Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Canadian citizen (not by birth ) - be careful at Heathrow airport

Be warned - if you fly out of Heathrow with Air Canada and are resident in Canada you risk getting serious hassle and even being refused the right to fly if you do not have a Canadian passport OR a foreign passport and Permanent Resident card. I have been a proud Canadian citizen for almost 4 years. I do not have a Canadian passport as I don't need one, they're expensive and the waiting list to get one is horrendous. It is quite legal for me to fly into Canada with my British passport and a Canadian citizenship card. Permanent Resident and a Citizen of Canada are two distinct status and once a Citizen you do not need, and indeed cannot have, a Permanent Resident card.I pointed this out to the Air Canada check-in person but she decided to get an 'immigration expert'.

The 'immigration expert' had serious 'attitude' and claimed that the citizenship card is honorific and has no value as an ID document - it was just for people like me who had emigrated to Canada and gone through the process of becoming a citizen - an honorary document. This was said in a tone that was méprisant and by someone who seemed to not like immigrants. I was so upset I could have cried.

I told the immigration officer at Montreal airport about all this and he was disgusted that this had happened to me BUT warned me to be careful as these people who, even though they are totally wrong, have POWER, the power to refuse someone the right to board an Air Canada flight to travel back home to Canada.

Sorry to rant but I am so upset by this and want to go public on it to warn other people.

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