The Canadian government is strengthening border security and exit controls with a series of regulations that impact visitors to Canada. It started with the Electronic Travel Authorization for visa-exempt visitors (eTA), which came into effect on March 15, 2016. Starting November 10, 2016, Canadians with dual citizenship are now required to carry their Canadian passports to fly to Canada. Here are some key answers and details for dual citizens looking for more information about the new regulations:

Can I use my foreign passport or apply for eTA as a dual citizen? 

As a Canadian expat, if you’ve been flying home to Canada using your passport from a visa-exempt country, you can still do so until Nov. 9th, 2016. After this leniency period, you’ll no longer be able to use your foreign passport or apply for an eTA to enter Canada. Instead, you’ll need a travel document to prove your citizenship.

What do I need to prove my Canadian citizenship?

Until now, Canadian dual citizens could prove their Canadian citizenship with their driver’s licence or citizenship card. However, with the new regulations starting Nov. 10th, 2016, only the following documents will grant entry into Canada by air:

  • A valid Canadian passport
  • A temporary Canadian passport or
  • An emergency travel document
dual citizens passport travel to canada
Dual Canadian citizens will need a valid Canadian passport or travel document when flying into Canada starting Nov. 10th, 2016.

Temporary passports and emergency travel documents are only issued on a case-by-case basis, so dual Canadian citizens should make sure that they renew their Canadian passports in case they are invalid or expired.

Does this rule apply to all points of entry?

Currently, the eTA regulation for foreign nationals and the passport requirement for dual citizens only apply when you fly to Canada–not when you enter the country via land or sea.

Air travellers should present a valid Canadian passport at check-in to board their flight. If you don’t have the appropriate documents, contact the nearest Government of Canada office before flying.

What about dual citizens with both Canadian and US passports?

dual-canadian-american-citizens

For now, dual Canadian American citizens are exempt from this regulation and can still use their US passports to fly to Canada. For dual citizens crossing the border by land, they will not be impacted either, as the regulation only impacts air travellers.

How can dual citizens travel safely with two passports?

According to Statistics Canada, almost 3% or 944,700 individuals had multiple citizenships as of 2011. Many dual Canadian citizens are now concerned about the inconvenience and increased risk of carrying two passports in Canada. There are a few steps you can take to keep your passports safe and make your immigration more seamless:

  • Make sure that both passports align in terms of name, sex and date of birth to help you identify as the same person. Name changes and maiden or married names should be the same in both passports to reduce any confusion or hold ups during check-in or immigration.
  • Your Canadian passport lets you travel to 172 countries with no visa or visa upon arrival. In case you’re travelling to a different country using both your Canadian as well as foreign passport, make sure you use the same passport for entry and exit from that country.
  • Save copies of both your passports online and with friends or family at home as back up, and inform authorities immediately in case of a lost, stolen or damaged passport.
  • Always check your passport’s validity and the entry or exit rules for your destination before you leave. Follow our guide to see how to check if your Canadian passport is valid for travel.

Have more questions about the new regulation for dual citizens? Share them below in the comment section or tweet us @tugoinsurance.

Safe travels,

Shweta

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  • Allison Glen

    I’m a dual (UK/Canada) citizen whose Canadian passport expired years ago. I prefer to apply for this passport whilst visiting Canada. Is it still ok to fly to the USA then enter Canada via train travel using my UK passport? Can’t get a definite answer from Canadian government contacts (just standard replies).

    • http://www.tugo.com TuGo

      Hi Allison,

      Thank you for your question. While the new entry regulation for dual Canadian citizens highlights the requirement of a valid Canadian passport when travelling by air, the Canada Border Services Agency highly recommends that you also carry proper identification when you enter Canada via land or sea (http://ow.ly/8ycB307GPkS).

      To get a more definite answer, contact your nearest Canadian embassy or consulate in UK (http://ow.ly/cE34307GQ6G). You could also try posting your query on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Twitter account (http://ow.ly/8swQ307GPxO ). Hope this helps!

      Happy travels,

      Shweta

  • ambell

    Cheeky question here, but how can they prevent Canadians entering Canada with a British passport and ETA visa? How would they know you’re Canadian?

    • http://www.tugo.com TuGo

      Hi Ambell,

      Great question! While British passport holders need an eTA to enter Canada, you won’t be able to apply for one as a dual Canadian citizen (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta-start.asp). Starting November 10, 2016, the Government of Canada’s electronic system now verifies whether or not you have appropriate travel documents before you board your flight to Canada (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/dual-canadian-citizens.asp), which means that you’ll need to show a valid Canadian passport to allow airline officials to check you in.

      Hope this resolves your query!

      Happy travels,

      Shweta

  • Mimi Amleh

    Quick question I have to renew my canadian passport because there’s a mistake….can my piece of identity be my american passport?

  • Brodie Chase

    Maybe a dumb question…but is there a difference between Canadian-American citizenship (born in Canada) and American-Canadian citizenship (Born in the US)?

