Operational Bulletins 142 – July 30, 2009

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Transit Without Visa Program

Program overview

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), in cooperation with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), has announced the formalization of the Transit Without Visa (TWOV) pilot at Vancouver International Airport into a national program. The TWOV Program, like the pilot, will allow certain foreign nationals with valid United States visas, travelling to and from the United States, to transit Canada without a Canadian visa.

The objective of the TWOV Program is to facilitate the movement of bona fide travellers transiting Canada while maintaining the security of Canadians and the integrity of Canada’s immigration and refugee protection programs. The program will also improve the international competitiveness of Canadian airports by making them more attractive to airlines and travellers originating from or destined to the United States.

Eligible foreign nationals

The TWOV Program applies only to nationals of the following four countries:

  • Indonesia
  • The Philippines
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • China* (on a trial basis as described below)

In order to be eligible to travel under the TWOV Program, nationals of these countries must:

  • be in possession of a valid United States visa;
  • be in possession of a valid passport issued by the authorities of a participating country;
  • hold a confirmed onward ticket for a connecting flight that departs Canada immediately (foreign nationals transiting Canada under the TWOV Program may not seek entry to Canada as a temporary resident);
  • be arriving in Canada on an airline that has an up-to-date TWOV Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CIC and the CBSA; and
  • be transiting through an approved Canadian airport.

Eligible airlines

The following airlines have an up-to-date TWOV MOU with CIC and the CBSA, and are therefore eligible to carry TWOV passengers:

  • Cathay Pacific Airways
  • China Airlines
  • Philippine Airlines

Eligible airports

Currently, only the Vancouver International Airport has United States intransit preclearance facilities and an up-to-date TWOV MOU with CIC and the CBSA. As such, it is presently the only Canadian airport that is eligible to receive TWOV flights.

TWOV Program expansion

Additional foreign nationals, airlines and airports may be approved by CIC and the CBSA to participate in the Program in the future. Missions will be notified when changes are made to the list of approved program participants.

China transit trial

CIC, in cooperation with the CBSA, is also introducing a limited one-year China Transit Trial at the Vancouver International Airport as of July 30, 2009. Similar to the TWOV Program, the China Transit Trial will allow Chinese nationals with valid United States visas travelling to and from the United States, to transit the Vancouver International Airport without a Canadian visa.

This one year trial is limited to the airlines currently participating in the TWOV Program and the Vancouver International Airport. In addition, Chinese nationals participating in the TWOV Program must have as their last embarkation point one of the following six cities:

  • Beijing;
  • Hong Kong;
  • Shanghai;
  • Guangzhou;
  • Manila; or
  • Taipei.

Additional information

For more information on the TWOV Program, please visit www.cic.gc.ca.

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