Dual Canadian citizens need a valid Canadian passport

If you are a dual Canadian citizen used to travelling to or transiting through Canada by air with a non-Canadian passport, you will no longer be able to do so as of November 10, 2016. You will need a valid Canadian passport to board your flight.

If your country needs you to enter and exit that country using a passport issued by its government, you will still need a valid Canadian passport to board your flight to Canada. Make sure to carry both passports when you travel. Find out more about why you must travel with a valid Canadian passport when travelling by air.

Exception: If you are an American-Canadian dual citizen with a valid U.S. passport, you don’t need a Canadian passport to fly to Canada. However, you will still need to carry proper identification and meet the basic requirements to enter Canada.

Flying in a few days or at the airport without a Canadian passport?

You may have the option to board your flight if you qualify for a special authorization. Otherwise, you will have to reschedule your flight and get a valid Canadian passport.

Find out if you are eligible for a special authorization.

Apply for a Canadian passport

Not sure if you are a Canadian citizen?

If you were born outside Canada to a parent who is Canadian or are just not sure about your status, see Am I Canadian? to find out

Find out if you are eligible for a special authorization to board your flight to Canada

You can apply for a special authorization if you:

  • have a flight to Canada that leaves in less than 10 days, and
  • have a valid passport from a visa-exempt country.

And one of the following:

  • have previously received a certificate of Canadian citizenship, or
  • held a Canadian passport in the past, or
  • were granted Canadian citizenship after having been a permanent resident of Canada.

Your information will be verified in our electronic systems to confirm that you are a Canadian citizen. This authorization will be valid for only 4 days from the date of travel you select on the form. If you don’t use it within this time, you will need to apply for a new authorization.

If you are not eligible for the special authorization

There are no quick fixes to help you get on your flight.

Contact the nearest Government of Canada office abroad to find out what your options are. Only under strict conditions and on a case-by-case basis will temporary passports or emergency travel documents be issued.

Need help? Find answers to your questions about the Canadian passport.

How to apply for a Canadian passport

To apply for a Canadian passport, you will need proof of Canadian citizenship.

If you have proof of Canadian citizenship

Follow these instructions to apply for a passport if you have an original proof of Canadian citizenship and:

  • you have never had a Canadian passport,
  • your passport has been expired for more than one (1) year,
  • you were issued a Canadian passport when you were under 16 years old, or
  • you are applying from outside Canada and the United States.

Note: You must submit an original proof of citizenship with your passport application. See this list of acceptable proofs of Canadian citizenship documents.

If you do not have proof of Canadian citizenship

Follow these instructions to apply for a citizenship certificate.

Find out how long it takes to get proof of citizenship. Requests for citizenship certificates can be processed urgently in special cases, if you meet certain conditions. See Apply for proof of citizenship urgently for details.

Once you get your proof of citizenship, follow these instructions to apply for a Canadian passport. If you are outside Canada, you may contact the nearest Government of Canada office abroad.

How to renew your Canadian passport

To renew your Canadian passport, your current passport must:

  • be valid or expired for no more than one year maximum,
  • have the same name, sex, date of birth and place of birth that you would like to appear on your new passport,
  • have been issued with a 5-year or 10-year validity,
  • not be damaged,
  • not have been reported lost or stolen, and
  • have been issued when you were at least 16 years of age.

Follow these instructions to renew your passport or, if you are outside Canada, contact the nearest Government of Canada office abroad.

How to apply for a child’s passport (for children under 16)

All Canadian children, from newborns to age 16, need their own passport to travel. Apply for a passport for a child under 16, including an adopted or foster child.

Why you must travel with a valid Canadian passport

Starting November 10, 2016, a new Government of Canada electronic system will verify that all passengers have an appropriate travel document before they can board a flight to Canada. This process will happen automatically when your travel document is scanned during check-in for your flight. 

This change is part of a broader Government of Canada initiative aimed at ensuring that all Canada-bound passengers have appropriate travel documents to enter the country before they board their flight.

For Canadian citizens, including dual Canadian citizens, you must present an acceptable travel document that shows that you are a Canadian. This means you need a valid Canadian passport (or a Canadian temporary passport, or a Canadian emergency travel document) to allow airline check-in staff and border officials to confirm that you are Canadian.

A valid Canadian passport is the only reliable and universally accepted travel document that provides proof that you are a citizen and have the right to enter Canada without being subjected to immigration screening. Make sure that the expiry date of the passport is well beyond your planned return date.

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