Many travellers that have lived in Canada in the past experience problems when applying for an eTA Canada. This makes it so they can’t travel to Canada on short term.
Consequences of an old emigration flow
After the second World War, which ravaged large parts of Europe, Africa and Asia, a large number of people emigrated to prosperous countries that were left relatively untouched by the war. These countries include Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Immigrants that settled in Canada received the status of ‘permanent resident’ by the Canadian government. A hefty chunk of these emigrants moved back to their home countries later on. However, their status of permanent resident was never officially cancelled. This is now causing problems if these people want to travel to Canada.
eTA causing problems
Europeans that want to travel to Canada for a holiday, family visit or work are required to apply for an eTA. This is an electronic travel authorisation to travel to Canada. A requirement for applying for an eTA in the eTA form is that the applicant is not an inhabitant of Canada. Inhabitants of Canada can, after all, simply travel with their Canadian passport. The problem is that travellers that used to live in Canada in the past no longer possess a valid Canadian passport. Because they’ve already been living in their home country for many years, they don’t realize that the Canadian government still considers them an official resident of Canada. The consequence; because of their Canadian permanent resident status, these travellers cannot apply for an eTA, and because they don’t possess a Canadian passport they also can’t travel to Canada with that. Read more about the eTA requirements here.
Did you ever live in Canada in the past? Then you likely still have the status of ‘permanent resident'
Time consuming solutions
There are four possible solutions for this group of people in order to still travel to Canada. All of these solutions, however, are quite cumbersome and time-consuming.
The first solution is applying for a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD). All persons who have lived in Canada in the past five years for at least two years can make use of this possibility. The PRTD can be applied for at any Canadian Visa Application Centre.
The second solution is applying for a new Canadian passport. This can be arranged through the Canadian embassy. Aside from the added costs, this is also a very time-consuming solution.
The third possibility is dropping the ‘permanent resident’ status. To do this, you only need to fill in two forms, and it comes with no added costs. However, this possibility is also not a suitable solution for many travellers; the Canadian embassy manually processes these forms, which can sometimes take a very long time. This also causes many rights to expire that come with a permanent resident status, like the right to a pension.
As a final solution, you can choose to travel to the United States (you do need an ESTA for that), as close to the destination in Canada as possible. Next, cross the border by car, bus or train into Canada. Travellers with a British passport don’t need an eTA for that.
Travellers headed to Canada short term that expected to arrange their eTA quickly now face some very unfortunate consequences. Travelling to Canada on short notice becomes impossible.
Have you ever lived in Canada, and is there a chance you plan to travel to Canada in the future? Then it’s wise to cancel your permanent resident status now, or to choose one of the solutions mentioned above. By the time you want to travel to Canada, you can quickly and easily apply for an eTA Canada or travel with your Canadian passport, or Permanent Resident Travel Document.