Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Americas > Canada
Reload this Page >

Dual citizenship. Boarding a plane to Canada without revealing canadian citizenship.

Dual citizenship. Boarding a plane to Canada without revealing canadian citizenship.

Old May 30, 22, 11:59 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 7
Dual citizenship. Boarding a plane to Canada without revealing canadian citizenship.

I am a dual CAN/EU citizen and my EU country does not allow acquiring a second citizenship.

Before eTA was implemented, I have been very cautious and only used my EU passport to board all planes.

Now that eTA is in place, I can't board a plane headed to Canada without showing my Canadian passport.

My question is:

If the ticket is booked on my EU passport, and I only show my Canadian passport to the airline at the check-in, will this information leak into the Schengen/EU databases or is it something that stays between the airline and the Canadian authorities? Or is it just evaluated at face value by the person doing the check-in? This must be a very common scenario for dual citizenship holders, can anyone share their observations?

And while we're at it: does anyone know of any precedents where such inadvertent disclosure at the check-in has led to a loss of the second citizenship?

Thank you!
guest666 is offline  
Old May 30, 22, 2:18 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: ZRH / YUL
Programs: UA, TK , Starwood > Marriott
Posts: 7,039
Canada has no problem with you holding multiple citizenships. You will not loose your Canadian citizenship if that information is revealed. For your other questions, it really depends what other country you are a citizen of, and then it would be a question probably better placed in the forum related to that country.

For what it's worth, in order to board a flight to Canada without an ETA, your Canadian passport information will need to be added to your PNR. If you depart from a Schengen country, the PNR data will be accessible to all countries participating in the Schengen agreement. What they do with that access - depends on the specific country concerned.
airoli is offline  
Old May 30, 22, 4:07 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 36
You mentioned that “my EU country does not allow acquiring a second citizenship” however having a second citizenship does not necessarily imply that you “acquired” it, e.g. you could have had the other citizenship since birth.
My point here is that the single-citizenship rules usually have exceptions and special cases, so just having another citizenship would not normally cause an automatic loss of the first citizenship.

I’m not sure if the local authorities would ever check this information for the purpose of finding dual citizens, even if they have access to such a database of passports used for travel.
Covidian98 is offline  
Old May 30, 22, 4:29 pm
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 7
Originally Posted by airoli View Post
For what it's worth, in order to board a flight to Canada without an ETA, your Canadian passport information will need to be added to your PNR.
Thanks. This is my assumption as well, and if this is true, then the answer is clear - always fly through a third country as there are too many unnknowns and the risk cannot be adequately assessed.
guest666 is offline  
Old May 30, 22, 4:55 pm
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 7
Originally Posted by Covidian98 View Post
You mentioned that “my EU country does not allow acquiring a second citizenship” however having a second citizenship does not necessarily imply that you “acquired” it, e.g. you could have had the other citizenship since birth.
My point here is that the single-citizenship rules usually have exceptions and special cases, so just having another citizenship would not normally cause an automatic loss of the first citizenship.

I’m not sure if the local authorities would ever check this information for the purpose of finding dual citizens, even if they have access to such a database of passports used for travel.
You are strictly correct in the observation that possession of citizenship is not equivalent to its acquisition, which, in turn, implies that the fact of acquisition would have to be established by the authority. THAT BEING SAID, the discovery of the fact itself may very well lead to scrutiny upon passport renewal, which effectively may mean a loss of citizenship. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no way to distinguish raging paranoia from a very reasonable fear as there is absolutely no information on what kind of screening is happening at the time of passport renewal.

Up until eTA, it was clear that not a single entity outside of Canada knows about my Canadian citizenship because the passport was simply not seen by anyone but Canadian border agents. The eTA has really changed it all. My only hope was if someone could confirm that the Canadian passport shown at the check-in is only submitted to Canadian authorities through an internal protocol and has no reflection in the databases of the country of departure. From what I have read on this forum and legal documents, this is likely not the case. And I'm not ready to bet something as valuable as citizenship on the chance that travel databases may not be interrogated for this purpose. Alas, I am probably looking at a life of 20-hour flights through Mexico, North Africa, and the Middle East. Not the way to live, but it's the lesser evil.
guest666 is offline  
Old May 30, 22, 5:56 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: YEG, SFO, JR JY-13
Programs: AC 75K and also 25K on account I don’t use
Posts: 491
Originally Posted by guest666 View Post
Alas, I am probably looking at a life of 20-hour flights through Mexico, North Africa, and the Middle East. Not the way to live, but it's the lesser evil.
Could you transit through a third country on a separate ticket? Your European passport on Ticket 1 to leave your country and to enter/exit the third country, your Canadian passport to re-enter Canada and avoid the eTA on Ticket 2


