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Re-entering Canada without PR Card, only CoPR and passport - by plane

Discussion in 'Permanent Residency Obligations' started by donnanne, Sep 20, 2017.

  1. I became PR in July and need to travel to the US next week for 2 days. However, my PR card is still in process and I have waiting almost the 9 weeks processing time (61 days) but it looks unlikely it will arrive before my planned travel.

    Has anyone had expereince of taking the risk and returning from US to Canada via commercial carrier (plane) using just their CoPR and valid visa-exempt passport?
    I've checked with my airline and they say all that is needed for return travel to Canada as PR is a valid passport.

    1. If the airline will let you board with just a valid passport and your CoPR, will border officials permit you to enter Canada with just these documents?
    2. Is an ETA required or not required? As a visa-exempt passport holder travelling to Canada as a visitor I would need an ETA but as PR now, I understand an application for ETA will be declined as I am PR so the system will not allow it. Is this correct?

    Thank you
  2. CBSA will allow you entry into Canada with your valid passport and your COPR. Your issue is only with the airline and whether they choose to allow you to board without a valid PR card. Previously you could board the plane as a visa exempt visitor and just not tell the airline any differently, then once landed you get into the returning resident line at the airport. Now, it's different due to ETA so I am unsure how you can now approach this situation other than postponing your trip until your PR card arrives, or waiting for a PRTD (which will take longer than your intended stay of 2 days). Otherwise, you could fly back to a border town in the US and then drive across the border with only your passport and COPR.
  3. Thank you for your response...

    You mention: "CBSA will allow you entry into Canada with your valid passport and your COPR."
    Have you experience of this? i.e travelling back to Canada yourself with just CoPR and passport?

    Regarding the ETA, I'm cautious not to apply for an ETA online incase it rejects me and somehow flags me on a system.

  4. 1. Unless you are American, the person you spoke to at the airline gave you very bad advice. It's not a "take a chance and maybe they'll let me board" situation. You will NOT be allowed to board a plane to Canada without a valid PR card or a PRTD. As a PR, CBSA will grant you entry whether you have a PR card or not.

    2. As a PR, you can't even apply for an eTA.
    bkhan88, scylla and donnanne like this.
  5. Thank you for your comments...But can I confirm with you, how sure are you that they will not let me board? I called two different representatives of the airline and both said that all I needed was a valid passport. Did this happen to you i.e not being allowed to board a plane?
    Also, how will the border official likely verify my status as PR: check on their system and/ or just accept my CoPR ?

  6. Unless a person holds a Canadian or American passport, Canadian immigration law requires that airlines verify that they have the correct travel document, meaning either a PR card, a PRTD, an eTA or a TRV. As you have none of those, you will not be allowed to board.

    CBSA will be able to determine your status by simply swiping your passport.
  7. From the Air Canada web site. Note the liberal use of the word "MUST". Generally means it's not an option! You aren't getting on a plane to Canada without a valid PR card.


    Air Canada is legally required to compare a passenger's entire face with the photograph shown on the appropriate valid travel document, which must also include the passenger’s full name, date of birth and gender.

    Carriage will be refused to any passenger who:

    • Refuses to present the appropriate valid travel document
    • Refuses to show his/her entire face
    • Does not resemble the photo on the travel document
    For identification and security purposes, your booking must provide your full name as it appears on your travel document; as well, you may have to provide your date of birth and gender when completing your booking.

    Travel Documents:
  8. Technically they are correct in that all you need is a valid passport to board. However that passport must be linked electronically to a valid eTA, so when the airline swipes your passport at check-in they will get the "board" clearance due to the valid eTA.

    If your passport is NOT linked to a valid and active eTA, the airline will get an automatic "no board" notice, and deny you boarding. With no eTA there is a 0% chance to be allowed boarding.

    The eTA is not a physical document or anything you carry, it's simply an online approval that's linked directly to your passport.

    If not a US citizen and with no PR card, then there are only 2 ways to enter Canada as a PR:
    1. Apply for a PR Travel Document from a US visa application centre, and use it to fly to Canada.
    2. Cross into Canada by road at a land border. For this no PR TD is needed, and CBSA can verify your PR status with your passport + COPR only.
  9. Understood. But since a PR cannot even apply for or obtain an eTA, it may be at the discretion of the airline whether to allow boarding or not on explanation of the situation?
  10. No it is not at the discretion of the airline. As a PR you need a PR card or a PRTD. Yes, eTA is not an option but that is intentional.

    Believe me and all the others: You have no chance, literally zero chance, to board the plane without either an eTA or a valid PR card or a valid PRTD. You will make it all the way to the gate and when they swipe your passport there will be a large "Do not board" message appearing on their screen that they will not miss, as previous posters already pointed out. They will then ask you if you have a PR card or PRTD which you don't and they will then deny you boarding. Guaranteed. There is no hoping. Period.

    I tried it myself by intentionally not showing my PR card when taking flights to Canada. I tried it with flights from the US to Canada, with flights from Europe to Canada, with flights on Air Canada, with flights on British Airways, with flights on Lufthansa, with direct flights, with connecting flights via a third country... In all cases I made it at most to the gate (if even) and then I was not let on board until I produced my PR card.

    So, please believe me and all the previous posters: If you don't have an eTA, a PR card or a PRTD you will not board that plane.
    Andrea417, bkhan88, keroppi and 2 others like this.
  11. There is no discretion. If you are flagged as a "no board" (which is guaranteed with no active eTA linked to your passport), the airline can't legally board you on the plane else they would face stiff fines/penalties from Canada.
  12. Hello guys, can anyone share their experience crossing the land border with USA , with just the copr without the PR CARD OR PRTD. ???
  13. The land border isn't a problem, that's totally different to the situation above. At the land border, you get yourself to the border, where CBSA can verify you.

    With the air border, if a person could get there, CBSA could verify them. The issue above is that Americans are the only foreign citizens who can be PRs of Canada & fly with only a passport; any other nationality will flash a red DO NOT BOARD message at the gate. Since that doesn't happen anywhere if you're driving to the border, not an issue, completely separate.
  14. its the head
    its the headache of airline they allow you or not to board.........commercial airlines require valid PR, or PRTD.......however if you reach landing airport.......CBAS cannot deny you the entry.....even with your COPR and passport.......then are incumbent to allow you................as they are on the border form US...with only COPR and passport.................PRTD or PR is only required for airlines
  15. I am in a similar situation to the original poster, here are my details:

    - British Citizen.
    - Permanent Resident (PR) of Canada since 19 Dec 2017.
    - Initial PR Card not yet arrived.
    - Short trip to the US scheduled.
    - In possession of signed CoPR and valid visa-exempt passport.

    My question; would an eTA applied for before you were granted Permanent Resident status still work? When I check the status of my previously approved eTA it still says it is valid until 2022.

    If it is still valid then surely I would be able to board my flight to Canada as long as I don't mention I am a PR? And upon landing in Canada CBAS will easily verify my status.
    aaron_ and KlausKarp like this.

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