Electronic Travel Authorization: Short-term measure for dual Canadian citizens introduced

Posted by Immigration Law Team|Canada Immigration
Nov 16

In brief

As of November 10, 2016, dual Canadian citizens will need a Canadian passport to board their flight to Canada, with the exception of American-Canadian dual citizens. However, under a newly-introduced short-term measure, available until January 31, 2017, qualifying dual Canadian citizens may apply for a special authorization to travel with their valid non-Canadian passports.


As discussed in our previous client alert, the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) requirement leniency period comes to an end on November 10, 2016.  This means all visa-exempt travellers, except U.S. citizens, will need to obtain an eTA in order to fly to or transit through Canada. Dual Canadian citizens cannot obtain an eTA, and instead must obtain a Canadian passport. That being said, American-Canadian dual citizens need not obtain a Canadian passport to fly to Canada and can enter Canada with their U.S. passport, as long as they meet certain basic requirements to enter Canada.


The newly introduced short-term measure, available until January 31, 2017, affects all other dual Canadian citizens.  It will allow eligible dual Canadian citizens to apply for special authorization to travel to or transit through Canada by air using their valid non-Canadian passports. This special authorization is available to dual Canadian citizens whose:

– Second citizenship is from a visa-exempt country

– Travel date to Canada is imminent (leaving in less than 10 days), and

– Canadian citizenship can be verified by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

An individual can apply for a special authorization online via IRCC’s website. Each applicant’s information will be verified in IRCC’s electronic system to confirm Canadian citizenship. Each individual applying for a special authorization must ensure that all information is entered correctly when applying for this authorization, as mistakes in information can lead to a delay or refusal of this authorization. Without this special authorization, the individual will not be able to board their flight to Canada.

In addition, it should be noted that a special authorization is valid only for one person. If a family is travelling together, each family member will need to apply separately for their special authorization.

Once his/her application is approved, the special authorization will be valid for 4 days from the date of travel indicated in the application.

Given that applying for a Canadian passport can take time, particularly if the applicant is required to obtain proof of Canadian citizenship prior to applying for their Canadian passport, this short-term measure will help reduce travel disruptions for certain dual Canadian citizens travelling to Canada by air.


In advance of flying to or transiting through Canada, travellers need to be fully aware of the eTA requirements that apply to their unique situation to ensure that they do not experience issues with reaching their destination.

For further information on eTA requirements or on obtaining this special authorization, please contact a member of our team.



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