Temporary resident visas for all passengers during technical/refuelling stops as well as during transit stops at all Canadian airports

Circular Note No. XDV-0183 of February 7, 2014

The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (Office of Protocol - Official Visits Division) presents its compliments to Their Excellencies the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and Chargés d’affaires, a.i. accredited to Canada and has the honour to clarify requirements for temporary resident visas, for all passengers, including high level visitors, travelling on dedicated private or government aircraft during refuelling stops. This note supersedes the Department’s circular note number XDV-0094 of June 14, 2012.

This note serves to remind that all persons from countries whose citizens require a visa when travelling to Canada must hold a valid Canadian temporary resident visa when entering or landing in Canadian territory for any reason, including for brief refuelling stops (“technical stops”). The only exception to this requirement would be in cases where travellers are seeking to enter and remain in Canada solely to transit through Canada as a passenger on a flight stopping in Canada for the sole purpose of refuelling and:

  • they are in possession of a valid visa to enter the United States and their flight is bound for the United States; or
  • they were previously lawfully admitted to the United States and their flight originated in the United States.

It should be noted that ten (10) working days may be required by the Canadian mission overseas to prepare the visa. Applications should therefore be made in a timely manner. The Department also wishes to advise that the website for the list of countries that require visas to enter Canada may be accessed at: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp

Courtesy Clearances for high level visitors entering Canada during refuelling stops will continue to be prepared in the usual manner. In this regard, the names and titles of the VIP delegation and crew, their dates of birth and their passport numbers and expiry dates and, where visas are required for the travellers, visa numbers and expiry dates must be submitted to the Department by way of a diplomatic note along with the itinerary, aircraft details (type, registration number and call sign), and confirmation of Diplomatic Overflight Clearance. For more information, please consult circular cote number XDV-0181 of February 7, 2014.

Their Excellencies should note that Diplomatic Overflight Clearance does not exempt passengers from Canadian visa requirements.

The Department further wishes to clarify that in almost all cases, a private aircraft cannot land at a commercial terminal. Therefore the Embassy must also provide the Department with the name and address of the Fixed Base Operator at which the plane will land and refuel in such cases. These arrangements must be coordinated by the requesting state.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (Office of Protocol - Official Visits Division) avails itself of this opportunity to renew to Their Excellencies the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and Chargés d’affaires, a.i. accredited to Canada the assurances of its highest consideration.

OTTAWA, February 7, 2014