It doesn't even need to be two tickets per se, if the entire ticket can have an intermediate stopover priced in with little added cost, I think that would also suffice


EDIT: another suggestion, on the same ticket, exit your European country with your European passport, then at the layover point, re-check-in with your Canadian passport to comply with the federal requirement that this info should be shared electronically to Canada prior to boarding

Last edited by asovse1; May 30, 22 at 6:48 pm
asovse1 is offline  
Old May 30, 22, 6:06 pm
  #7  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 99,055
Can we assume that Canada requires that all citizens enter/exit on Canadian passports and won't issue eTAs for dual citizens' other passports?
MSPeconomist is offline  
Old May 30, 22, 6:14 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: miami, florida
Posts: 3,187
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Can we assume that Canada requires that all citizens enter/exit on Canadian passports and won't issue eTAs for dual citizens' other passports?
Wrong. I have entered Canada on US passport for 20+ years and I have a Cdn citizenship card with a baby picture that never expires. USA always requires entry on US passport so I always just use that.
sydneyracquelle is offline  
Old May 30, 22, 6:17 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: YEG, SFO, JR JY-13
Programs: AC 75K and also 25K on account I don’t use
Posts: 491
@sydneyracquelle U.S./Canada dual-citizens aren't bound by the following rules I replied to below. Canadians can enter Canada with U.S. passports, the only passport with this privilege

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Can we assume that Canada requires that all citizens enter/exit on Canadian passports and won't issue eTAs for dual citizens' other passports?
This doesn't answer your question at all, but there's not an exact FAQ for this scenario, this is the closest one I could find:
https://ircc.canada.ca/english/helpc...um=1167&top=16

I am a Canadian citizen and a citizen of another country. Can I fly to Canada with my non-Canadian passport?

No. Canadians citizens, including dual citizens, need to fly to Canada with a valid Canadian passport.

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.
Were it not for the above, I would have proposed that the OP flies to Canada on their European passport, and when asked for eTA at check-in, either show the approved application from the European passport, or shyly flash the Canadian passport but not allow it entered into the system.

However, I think the second quote block makes it clear that the Canadian passport needs to be in the system prior to departure, at which case I'm sure this information is shared with the European country upon exit
asovse1 is offline  
Old May 30, 22, 6:37 pm
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 7
Originally Posted by asovse1 View Post
or shyly flash the Canadian passport but not allow it entered into the system.
This would be possible if there was a guarantee that this very passport wouldn't be scanned and its NPR stored in all imaginable databases. It is possible to just show up at the check-in without eTA in advance (in some cases people get eTA minutes before boarding is closed), but what exactly happens with that Canadian passport at the check-in is not at all clear. Do they just look at it and say "oh ok, you're good to go" or do they enter the data into the eTA interface to which only CBPA has access... or rebook the whole ticket with that Canadian passport and thus feed it into the Schengen database. Unfortunately, no amount of googling gave any answers. It very well may be that the electronic clearance system that the airline personnel enters it into is an internal Canadian business that doesn't leak anywhere else (eTA would actually be exactly that - a strictly Canadian assessment done through the government website that is a black box for external agents). The people who know the internal mechanics of what happens at the check-in would be worth their weight in gold, but they're not around.
guest666 is offline  
Old May 30, 22, 6:53 pm
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 7
Originally Posted by asovse1 View Post
Could you transit through a third country on a separate ticket? Your European passport on Ticket 1 to leave your country and to enter/exit the third country, your Canadian passport to re-enter Canada and avoid the eTA on Ticket 2


