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I have been trying to visit my long-term girlfriend for the past 3 years. Because I have a criminal record (I was never sentenced to a prison term) I cannot get an eTA. Is it possible for me to fly there with just my passport, so that I can wait for her at the airport and fly straight back with her? She is terrified to fly alone, as she has autism.

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    Without an eTA or visa you're not likely to be allowed to board your outbound flight. If somehow you are, and are denied entry by Canadian Immigration you'll be detained until you can be put on a return flight. Either way, this won't work. Can't you apply for a visa? – user79658 Aug 5 '18 at 16:45
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    Does your girlfriend have a relative or friend who might be willing to accompany her, if you paid for the ticket? – Patricia Shanahan Aug 5 '18 at 16:49
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    Are you admissible to the US? Perhaps she could travel there by land and you could meet her there. – phoog Aug 5 '18 at 17:09
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    I think we need some more information here. What nationality are you, and can you tell us something more about your criminal record ( one offence, or several? When was the last offence,? nature of the offences?) It might also help to know your age. – user79658 Aug 5 '18 at 19:06
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    Did you actually apply for an eTA and get refused? Or did you not even try? If you haven't tried yet, stop reading this and apply for the eTA. Come back here if you are refused. If you're approved, go fly to Canada. – Michael Hampton Aug 5 '18 at 19:20
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If you're not eligible for an eTA, you would have to obtain a visa. Without that, should you be allowed to board a flight, your arrival in Canada may not go smoothly, and your plan may be disrupted or fail.

If you're admissable to the United States, you could meet at the USA-Canada border, which has more than 100 crossings. She could use ground transportation (car, bus, train) to get to the Canadian side, you would wait for her on the US side. You could then travel together to your destination.

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