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Clarification of new dual citizen travel rules

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I was forwarded a news article about new travel requirements stating that Canadians with dual citizenship will be required to use a Canadian passport to enter Canada (https://ca.news.yahoo.com/dual-citizens-need-a-canadian-passport-to-enter-153209276.html). I've tried to research this further and still have some questions. (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/dual-canadian-citizens.asp?_ga=1.235690049.1778253806.1471877381)

First, everything mentions that this is specifically by air - does that mean Canadians can still enter Canada using a US passport if they drive?

Even by air, it says the reason is because Canadian citizens are not permitted to use the electronic screening system meant for foreign travelers. However, US citizens are exempted from using the electronic screening system, so it doesn't seem like it should affect dual US/Canadian citizens (as opposed to other countries where traveling on their foreign passport would require them to use the electronic screening system).

We opted to let my wife's Canadian passport expire and never got one for our kid (though we did get a certificate of citizenship) so we only had to deal with one set of passports. We'd really prefer to not have to deal with Canadian passports just because of the cost and hassle. My wife had her first name changed during the naturalization process and apparently we would also have to go through the whole process of changing her name on her birth certificate prior to even getting her a Canadian passport. We haven't bothered to do that because everywhere else accepts a copy of her birth certificate accompanied by a copy of her name change certificate. Getting two Canadian passports, a new birth certificate with name change, passport photos, etc. would be getting us close to $500 in fees.

We recognize that a Canadian passport gives the right to enter Canada in a way that an American passport does not, but we're not really worried about that (that'll obviously change if we ever choose to move to Canada, but visiting for a week here and there is never a problem). We just don't want to break any laws or misrepresent anything - we've always said my wife and kid are dual citizens when asked by Canadian immigration and then hand over their American passports. It's never been an issue.

I'm obviously looking for a way around this, but want to make sure I'm not deluding myself. If anyone has any experience or knows some resources with more detailed information, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!


AOS (from tourist w/overstay)

1/26/10 - NOA

5/04/10 - interview appt - approved

ROC

2/06/12 - NOA date

7/31/12 - card production ordered

N-400

2/08/13 - NOA date

3/05/13 - biometrics appt

6/18/13 - interview - passed!

7/18/13 - oath ceremony

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The link article says that it's by air only.


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1) Yes, this entire issue only applies by air.

2) OP- if you and your family are holders of American passports- then YOU ARE TOTALLY EXEMPT FROM THIS ENTIRE PROBLEM, even if you intend to enter Canada by air. You DO NOT need to bother getting Canadian passports. This is because American passport holders are exempt from the eTA requirement, which is what this issue is about. In fact, for most people reading this board, the issue is entirely irrelevant, because most have either Canadian or American passports at any one time. I am in the minority in that I have a passport from a third country, so I let my Canadian passport expire even though I am still an LPR and don't yet qualify for a US Passport. Because of this, I have researched this new policy rather extensively to figure out my options (since, like you, I'd rather not deal with the incredible hassle of getting a Canadian passport) and I can assure you that you can breathe easy, you can continue using your US Passport by air and by land without a problem!

Actually, I am quite shocked by the lack of information- and even misleading information- in that article from Yahoo. Besides failing to mention that American passport holders are exempt from this change- which should be of major interest to their audience, since by their own numbers a large percentage of dual Canadians are also Americans!- they totally fail to explain the nature of the policy change. It's not like the Canadian government decided to make a new law that Canadian citizens must now enter Canada with a Canadian passport. Since many countries DO have a law like that (e.g., the US), it would be very easy for someone to come to that conclusion, but that is false. What happened was that Canada has enacted a new requirement for those foreign visitors travelling into Canada with passports from countries whose citizen do not need a visa to visit Canada. Instead of simply showing up at the border with a passport from such a country, these visitors are now required to obtain what's called an electronic Travel Authorization. For most people entering with foreign passports, this new requirement is no big deal- it costs only $7 and takes but a few minutes. However, embedded into the new pre-screen is a law that says that Canadian citizens are NOT allowed to get an eTA- since this violates a Canadian's right to enter Canada without such pre-screening. So, those Canadians who have been entering just on foreign passports will no longer be able to do so. Americans are exempt from eTA altogether, so it's not an issue for dual Canadian/Americans. The point is, though, that the dual Canadian citizen simply caught up in the mess, I think completely unintentionally. This new policy was in no way meant to prevent dual Canadians from entering on their foreign passports, it was merely an unintended consequence.

