Dual citizens will soon have to show their Canadian passport when entering the country

Canadians that try to re-enter Canada on, or after, September 30 with a foreign passport, may not be readmitted.
Canadians that try to re-enter Canada on, or after, September 30 with a foreign passport, may not be readmitted. (Photo: REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

The Government of Canada has announced a new requirement for some Canadian citizens who wish to enter Canada.

Starting on September 30, the government will require Canadian citizens who hold dual citizenship to present a valid Canadian passport when arriving by airplane.

Canadians that try to re-enter Canada on, or after, September 30 with a foreign passport, may not be readmitted. Before the new requirements came into effect, citizens were able to re-enter using their foreign passport, and showing a driver’s license or citizenship card.

The only travel documents that will be acceptable to the government when trying to re-enter Canada on, or after, that date include:

  • A valid, unexpired Canadian passport;
  • A Canadian temporary passport; or
  • A Canadian emergency travel document.

This new requirement is being put in place as part of a switch to an electronic screening process, which the government claims allows them to better monitor and secure Canada’s borders.

However, some dual citizens are less than enthusiastic about the policy and question its purpose.

“From my vast bureaucratic experience in the public service, it has all of the hallmarks of being a simple revenue grab masked as ‘border security,’ with no discernible impact on safe and stronger borders.” Sandi Logan, a Canadian expatriate who used to work for the Australian immigration department told The Toronto Star.

Regardless of what people think about the new policy, it will become a reality soon.

What do I do if I don’t have a Canadian passport right now? If you are traveling outside of Canada and you know you have to re-enter Canada on, or after, September 30 you will have to apply for a Canadian passport.

If you are traveling soon, there is a way to get your passport quickly but the government charges extra fees for expediting passports.

Can’t I just apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization instead of getting a Canadian passport? No, because as of September 30 all citizens will be required to carry their Canadian passports. Also, a Canadian citizen can’t apply for an eTA, because they are specifically designed to vet foreign nationals for entry into Canada.

Find a Lawyer