Christelle Roques, a 29 year old woman from France had a too close unpleasant encounter with the new immigration policies. Roques was detained at the airport because she had Canadian citizenship, which she did not know about and was travelling without a Canadian passport.
Her connect flight from Montreal to New York took off without her, as she was tangled up in administrative mess. She spent a night at Charles De Gaulle airport all because she bought a cheap connect flight ticket. Her story comes as a warning for Canadian travellers holding dual citizenship.
According to Roques, she had no idea that she was a Canadian citizen because her mother had never told her about her own citizenship. She was stopped on the airport along with several other travellers because they did not have an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). According to the immigration officials, they all needed the ETA even if they were having a short stay in Canada.
Since the new rule went into action last November, around 8,500 people have asked for emergency authorization in the last four months.
After pleading her case with Air Canada, she applied online for an ETA. Due to the delay in the process, she missed her flight and when she finally got a response, she learned that she did not need an ETA because she had Canadian citizenship.
However, her struggle did not end her. Now, she needed a Canadian passport, which was given through another process. After finally receiving all her documents, she arrived in Toronto and waited for her flight to New York. In response to the involvement of the Canadian government, she described it as ‘pitiful’.
The new laws have been posted on the Canadian government websites as well as on social media to raise awareness. Though Roques is now an official Canadian citizenship holder, something her friends have congratulated her for, the experience in immigration has left a bad impression.