Changes to Canada's China Transit Program


2015 May 21


Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has for some time offered a unique program eliminating the need for visas for a limited class of Chinese nationals.

The program, called the China Transit Program (CTP) allows Chinese nationals who are travelling to or from the United States to transit in Canada without a visa. To qualify the Chinese national would have to hold a valid US visa and travel to Canada on an approved airline (Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, Air China, WestJet, Cathay Pacific, China Southern, Philippines Airlines, Jazz Air, Sky Regional Airlines Inc., and Air Georgian). Further, the Chinese national would have to be transiting through an approved airport. At this time, the approved airports are Vancouver International, or Toronto Pearson (Terminal 1).

Requirements of the program

Some conditions of the program are:

With regard to travel to the United States:

  • The traveller must hold a confirmed onward ticket for a direct flight to the US

  • The flight must leave the same travel day (no layover or overnight stay)

  • Travellers changing flights in Canada must arrive during the hours of operation of the U.S. in-transit pre-clearance facility.

With regard to travel from the United States:

  • The traveller must arrive in Canada from the US on a direct, non-stop flight (on an approved airline)

  • The traveller must not have overstayed his/her US visa

  • The traveller must have valid travel documents for the country or countries to which they are flying from Canada

  • The traveller must hold a confirmed onward ticket for a flight that will leave Canada on the same travel day

In addition to all the above, the traveller travelling to the United States must be arriving from a particular airport. Until now, those airports have been:

  • Beijing

  • Guangzhou

  • Shanghai

  • Hong Kong

  • Manila

  • Taipei

What’s New

What is new is that CIC has just announced that effective June 1, the list of airports from which travellers may arrive has been expanded to include:

  • Tokyo Narita

  • Tokyo Haneda, and

  • Seoul Incheon

This list is expected to grow when Electronic Travel Authorizations are introduced, which is expected in the next year.

This program is important for various reasons including increased revenue for Canada, simplified immigration processing, and reduced bureaucracy at various levels of CIC administration.

Other Important Considerations and What To Do

It is important to note that it is the airline or airport which applies for CTPs, not the individual. As such, if there are persons or groups (including businesses) who wish to make use of the provision, they should get in contact with the airline(s) to ensure that they can take advantage of the program. This may important for, among others, multi-national corporations with operations in China and the United States.

Reprinted with permission.

About The Author

Benjamin A. Kranc

Benjamin A. Kranc is senior principal of Kranc Associates, a leading Canadian corporate immigration law firm. He has many years of experience assisting clients in connection with Canadian immigration and business issues. Ben is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Immigration Law. He is also on the ‘Who’s Who Legal’ list of foremost practitioners in Canadian corporate immigration, as well as rated as AV Preeminent® in a Martindale-Hubbell peer review. Ben has spoken at numerous conferences, seminars, and information sessions – both for professional organizations and private groups – about issues in Canadian immigration law, and has also taught immigration law at Seneca College in Toronto. In addition, Ben has written extensively. He is the author of a leading text on Canadian immigration law entitled “North American Relocation Law” (Thomson Reuters) and contributing immigration author to the “The Human Resources Advisor” (First Reference Books). Ben can be contacted at (416) 977-7500 ext. 226, or

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