We are flying from theUK to New York with a connecting flight in Canada involving a 2-hour layover. Normally this would not bother me; however a relative of mine who had been working in the USA was told a 4-hour minimum stay was required in Canada.

My question is related to our connecting flight. Is there a 4-hour minimum stay in Canada? Their specific circumstances involved a work visa, they had to re-enter on an ESTA when the work contract ended, which they did via Canada.

  • 4
    Where is your layover? Canada is a large country with multiple airports. May 5, 2018 at 16:52
  • @HenningMakholm UK to Canada flights could connect via YYT, YHZ, YUL, YOW, YYZ, YWG, YEG, YYC or YVR, so ... yup. :) May 6, 2018 at 1:05

2 Answers 2


If you mean "are you legally required to stay at least 4 hours when transitting through Canada" then no, there is no such rule.

Depending on your citizenship and whether you have a visa for the US (rather than Visa Waiver) you will probably need an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) to transit through Canada.

Your friend's experience was probably related to a requirement to remain outside the US for a certain time rather than to remain in Canada.


There is no legal requirements, just the the practical ones dealing with a flight change and immigration and customs. Depending on the airport, you have clear US customs in Canada. In most airports, you have to fully immigrate into Canada first.

This is most likely an Air Canada flight. The list the minimum connection time for each type of connection and each Canadian airport here https://www.aircanada.com/us/en/aco/home/plan/check-in-information/minimum-connection-times.html Scroll down to the section "international to US".

  • That table seems wildly optimistic about the required connection time to the US in Toronto; I've experienced some customs lines there that would have made an 85-minute layover impossible. However, things do seem to have improved substantially in this regard over the past year or so, and the OP's 2-hour layover should be fine. May 5, 2018 at 19:15
  • 1
    @MichaelSeifert: these are the official from Air Canada. A missed connection on a legal ticket can cost the airline a non-trivial amount of money, so I'm pretty sure these are "statistically" okay. This being said: I only made my last connection in Ottawa by begging my way through the very long immigration line. There will always be misses
    – Hilmar
    May 5, 2018 at 21:49

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