What types of passports can be used for a Canada eTA application?

Published on: Mar 09, 2020 | Tags: Cancel eTA Application, Canada eTA Passport

Introduction

A passport is an important piece of documentation that allows the bearer to travel internationally for a specified period. You may be aware that there are several different types of passports. The type of passport you use to travel to Canada will determine if you are eligible to apply for an eTA or with a visa. Here is a brief guide of the main types of passports and their eligibility when applying for an eTA. It is important to note that not all countries necessarily issue each type of the passports below.

What types of passports are eligible for a Canada eTA application?
What types of passports are eligible for a Canada eTA application?

Determine the issuing country and nationality on your passport

The country that issued your passport, or issuing authority, is the same as your country of nationality. For example, the UK embassy in Los Angeles, California may have issued your passport, however, the passport issuing country is still the UK. The country code is often abbreviated using a two or three letter International Organization for Standardization (ISO) code.

If you hold a passport from a country that requires a visa to visit Canada or is not eligible for an eTA, you may still be eligible for an eTA is you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States. You will need to provide your green card number, or receipt number on your eTA application form. The green card number is the 13-digit number that is printed on the green card.

Types of passport and eTA eligibility

Ordinary/regular passports
An ordinary or regular passport is issued to citizens for occasional travel, such as holidays and business trips. An ordinary passport is issued by any country or territory or organisation and is used for crossing an international border by the passport holder. It is classed as a Type 'P' passport with 'P' standing for 'personal'. Ordinary passport holders of eligible countries can apply for a Canada eTA.

Diplomatic passports
A diplomatic passport is only issued to people who work as representatives of a government. Ambassadors, for example, can have diplomatic passports as a proof they are in fact officers of the government which they represent. The outside appearance of the diplomatic passport usually looks the same as an ordinary passport. It is classed as a "Type D" passport with 'D' standing for 'diplomatic'. A person with a diplomatic passport has different requirements to cross borders. Diplomatic passport holders may qualify for immunity and preferential tax exemptions in some cases.

If you have a position in a consulate or embassy, you will most likely have a diplomatic passport. A diplomatic passport may be issued to citizens who are high-ranking government officials, diplomats, and representatives and delegates of a government. Diplomatic passport holders of eligible countries can apply for a Canada eTA, if they are not exempt from needing to apply for an eTA.

Official passports
An official passport is issued to a person travelling overseas on official government business. These may include all classes of local administrative officers as well as military officials travelling in an official capacity. It is usually a different colour to a usual passport. In the USA, for example, official passports are red, while a diplomatic passports are black. In many cases, people travelling on government business will use ordinary passports. Note the holder of an official passport is not necessarily a national of that country. An official passport typically gives the holder increased recognition but no other special immunity. It is classed as a Type 'S' passport with the 'S' standing for 'security'.

There is no internationally adopted rule protocol surrounding the issue of official passports. Each country sets its own criteria. Official passport holders of eligible countries can apply for a Canada eTA, if they are not exempt from needing to apply for an eTA.

Service passports
A service passport is normally issued to citizens, such as non-diplomatic government officials, travelling on official government business. The front cover of such a passport is usually marked ‘Service’. For example, the service passport of the Republic of Latvia is a document that proves its holder has an officially-recognised governmental position or in the diplomatic or consular service and is travelling abroad to perform activities at the request of the Republic of Latvia. Service passport holders of eligible countries can apply for a Canada eTA, if they are not exempt from needing to apply for an eTA.

Emergency/temporary travel documents
If you lose your passport whilst abroad, you may be issued with an emergency or temporary passport. A travel document or passport issued to citizens in urgent cases where the issuance of a temporary passport is not possible. These documents are often only valid for a short period. Emergency/temporary passport holders of eligible countries can apply for a Canada eTA.

Refugee travel documents
Refugee travel documents are issued to non-citizens with protected-person status, including Convention refugees and people in recognised need of asylum. In the United States, a Refugee Travel Document is very similar to a passport and is issued to a refugee or asylum seeker that enables him or her to travel abroad and return to the United States.

