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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Gray CPA

New ID requirements flying into Canada

Starting September 30, 2016, all air travelers, including Canadian citizens, will need to have appropriate documents to travel to Canada before they can board their flight.

If you are a Canadian citizen and a citizen of a visa-exempt country (dual Canadian citizen) who currently uses your non-Canadian passport to fly to Canada, you cannot apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Starting September 30, 2016, you will need to show proof you are a Canadian citizen to travel to Canada by air.

Travel documents that prove citizenship are:

  • a valid Canadian passport;

  • a Canadian temporary passport; or

  • a Canadian emergency travel document.

A valid Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted travel document that provides proof that you are a citizen and have the right to enter Canada without being subjected to immigration screening. Make sure that the expiry date of the passport is well beyond your planned return date.

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.

If this happens to you:

  • There are no quick fixes to help you get on your flight. The Government of Canada's official website to apply for an eTA. It only costs $7 CAD. Most eTA applications are approved within minutes of applying.

New entry requirement now in effect: visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travelers with a valid Canadian visa.

Note: The leniency period that allows travelers to board their flight without an eTA ends soon.

Be prepared: Apply for an eTA before you book your flight to Canada. Most applicants get approved within minutes. However, some applications can take several days to process so don’t wait until the last minute.

  • Canadian permanent residents do not need an eTA to fly to Canada, but they do need to travel with their Canadian permanent resident (PR) card or PR travel document. Otherwise, they may not be able to board their flight to Canada.

  • U.S. permanent residents need an eTA to fly to Canada (as well as their U.S. Green Card). They do not need an eTA if entering Canada by land or sea.

  • Students and temporary workers from eTA-required countries who received their student or work permit before August 1, 2015, and intend to travel from and return to Canada by air need an eTA.

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