Temporary residents: China Transit Program

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.

In some cases, Chinese nationals flying between China and the United States (US) are able to transit through Canada without a Canadian visa. Chinese nationals do not need to apply under the China Transit Program (CTP) if they are in possession of both of the following:

  • a valid US visa
  • a valid passport issued by the authorities of the People’s Republic of China (not issued by Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or Macao Special Administrative Region)

They must also be transiting on either of the following:

  • an Air Canada flight through Montréal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
  • any approved carrier through
    • Calgary International Airport
    • Toronto Pearson International Airport (Terminal 1 only)
    • Vancouver International Airport
    • Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport

Note: If a passenger does not meet all the requirements, they are not eligible for the CTP and need to apply for a transit visa.

Passengers travelling to or from the US

In addition to the conditions above, when travellers are arriving from or travelling to the US, they must meet the following conditions to qualify as a CTP passenger:

  • arrive in Canada from the US on a direct, non-stop flight with an approved airline and proceed to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) area for clearance or remain in a sterile transit area while waiting for a connecting flight (passengers who leave the sterile transit area must go to the CBSA area for examination)
  • not be under a removal or deportation order
  • have had a valid US visa to enter the US and not have overstayed the period of time they were authorized to remain in the US
  • be destined for a third country, including their country of nationality, and have the required travel documents (such as a valid visa) to enter that third country as well as the required travel documents for any countries through which they may transit
  • hold a confirmed onward ticket for a flight that will leave Canada within 24 hours of arrival (no layover or overnight stay is permitted)

Currently, the following airlines are eligible to transport passengers under the CTP:

  • Air Canada
  • Air Canada Rouge
  • Air China
  • Air Georgian
  • Cathay Pacific
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Hainan Airlines
  • Jazz Aviation LP
  • Philippine Airlines
  • Sky Regional Airlines Inc.
  • WestJet
  • Xiamen Airlines

In addition, Chinese nationals participating in the CTP must have one of the following 15 cities as their last embarkation point:

  • Beijing
  • Chengdu
  • Fuzhou
  • Guangzhou
  • Harbin
  • Hong Kong
  • Manila
  • Nagoya
  • Osaka
  • Seoul (South Korea)
  • Shanghai
  • Shenyang
  • Taipei
  • Tokyo
  • Xiamen

Disruptions to travel through Canada

Passengers in some situations are no longer exempt under the CTP from the visa requirement. They now need to see a border services officer for examination before they can continue travelling. This applies to passengers who

  • miss a connecting flight at a Canadian airport
  • are being refused entry to the US
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