Canada


New rules mean Canadian dual citizens must have Canadian passport too

by Ray Clancy on August 19, 2016

Canadian expats who have dual citizenship are being reminded that from September they will only be able to fly into the country if they have a Canadian passport.

Currently those with dual citizenship can use the passport of the other country where they have citizenship but Canada’s new electronic screening system that is currently being rolled out will no longer recognise them.

081916-air-canada-311517There are concerns that expats may not know about the change. Currently, a drivers licence or Canadian citizenship card can be used to satisfy airlines’ demand for proof of citizenship

But from 30 September only a valid Canadian passport will be able to be used with the new electronic screening being used at airports.

‘The Government of Canada is implementing a new electronic system to assist airlines in verifying that all travellers have the appropriate documents to travel to or transit through Canada by air,’ said a spokesman for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

‘Air carriers are obligated by law to confirm that all persons seeking to travel to Canada carry both proof of citizenship and proof of identity. A valid Canadian passport satisfies these requirements for Canadian citizens, and is the only acceptable travel document for the purpose of air travel,’ the spokesman added.

Official figures show that some 2.9% of Canadians, 944,700 people, have multiple citizenships, mostly from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Poland.

It is causing some confusion because the electronic travel authorisation system, known as eTA, introduced last year which requires air passengers arriving in Canada who do not require a visa to come to Canada to submit their details online for pre-arrival screening will not work for Canadian citizens as they will be expected to have their passport.

For families it could be particularly confusing, such as for a Canadian citizen living abroad whose wife and children have dual citizenship.

There is also a cost involved as those needing to get a Canadian passport will end up paying over $120 dollars to do so. But CIC Canada is advising all dual citizens to do so.

‘If you are a Canadian citizen who currently uses your non-Canadian passport to fly to Canada, 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,’ the spokesman explained.

‘Every Canadian citizen has the right to enter Canada and is not subject to immigration screening. Travelling with a valid Canadian passport proves that you are a citizen. If you don’t have a valid travel document that proves your Canadian citizenship at check-in, you may not be able to board your flight. People need to be prepared and should renew or apply for a Canadian passport as soon as possible,’ the spokesman added.

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