    • http://www.tugo.com TuGo

      Hi Brodie,

      That’s not a dumb question at all! Since both countries have separate laws regarding immigration, dual nationality and citizenship, the answer would depend on your specific situation, along with the information you’re looking for – whether it’s related to travel, taxation or other regulations. From a travel perspective, the biggest difference would probably be when you seek consular assistance. As highlighted on the Government of Canada’s website, citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country you’re in when seeking consular assistance.

      Although U.S. authorities don’t formally require dual nationals to carry both U.S. and Canadian passports, it’s always a good idea to carry both documents, as proof of citizenship may help facilitate entry into the U.S. and your return back to Canada. I hope this answers your question!

      Happy travels,

      Shweta

  • Aaron P

    My wife and I are Canadians. My daughter was born in Australia in 2013. She doesn’t formally have a Canadian citizenship yet. We are in the process of getting evidence of Canadian citizenship which will take a year to process. Therefore she is not eligible for the special permit which can be applied online for urgent travel. So we have applied for a Limited Validity Passport from Canada. I fear the limited validity passport will not arrive on time for our travels. The Sydney Consular Office is terribly slow. My Daughter has a full Australian passport. My Question is can I come to US and then travel to Canada by land to overcome this stupid deadlock we are facing? This policy only applies to Air travel.

    • http://www.tugo.com TuGo

      Hi Aaron,

      Since your daughter has an Australian passport, you may be able to apply for an eTA online before you travel to Canada (http://ow.ly/LT0030cgWKs). Even if you arrive in Canada by land from the U.S., you’ll need valid travel documents to enter the country. Find out exactly what you’ll need here (http://ow.ly/jLwy30cgWys).

      Before you travel, please verify all your information with your local IRCC visa office or consulate (http://ow.ly/cG3L30cgXdp). Hope this helps!

      Happy travels,

      Shweta

      • Aaron P

        Thanks!

  • Carl Lam

    My personal view is this is a money grab, I am an expat living in the UK and travels on my British passport, It will be a great hassle to get a new Canadian passport as I will need to have my application sent to London by a 3rd party in N. Ireland. Is it possible to travel on my British passport back to Canada and not claim my dual citizenship on the ETA? I don’t care about joining the Canadian only queue which is normally shorter/guicker, i just want to go home for a family occasion with the least hassle. It strikes me as being discrimination to exempt expats in the US whilst the UK and the commonwealth aren’t.

    • http://www.tugo.com TuGo

      Hi Carl,

      As a dual citizen, you might not be able to apply for an eTA (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp). As mentioned on the Government of Canada’s website, their new system will verify that all passengers have an appropriate travel document before they can board a flight to Canada. (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/dual-canadian-citizens.asp).

      If you’re planning to fly urgently, you can check if you’re eligible for special authorization before you board your flight . Hope this information helps you plan your next trip home.

      Happy travels,

      Shweta

      • Carl Lam

        Got my passport in about 4 weeks just in time to fly home. was quoted between 8-12 weeks backlog too. Was going to fudge my ETA if necessary but now I’m sorted.

      • http://www.tugo.com TuGo

        Hi Carl,

        That’s great to hear! Thanks for sharing and enjoy your time in Canada 🙂

        Shweta

  • kim kimbell

    I’m a Canadian citizen born and raised, but I have spent the last 35+ years living abroad and I have not held a valid Canadian passport since the mid 80’s. I return to Canada every two years to take my mentally ill sister on a holiday. Yesterday I was denied boarding in the UK on Air Transat to Toronto because I did not have a Canadian passport. I travel with my husband and children on a UK passport as a family. I do not choose to travel on a different country passport than the rest of my family. I don’t want to be treated differently from them. I’m not interested in persuing my rights as a Canadian. Can you imagine if the rest of the world introduced this ridiculous policy to each of their own coutries – it would create mayham.

    • Aaron P

      I agree. This is a stupid policy. It has created chaos in many Canadian consulates as they are unable to cope with the demand for new passport applications.

  • Shannon Palmer

    I’m sorry if this is a double up. I am Australian living in Australia and I have been planning on bringing my family for a holiday to Canada. I have been told that myself and my two children have dual citizenship – automatically given due to my mum being Canadian – and that we will not be able to leave Aust with the intention of entering Canada, if we don’t have Canadian passports. (I always though dual citizenship was something I had to apply for) While I am confused at how the authorities would know we are half Canadian as we are leaving the country, I am more interested in whether we need Canadian passports to leave Canada as well or just to enter it. As a solution, we plan to fly to Seattle and bus it to Vancouver, would we have to do this on return also? Very confusing… Its seems its easier to visit Canada if you have no Canadian blood, than it is if you do. Unfortunately.

    • http://www.tugo.com TuGo

      Hi Shannon,

      We understand how the new rules can seem confusing to travellers planning to visit Canada this year. According to Government of Canada, there a few ways you are deemed a Canadian citizen without applying to become one. Start by determining your eligibility as a Canadian citizen using this tool on IRCC’s website (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/citizenship/rules/index.asp).

      For specific questions and clarifications regarding your Canadian travel plans, it’s always a good idea to contact the Consulate General of Canada office in Sydney or the High Commission of Canada in Canberra (https://travel.gc.ca/assistance/embassies-consulates/australia).

      I hope this information helps,

      Happy travels,

      Shweta