It doesn't even need to be two tickets per se, if the entire ticket can have an intermediate stopover priced in with little added cost, I think that would also suffice
That's what I have been doing since eTA came into existence. It is a huge hassle. I understand I can't complain given the circumstance, but the flights through Turkey/ Egypt/Mexico end up being 20-hour nightmares that take another 2 days to recover. Flights through the US are a bit easier, but they are stressful in their own way because I have to get ESTA etc. Most of these are expensive two-stop flights, too. If there was some sort of closure in this question at least it would be easier to know that there's no other option and this isn't all my paranoia.
guest666 is offline  
Old May 30, 22, 8:20 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: ZRH / YUL
Programs: UA, TK , Starwood > Marriott
Posts: 7,039
I have a resonable understanding of PNR management given my professional background. In a simplified way, here's what's happening:

When an airline agent (human or digital) tries to check a passenger in for a flight to Canada (or the US or many other countries), it must submit the passport / citizenship information to the destination country's authorities. The data is added to the PNR and the PNR is submitted. The destination country's system then sends back an "ok to board" message.* Only once that message is received can a boarding pass be issued and a passenger board the aircraft. You can sometimes see a remark "DOCOK" or "ADOC" on your boarding pass. The passport data stays in the PNR and the PNR can also be accessed by the governments of the departing country (or Schengen zone), transiting countries, and probably many others more (including the US on almost all itineraries).

For flights to Canada, the Canadian ETA system will not issue ETAs for non-Canadian passports held by individuals identified as being Canadian citizens. Therefore, Canadian citizens cannot use a passport that requires an ETA to board a flight to Canada. The only passports not requiring an ETA are Canadian and American. Which leads to the conclusions described in the FAQ above: As a Canadian citizen, you must use a Canadian or US passport to board a flight to Canada. And that data is visible to all governments somehow affected by this PNR.

Note: A PNR includes all segments of a ticket. So if you book FRA-IST-YYZ on one ticket, and add your Canadian citizenship in IST to obtain the boarding pass to YYZ, it is still stored in the PNR to which the Schengen / German authorities have access.

As I wrote upthread, if and to what degree Schengen countries go comb through this massive heap of data, track it back to their citizens, screen for dual citizenship violations, and then take action against them, is a completely different subject.

*In the absence of the ok from the destination country, you may sometimes get a "this is not a boarding pass - your documents must be inspected at the gate" type of document that allow you to go as far as the departure gate where the trained agents sit, but not on board.
pilot007, DCAhome and guest666 like this.
airoli is offline  
Old May 30, 22, 8:24 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: YEG, SFO, JR JY-13
Programs: AC 75K and also 25K on account I don’t use
Posts: 491
Originally Posted by airoli View Post

Note: A PNR includes all segments of a ticket. So if you book FRA-IST-YYZ on one ticket, and add your Canadian citizenship in IST to obtain the boarding pass to YYZ, it is still stored in the PNR to which the Schengen / German authorities have access.
Wow that's really interesting and contradicts what I had speculated in my edit above. Thanks for clarifying, I am keenly interested in all of this since it's I might fall into this scenario in the foreseeable future.
asovse1 is offline  
Old May 30, 22, 10:55 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: NT Australia
Programs: QF WP
Posts: 3,810
Does routing through a non-Schengen European country help? UK would seem a reasonable option for this. Separate short haul and long haul tickets if necessary
nancypants is online now  
Old May 30, 22, 11:05 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 36
Originally Posted by guest666 View Post
That's what I have been doing since eTA came into existence. It is a huge hassle. I understand I can't complain given the circumstance, but the flights through Turkey/ Egypt/Mexico end up being 20-hour nightmares that take another 2 days to recover. Flights through the US are a bit easier, but they are stressful in their own way because I have to get ESTA etc. Most of these are expensive two-stop flights, too. If there was some sort of closure in this question at least it would be easier to know that there's no other option and this isn't all my paranoia.
As an alernative, you could fly to the USA with your european passport, and then cross the land border into Canada ? This could be preferable, especially if your destination in Canada is near the US border, right ? For example, instead of flying from Europe to Vancouver, you can fly to Seattle (with euro passprt), and then drive or take the train to Vancouver, crossing the land border (with your Canadian passport).
Covidian98 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread