On March 15, 2016, there will be a new entry requirement, known as an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. To ensure travelling to Canada remains easy and stress free, leniency will be shown to travellers who are caught unaware over the months following eTA implementation, including during Canada’s busy summer travel season.
Following this leniency period, all air travellers 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, be aware that 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 provides proof that you are a citizen and have a right to enter Canada without being subjected to immigration screening.
At the end of the transition period, in fall 2016, you will need to show proof that you are a Canadian citizen before you board your flight to Canada.
Travel documents you will need
You will need to show proof you are a Canadian citizen to travel to Canada by air. Appropriate documents 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. To verify your eligibility,contact the nearest Government of Canada office abroad.
Be prepared. Renew or apply for a Canadian passport as soon as you can before the transition period ends in fall 2016.
If you present other documents at check-in, such as an expired Canadian passport or a non-Canadian passport along with your Canadian birth certificate or other identification, you may not be able to board your flight.
A valid Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted travel and identification document that provides proof that a person is a citizen and has 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.
Make sure to apply for a Canadian passport or renew your existing Canadian passport before the transition period ends in fall 2016. Please note the passport processing times 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.
How to apply for a Canadian passport
If you have proof of Canadian citizenship
- you have never had a Canadian passport, or
- 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 are a Canadian born outside Canada who does not have proof of Canadian citizenship
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.