Last Updated on January 24, 2019
June , 2017 – Canadians consulates all over the world are being inundated with Canadian passport requests after travel rules for Canadian dual citizens were changed.
As part of the new Electronic Travel Authorization (Canada eTA) requirements, Canadian dual citizens must use a Canadian passport to fly into Canada. Previously, they could use the passport of their other country of citizenship.
It means the new eTA rules – introduced on November 10, 2016 after an extended leniency period – have forced thousands of dual citizens to apply for a Canadian passport.
Canadian missions in Australia, the UK, France and Germany say the increase in application numbers has caused processing times to double in some cases.
The dual citizenship issue was one of a number of problems with the eTA roll-out, for which the federal government face severe criticism.
The argument was that not enough was done to promote the new requirement, with travellers turning up at airports only to be told they could not fly.
A special measure introduced to assist dual citizens remains available as a result of the eTA problems. It was due to expire in January 2017.
The measure allows dual citizens to apply for special authorization to travel on their non-Canadian passport. The authorization lasts for four days and can only be applied for if you are flying in the next 10 days.
Canada eTA Special Authorization: Conditions
To apply for special authorization, you must:
- have a flight to Canada that leaves in less than 10 days,
- have a valid passport from a visa-exempt country,
- have previously received a certificate of Canadian citizenship, or
- held a Canadian passport in the past, or
- you were granted Canadian citizenship after having been a permanent resident of Canada.
You can apply for special authorization here.
Do I need an Electronic Travel Authorization?
You need an eTA if you are travelling to Canada by air from a visa-exempt country. A full list of visa-exempt countries is available here.
The following are exempt from requiring an eTA:
- Those who have already obtained a valid visa to enter Canada.
- Anyone entering by land or sea.
- Armed Forces visiting Canada on official duty.
- Students who have a valid Canadian study permit dated on or after August 1, 2015.
- Flight crew, civil aviation inspectors, accident investigators.
- Temporary Foreign Workers who have a valid Canadian work permit date on or after August 1, 2015.
- French citizens who live in and are travelling from St. Pierre and Miquelon.
- Persons entering from the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon, while holding valid status in Canada.
- Accredited diplomats.
- Canadian citizens and dual citizens (provided you are travelling on a Canadian passport)
- Canadian permanent residents (you need your PR card or point of entry documentation)
- US citizens (US permanent residents, or green card holders, DO require an eTA when travelling by air)
Special Case: Brazilian, Romanian and Bulgarian Nationals
As of May 1, 2017, Brazilians, Romanians and Bulgarians who have held a Canada visa in the last 10 years, or currently hold a US visa, do not require a visa to travel to Canada by air.
Citizens of all three countries do need an eTA to travel to Canada by air.
Citizens of all three countries still require a Canada visa to cross the border by car, bus, train or boat.
Special Case: Mexican Nationals
Mexicans were granted the right to travel to Canada without a visa as of December 1, 2016. They therefore require an eTA to travel by air.
Mexicans with a visa still valid from before December 1, 2016 do not require an eTA.
How do I get an Electronic Travel Authorization?
You can apply for an eTA through the Canadian federal government website.
Before you apply, you will need:
- Valid passport
- As a US permanent resident, you can apply with:
- Valid US refugee travel document (I-571)
- Valid permit to re-enter the US (I-327)
- Credit card to pay the $7 fee
- Valid email address
To apply for an eTA click here.
When should I apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization?
The Canadian government advises you to apply as soon as you know your travel itinerary.
However, an eTA can be obtained at the last minute via a smartphone. All you need is an internet connection. The email authorization often only takes a few minutes to come through.
There is no requirement to print an eTA. It is electronically linked to your passport or travel document.
How long is an Electronic Travel Authorization valid for?
An eTA can be valid for five years, or until your passport or travel document expires.
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