Do you need a passport to travel to Canada?

Would you like to know if you need a passport to travel to Canada? Find out the answer to this question as well as the other essential documents.

Apply for an eTA visa!

If you wish to travel to Canada, whether to visit the country, to visit a relative, to work or to attend school, you will of course need to have a valid passport with you. Indeed, Canada is not part of the European Union and, as such, your identity card will not be sufficient to obtain authorisation to stay there. On the other hand, in addition to your passport, entry into Canada will require a residence permit, which may be a visa or simply an eTA. Let's find out more about this together.


What valid passports and other travel documents are accepted in Canada?

A valid passport or travel document is a prerequisite for a stay in Canada. Your passport will be considered valid if it is an official legal document, has not expired and is accepted by Canadian immigration authorities.

Having a passport does not guarantee you the right to enter Canada, as it must also be valid. You should therefore check the expiry date of your passport beforehand. Depending on the type of residence permit you are applying for and the purpose and duration of your stay in Canada, it may be necessary to renew your passport.

If the purpose of your stay in Canada is to visit, work or study temporarily, it will not be possible to receive a residence permit, work permit or study permit after the expiry date of your passport. Similarly, if you obtain a new passport after entering Canada, you will have to apply for an extension or renewal of your authorization to stay.

It should also be noted that if you wish to travel to Canada on a regular visa, your passport must contain at least one blank page. This is where the visitor's or permanent resident's visa you have obtained will be affixed. If you benefit from the eTA visa waiver programme, which consists of an electronic residence permit that can be accessed online, then you will not be required to do this, as your permit will not be physically attached to your passport, but electronically.

Please note! Some passports may be refused by the Canadian authorities upon arrival as being invalid, including passports issued by Somalia, non-readable passports issued by the Czech Republic, temporary passports issued by the Republic of South Africa and passports issued by Venezuela.

A final note on the passport for travel to Canada: This also applies to children, regardless of their age. It is therefore not possible to have them on their parents' passport and each child must have his or her own passport to be able to travel to Canada legally, even at a very young age.


How to apply for or renew a passport?

As you will have understood, a valid passport that covers your entire stay in Canada is required to travel to Canada. If you do not yet have a passport or if your passport is about to expire, you will need to apply for a new one. This can be done online or by going to the town hall of your choice, which is not dependent on your place of residence. For a biometric passport, you will have to go to the town hall to have your fingerprints taken.

On site, you will need to fill in an application form and attach certain documents including:

  • Your old passport
  • A passport photo that is less than 6 months old and meets the standards
  • A recent proof of address
  • The pre-application number if you applied online

If your passport is more than 5 years old, you will also need to enclose your valid or less than 5 years old identity card, and if you do not have an identity card or if it is older, you will need to provide a birth certificate that is less than 3 months old. Finally, you will also need to provide proof of English nationality if you are in a special situation such as a birth abroad to foreign-born parents.


What other documents are required for travel to Canada?

If you need a valid passport to travel to Canada, other documents will also be necessary for your stay. Indeed, entry into Canada requires a residence permit such as a visa or an eTA.

Previously, the only document accepted for the possibility of a stay in Canada was a conventional visa which had to be applied for at a Canadian embassy or consulate in the country of residence and which was affixed to the passport.

But since 2016, there is a much simpler procedure for travelling in this country. This is the eTA, which is an electronic residence permit and the application procedure is done entirely online and in just a few minutes. To benefit from it, you just need to meet the following conditions:

  • Be a national of one of the member countries of the agreement signed with Canada. This includes, of course, the countries of the European Union.
  • Have a valid passport that covers the entirety of your intended stay in Canada.
  • Travelling to Canada for tourism, business or to visit a relative.
  • Do not plan to stay in Canada for more than 6 consecutive months.
  • Meet the security requirements and health standards required by Canadian immigration authorities.

If you meet these conditions, there is no need to start a visa application procedure to prepare your trip. All you have to do is go to the official website or to a website offering this online application, such as the website of our partner, whose link you will find on this page. You will find an online form to fill in, in which you will have to fill in :

  • Your identity (surname, first name, date and place of birth)
  • Your passport number
  • A valid email address

You will then be asked to answer a series of simple questions to check that you do not pose a threat to national security and that you meet the eTA eligibility requirements.

Once the application is made, you will have to pay a processing fee which you can pay securely online by credit card or Paypal. One of the advantages of this system is that your application will be processed very quickly, as you can obtain your eTA in less than 72 hours, and often much quicker still. It will be sent to you by email and you will not need to print it as it will be directly and electronically attached to your passport number. Once obtained, the eTA is valid for 5 years and thus allows you to make several visits to Canada while respecting the rules stated above.


Why does it make sense to reissue a passport that has not yet expired before an eTA application?

As we have just seen, the application procedure for an eTA for Canada allows you to save time and obtain legal permission to travel to Canada without a visa. But another feature of the eTA that you should take into account is its 5-year validity.

If your passport is due to expire soon, you should renew it before applying online. This is because the eTA is linked to the passport number you gave when you applied. Therefore, if you change passport during the validity period of your eTA, your new passport will have a new number to which your authorisation will not be linked. In this case, if you wish to visit the country again, you will have to apply for a new eTA online.

It is also important to note that the passport you have indicated in your eTA application must cover your entire stay. If this passport is valid at the time of application and on the day of your departure but not at the time of your return, your eTA will not be considered valid and you may be refused entry to Canada.

There are, of course, other cases where you will need to renew your passport before it expires. These include a change of identity. For example, if you change your name due to marriage or divorce, you will need to update your identity documents by applying for a new passport and returning the old passport. Again, if an eTA was attached to that old passport, it will no longer be valid, especially as a name change will also require a new eTA.

It is important to remember that the name and identity of the traveller indicated on the eTA application for Canada must be the same as that indicated on the passport to be presented at the time of embarkation and upon arrival in the country.

Apply for an eTA visa!

Frequently asked questions

Can you travel to Canada with just an ID?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to travel to Canada simply with an identity document, unless you are Canadian or American. Indeed, nationals of countries other than Canada or the United States must present a valid passport to be allowed to stay in Canada, in addition to a valid eTA or visa. So make sure you have a valid passport before you plan your trip.

Do I have to print out my eTA and stick it in my passport?

Unlike the traditional visa, which is physically affixed to the passport of the applicant with a stamp, the eTA is dematerialised. This means that you will not have a stamp or document attached to your passport, but the permit will simply be linked to your passport number. Both the airline you are travelling with and the immigration officials when you arrive in the country will be able to see this authorisation from your passport number.

How long does a passport need to be valid to travel to Canada?

The passport you will use to travel to Canada must of course be valid both when you leave and when you return. Indeed, Canadian immigration law requires that any stay in the country must be fully covered by the validity of the passport.