Refugee travel documents are issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to people with refugee or asylum status (and occasionally to lawful permanent residents who obtained their permanent residency through refugee or asylum status).

Travellers with a Refugee travel document (I-571) issued by the United States are eligible to apply for an eTA only if they are lawful permanent residents in the United States with a valid green card. Other travellers wishing to enter Canada using a Refugee travel document are not eligible to apply for an eTA and will need to apply for a Canadian visa, or, use an alternative form of travel document.

Alien passport/travel documents issued to non-citizens
An Alien passport or travel document is given to non-citizens who live either permanently or temporarily in the country that issued the document, but are not classed as full citizens of that country. In Sweden, for example, this applies to people who have been granted a residence permit on the grounds of protection from authorities in their home country and who are unable to contact them to obtain a passport.

Travellers wishing to enter Canada using an Alien passport/travel document are not eligible to apply for an eTA and will need to apply for a Canadian visa, or, use an alternative form of travel document.

Considerations for other Passport Holders

Israeli Nationals

Israeli passport holders may be eligible to apply for an eTA, however, they will need to answer the following additional questions on their eTA application to determine their eligibility:

  • “For this trip, will you use a national Israeli passport?”

If you will not be using your Israeli passport, you will be asked:

  • “Are you a lawful permanent resident of the United States with a valid U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) number?”

If you are a lawful permanent resident in the United States, you will be asked to provide your United States lawful permanent resident USCIS number and the United States lawful permanent resident alien registration card (Green Card) number as well as the date of expiry for the registration card.

If you do not have permanent residence in the United States and won’t be using your Israeli passport, then you will not be eligible to travel to Canada using an eTA unless you hold a passport from another eTA eligible country.

Taiwanese Nationals

Taiwanese passport holders may be eligible to apply for an eTA, however, they will need to answer the following additional questions on their eTA application to determine their eligibility:

  • “For this trip, will you use a passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes your personal identification number?”

If yes, you will be asked to provide and confirm your Taiwan personal identification number. Then, you will be asked:

  • “What is the nationality noted on this passport?”

If you will not be using your Taiwanese passport, you will be asked:

  • “Are you a lawful permanent resident of the United States with a valid U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) number?”

If you are a lawful permanent resident in the United States, you will be asked to provide your United States lawful permanent resident USCIS number and United States lawful permanent resident alien registration card (Green Card) number as well as the date of expiry for the registration card.

If you do not have permanent residence in the United States and won’t be using your Taiwanese passport, then you will not be eligible to travel to Canada using an eTA unless you hold a passport from another eTA eligible country.

Romanian Nationals

Romanian passport holders may be eligible to apply for an eTA, however, they will need to answer the following additional questions on their eTA application to determine their eligibility:

  • “Will you use an electronic passport for this trip?”

If yes, then you will be asked to confirm the nationality on the passport and provide further traveller details. If you will not be using your Romanian passport, you will be asked:

  • “Are you a lawful permanent resident of the United States with a valid U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) number?”

If you are a lawful permanent resident in the United States, you will be asked to provide your United States lawful permanent resident USCIS number and “United States lawful permanent resident alien registration card (Green Card) number as well as the date of expiry for the registration card.

If you do not have permanent residence in the United States and won’t be using an electronic e-chip Romanian passport, then you will not be eligible to travel to Canada using an eTA unless you hold a passport from another eTA eligible country.

Conclusion

There are several types of passports travellers can use when applying for a Canada eTA. Some of the passports or travel documents will require eTA applicants to provide additional evidence of eligibility, such as U.S. green card or permanent residency card. Other passport holders may be exempt from needing an eTA if their country has special diplomatic arrangements with the Canadian government. Most travellers who are visiting Canada for business, work, tourism, medical, or transit purposes will need to apply for an eTA, or a visa if they are ineligible for an eTA, to enter Canada.

Get started on your eTA application

If you hold a passport from a country that is eligible for the Canada eTA such as the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, or many other eTA eligible countries, you will need to obtain an approved eTA before your tourism, business or medical visit to Canada. Get started on your application, otherwise, visit the eTA requirements to learn more about the Canada eTA

Apply for Canada eTA