Canadian officials issue final reminder about flight boarding document change

by Ray Clancy on November 7, 2016

A final reminder has been issued by the Canadian Government that people travelling to the country must have the appropriate documents before getting on a flight as of 10 November.

That is when the new Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) will be rigorously enforced as part of a policy to make sure that those who are not allowed entry are prevented from travelling.

canadaPASSPORTUnder the system those people who do not normally need a visa, this varies according to agreements with different countries around the world, will need to have an eTA to board their flight to Canada.

American citizens are exempt and Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, will need a valid Canadian passport to fly to or transit through Canada.

The Government has undertaken a major publicity campaign about the changes, but there are concerns that dual citizens are not aware of the requirements and as a result officials have announced that there will be a short term policy for people whose second citizenship is from a visa exempt country to apply for a special authorisation that will let them board a flight using their valid non-Canadian passport.

This measure will only be available until 31 January 2017 and will be open to dual citizens who have an imminent flight to Canada leaving in less than 10 days and whose Canadian citizenship can be verified by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

‘If approved, the authorization will be valid for four days from the date of travel indicated in the application. Those not eligible for the authorization will need to contact the nearest Government of Canada office abroad to obtain the appropriate travel document.

Immigration Minister John McCallum said that the eTA improves the safety of Canadians by allowing travellers’ credentials to be checked before they board a flight, preventing those who are inadmissible from travelling to Canada in the first place.

‘We have been doing everything we can to inform affected travellers about these new requirements, and I am pleased that we can now offer a short term measure to help get some dual Canadian citizens who are not familiar with this new requirement onto their flight to Canada,’ he added.

The eTA entry requirement became mandatory for visa exempt foreign nationals, other than US citizens, travelling to Canada temporarily by air in March 2016. However, a leniency period was put in place from 15 March until 09 November so travellers unfamiliar with the eTA requirement could still board their flight to Canada.

Applying for an eTA is a simple online process that costs $7. The Government of Canada website, is the only valid site where travellers can apply for an eTA. More than 2.3 million eTAs have been issued since the application went live in August 2015.

Canadian permanent residents cannot apply for an eTA and must show their valid permanent resident card or obtain a permanent resident travel document from the nearest Government of Canada office abroad when returning to Canada by air.

Citizens of the United States are exempt from the eTA requirement but lawful permanent residents need an eTA and must present a valid US permanent resident card and a valid passport when they check in for a flight to Canada.

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