Canadian Dual Citizens Must Now Carry Canadian Passports

As of late September, all Canadians who have dual citizenship in another country will need Canadian passports to enter Canada by air, even if they live permanently in the other country and have a passport from it.

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), air carriers are obligated by law to confirm that all persons seeking to travel or transit through Canada carry both proof of citizenship and identity.  Passengers will be required to show these documents before boarding.

The exceptions to that requirement are dual American-Canadian citizens, and travelers entering Canada by land or sea. However dual American-Canadian citizens will still need to carry proper identification and meet the basic requirements to enter Canada.

According to IRCC, valid Canadian passports (including temporary passports or emergency travel documents) are the only acceptable travel documents for the purpose of international air travel by Canadians.

For dual Canadian citizens living abroad, the costs of buying additional passports (in addition to the ones they have from their adopted country) will be: $190 CAD for a passport valid five years, and $260 CAD for a 10-year passport.  If purchased in Canada, the passports are $120  and  $160 for five and 10- year books respectively.

These additional costs raise some interesting options for travelers from abroad. For example, instead of flying from London to Toronto, how about London to Detroit or Buffalo—US airports that routinely rent cars for travel into Ontario?  Travelers crossing into Canada by land are exempt from the new regulations, and if two people are traveling that could tally up to a $380 saving.

The dual citizen passport requirement comes on the heels of the Canadian government’s recent insistence that all air travelers to Canada from visa waiver countries* must apply for Electronic Travel Authorizations (eTAs) to enter Canada for short or long terms. The eTA requirement has been on the books for some time on a “leniency” enforced basis, but it too becomes mandatory late September. Again, Americans and dual Canadian-Americans are exempt from the eTA requirement.

However, unlike Canadian passports, eTAs are only $7 CAD and available online, usually within minutes of application.

Canada allows Canadians to have citizenships from other countries, but the government cautions that dual citizens traveling to their “other” country might become subject to certain laws and actions such as induction into military service, or involvement in tax issues. If that were to occur the Canadian government might be unable to offer assistance.

In effect, once they are in their “other” country, they are subject to that country’s laws.


* Canada has agreements with more than 50 countries allowing its citizens to enter Canada without visas. Generally, these are nations whose citizens do not ordinarily require visas to enter Canada, e.g. Britain, France, Germany, Australia, most of the countries of eastern and central Europe and the Caribbean. US citizens and residents of St. Pierre et Miquelon, are exempted from the eTA rule. Also exempted from this rule are citizens of countries that normally require visas: and that encompasses the rest of the world.  Click here for a list of all the countries whose citizens will require eTAs for travel to Canada, and those who will continue to require visas..


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