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
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?
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.