Is a Canada eTA required for Green Card holders?

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Is a Canada eTA required for Green Card holders?

An eTA is no longer necessary for U.S. green card holders. From April 26 last year (2022), if you are a legal permanent resident of the United States, you only have to show these documents irrespective of your means of transport to Canada:

  • A valid passport issued by the country of which you are a national or a similar travel document that meets the requirements, plus
  • A green card that has not expired or an equivalent and valid way to prove your status in the U.S.

The full list of U.S. citizen status documents that are accepted by Canadian authorities if a legal permanent resident of the United States wants to enter that country:

  • Valid form I-551, i.e. a permanent U.S. Resident Card
  • A passport from another country that contains a temporary but unexpired I-551 stamp also referred to as an ADIT stamp
  • A passport from a foreign country that contains a temporary but unexpired printed I-551 notation providing permanent residence in the United States for a period of 1 year. This has to be on an immigrant visa that is machine-readable and has been endorsed with an admission stamp by the United States CBP (Customs and Border Protection)
  • An expired Form I-551 (permanent resident card) together with a Notice of Action (Form I-797) for either a pending Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence (Form I-751) or a Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status (Form I-829)
  • An expired Form I-551 (permanent resident card) with a Notice of Action (Form I-797) for a pending Application to Replace a Permanent Resident Card (Form I-90)
  • A valid Form I-327 (re-entry permit)
  • A form I-94 together with a temporary ADIT stamp (I-551 stamp) plus a passport-type photo

When you are travelling to Canada, it is important that you take all the documents that prove your status with you. To prove your status as a legal permanent resident in the United States, you will be asked to show these documents to:

  • airline personnel (upon your check-in for the flight to Canada) and
  • upon your arrival in Canada, the officer representing border services

When a green card holder might not be allowed into Canada

Individuals with a criminal record, including a DWI or DUI conviction or arrest, may be deemed criminally inadmissible to Canada and might, therefore, be denied entry at the border unless they have obtained special permission to enter. Green Card holders who are inadmissible to Canada may also be denied an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), making it impossible to fly into a Canadian airport.

Those with an alcohol-related driving charge or another type of criminal record can obtain permission to enter Canada in two ways:

  • through Criminal Rehabilitation or
  • a Temporary Resident Permit.

Criminal Rehabilitation is a long-term solution that overcomes a person’s criminal inadmissibility to Canada but is only available to those who have completed their probation more than five years earlier. A Temporary Resident Permit allows a US resident with a criminal record to visit Canada for a limited time (up to three years and including multiple entries) but requires a specific purpose for a visit, such as a business trip or to visit family.

Regardless of whether a drunk driving offence occurred in the United States or another country or whether someone has US residency or not, he or she may still be inadmissible to Canada without permission, as it is the Canadian law that matters. Criminal inadmissibility to Canada can also impact eligibility for all immigration programs, meaning a TRP or Rehabilitation may be required to obtain a Canada Work Permit with a DWI.

Regardless of their country of origin, whether a computer engineer from India or a wealthy businessman from China, a criminal record can prevent US residents from travelling to Canada unless they have obtained proper permission to enter. Canadian border offices have access to FBI criminal databases, making it possible for Green Card holders with a criminal history to be detected when trying to cross the border.

To fly to Canada, most Green Card holders require an eTA, and even offences like wet reckless, DWI, domestic violence and careless driving can result in an eTA being refused. In such cases, In fact, even just an arrest (with no conviction) can cause an American resident to be refused an eTA to Canada. Green Card holders must resolve their inadmissibility via the Canadian consulate before they can fly to Canada.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious crime in Canada, resulting in jail time of up to ten years. Impaired driving offences that are not criminal, like DWAI and OWI, can make it difficult for an individual with a U.S. Green Card to travel to Canada because, in this country, such offences are treated as a felony. While Criminal Rehabilitation is ideal, Green Card holders with recent offences may have to avoid travelling to Canada or apply for a temporary waiver.

Is a U.S. permanent resident allowed to work in Canada?

Recently there has been an upsurge in the number of Americans looking for jobs in Canada. Depending on your circumstances, this can be very easy or quite difficult. Below we only look at the situation regarding work permits – we hope to cover the topic in more detail at a later time.

If you are a US permanent resident and would like to work in Canada, various types of work permits could be available to you, depending on your situation.

NAFTA Work Permits

NAFTA (The North American Free Trade Agreement) is an agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the United States that promotes trade by allowing certain groups of temporary workers to move between the three countries. Under the International Mobility Program, American citizens with a qualifying job offer from a Canadian employer can receive a NAFTA work permit and temporarily work in Canada without needing an LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment).

Additionally, American firms with branches in Canada can transfer their American workers in executive or managerial positions to Canada easily and quickly.

Work Permits specific to an individual employer

Individuals who receive a job offer from a specific Canadian employer may qualify to enter the country on what is known as an employer-specific work permit. This type of permit normally requires an LMIA or Labor Market Impact Assessment. This consists of a document that shows that the employer in question did try to find a Canadian permanent resident or citizen to fill the position before offering it to a U.S. national.

If you switch jobs while in Canada on an employer-specific work permit, you must apply for a completely new work permit.

Spousal Open Work Permit

If your common-law partner or spouse is an international student or temporary foreign worker in Canada, or you have entered the process of inland sponsorship, you could qualify for a spousal open work permit. This kind of permit is not specific to any employer, so you won’t have to apply for a work permit from scratch if you want to change jobs, provided that your current permit is still valid.