.
If you don’t have a valid travel document that proves your Canadian citizenship at check-in, you may not be able to board your flight.
If this happens to you:
- There are no quick fixes to help you get on your flight.
- You will need to contact the nearest Government of Canada office abroad to get the appropriate travel document.
Be prepared: Renew or apply for a Canadian passport as soon as you can before September 30, 2016. Find out how long it takes to get a passport and plan your travel accordingly. It also takes time if you need to get documents such as a proof of Canadian citizenship and or supporting identification documents.
Top three benefits of travelling with a valid Canadian passport
A Canadian passport:
- is accepted worldwide and makes flying to Canada hassle-free,
- provides you with access to consular assistance from Canadian government offices abroad with minimal delay, and
- offers protection from identity theft - prevents someone who may try to get a Canadian passport in your name.
Not sure if you are a Canadian citizen?
You may be a Canadian citizen without knowing it. See “Am I Canadian?” to find out.
How to apply for a Canadian passport
To apply for a Canadian passport, you will need proof of Canadian citizenship.
If you have proof of Canadian citizenship
Follow these instructions to apply for a passport if you have an original proof of Canadian citizenship and:
- you have never had a Canadian passport,
- your passport has been expired for more than one (1) year, or
- you are under the age of 16, you are applying from outside Canada and the United States.
Note: You must submit an original proof of citizenship with your passport application. See this list of acceptable proofs of Canadian citizenship documents.
If you do not have proof of Canadian citizenship
Follow these instructions to apply for a citizenship certificate.
Find out how long it takes to get proof of citizenship. Requests for citizenship certificates can be processed urgently in special cases, if you meet certain conditions. See Apply for proof of citizenship urgently for details.
Once you get your proof of citizenship, follow these instructions to apply for a Canadian passport. If you are outside Canada, you may contact the nearest Government of Canada office abroad.
How to renew your Canadian passport
To renew your Canadian passport, your current passport must:
- be valid or expired for no more than one year maximum,
- have the same name, sex, date of birth and place of birth that you would like to appear on your new passport,
- have been issued with a 5-year or 10-year validity,
- not be damaged,
- not have been reported lost or stolen, and
- have been issued when you were at least 16 years of age.
Follow these instructions to renew your passport or, if you are outside Canada, contact the nearest Government of Canada office abroad.
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