Dual citizens are being warning of the dangers of travelling with a foreign passport as it may make travel back to Canada a problem.
The Ghali family returning from a summer holiday in Florida on Air Canada were not allowed to board their flight because their Egyptian passports and photo citizenship certificates were not accepted as valid documents to re-enter Canada. Canadian citizens Wael Ghali, his wife, Mira Wassef, and their teenage boys, Michael and Youssef, were stuck in the Tampa airport despite having called Canada Border Services Agency before leaving for Florida and being told it would be fine.
In normal circumstances, permanent residents who have yet to become Canadian citizens must travel with passports from their country of origin, as well as a PR (permanent resident) card issued by Ottawa, as proof that they can legally stay in Canada without a visa.
However, when someone becomes a Canadian citizen, the PR card is taken away — as was the case for the Ghali family — and travelling back to Canada could become an issue with a foreign passport unaccompanied by a visitor’s visa.
Air Canada’s website doesn’t mention dual citizens travelling on a non-Canadian passport, but a spokesperson said the PR card provides proof of immigration status, and without it, passengers will not be able to board.
According to the Canadian government’s website, international air travellers must carry a valid passport. Valid supplemental government-issued identification documents include provincial health card, permanent resident card, driver’s licence and citizenship certificate.
Eventually, the Ghali family spent an extra $1,200 on two indirect flights from Tampa to Atlanta, then Buffalo, where they rented a car to get back to Canada on July 11. Air Canada said it would get in touch with the family and refund their unused tickets.
Source: The Star