Canadian Dual CitizenshipThe Canadian Government has introduced new security measures for those who want to travel to Canada. If you are from a visa-exempt country you need to go through an online screening before boarding an airplane destined for Canada. The process results in issuing an electronic document called eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization). An eTA is necessary for most visa-exempt travelers. There are some exceptions such as the US citizens and the British Royal Family.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents do not need an eTA to enter Canada. They, however, need to present documents that support their status. Permanent residents need to show their PR card at the time of entry. Canadian citizens may use their Canadian passport to verify their citizenship.

Dual citizens, of Canada and visa-exempt countries, could travel to Canada with either of their passports in the past. For example, a British citizen could travel to Canada either by their British passport or their Canadian passport. Both documents were appropriate for entering Canada or transiting via Canada to another country. The introduction of eTA has changed the situation. On the one hand, as a Canadian citizen, a dual citizen cannot apply for an eTA. On the other hand, they cannot enter Canada with their other passport, because they do not have an eTA. The only option that remains for dual citizens is to enter Canada as a Canadian.

To prove you are a Canadian citizen you may carry and present a Canadian passport. Alternative options are a Canadian emergency travel document or a Canadian temporary passport. If you are a dual citizen of Canada and you do not hold any of these documents, the airline will refuse to board you to the plane on or after September 30, 2016.

If somehow a dual citizen of Canada manages to board a plane and enter Canada without their Canadian passport then they have to prove their Canadian citizenship. If they don’t, the BSO (Border Services Officer) may refuse their entry. In my opinion, do not risk it and apply for your Canadian passport as soon as you can.

We will publish some articles about eTA soon so sign up to our newsletter or contact us for more information. You may also book an appointment for official immigration advice.

Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant

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“This article provides information of a general nature only. It may no longer be current. It does not provide legal advice nor should it be relied upon. If you have specific legal questions you should consult a lawyer. If you are looking for official immigration advice contact us.”