It is important to point out, though, that the CBSA CANNOT, under any circumstances, deny a Canadian citizen entry into Canada. This is actually stated in the Constitution. So, if you travel with a foreign passport and a Canadian birth certificate, for example, you CANNOT be refused entry, even if you don't have an eTA. The problem is- and this is clear even when reading the CIC website- is that the airlines may not let you on the plane to begin with, since they may (erroneously) think that a birth certificate isn't valid proof of citizenship to enter Canada, and so all travelers need either a Canadian passport or an eTA. The Canadian government is aware of this problem, which is why they are saying- in the pages linked to in the OP- that Canadians should prepare themselves and get a passport, to avoid being caught unawares and denied boarding. While this is nice of them to look out for this group of people who got caught up accidentally in this mess, a far better way to handle it would have been to make the airlines aware that Canadian citizens are not allowed to get an eTA, and that they are good to go if they have other proof of Canadian citizenship on them, such as a birth certificate or certificate of citizenship. They didn't do this, and now there is a big mess.

My advice to anyone in this situation- if you don't want to go through the hassle, time, and expense of getting a Canadian passport- is to contact the airline you're flying, explain the situation, and see what their regulations are. They may very well be okay with it- though if not, best to leave yourself time to get a Canadian passport if you have to fly into Canada by air.

But again- most here will have a U.S. Passport so totally not an issue.

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Thank you so much - that was ridiculously helpful!


AOS (from tourist w/overstay)

1/26/10 - NOA

5/04/10 - interview appt - approved

ROC

2/06/12 - NOA date

7/31/12 - card production ordered

N-400

2/08/13 - NOA date

3/05/13 - biometrics appt

6/18/13 - interview - passed!

7/18/13 - oath ceremony

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Never heard of this, but good to know what it's all about. I'm letting my Canadian passport finally retire. There's no need for me to maintain two of them and pay the fees for a Canadian one. I've had two for over a decade and never needed to ever use the Canadian one, even to enter Canada. As as stated, it will show your country of birth so even the border guards in Canada will be able to see it's a US passport, but with a dual (or more) citizenship and know I'm an American-Canadian.

Though first reading the post I was like #######, thanks for the clarification on it...


I'm just a wanderer in the desert winds...

Timeline

1997

Oct - Job offer in US

Nov - Received my TN-1 to be authorized to work in the US

Nov - Moved to US

1998-2001

Recieved 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th TN

2002

May - Met future wife at arts fest

Nov - Recieved 6th TN

2003

Nov - Recieved 7th TN

Jul - Our Wedding

Aug - Filed for AOS

Sep - Recieved EAD

Sep - Recieved Advanced Parole

2004

Jan - Interview, accepted for Green Card

Feb - Green Card Arrived in mail

2005

Oct - I-751 sent off

2006

Jan - 10 year Green Card accepted

Mar - 10 year Green Card arrived

Oct - Filed N-400 for Naturalization

Nov - Biometrics done

Nov - Just recieved Naturalization Interview date for Jan.

2007

Jan - Naturalization Interview Completed

Feb - Oath Letter recieved

Feb - Oath Ceremony

Feb 21 - Finally a US CITIZEN (yay)

THE END

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Matthew jeffery is a toronto based immigration lawyer, I went through him when I immigrated. Very knowledgable and very professional, not to mention an awesome staff. I was immigrating from france with only a french passport. My husband and I went to see matthew after we found him online, he explained the whole process to us and after working with him we now have our citizenships. Would absolutely recommend.

immigration lawyer Toronto

Edited by tom121314

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Didn't find the answer you were looking for? Ask our VJ Immigration Lawyers.

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