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I am traveling to Canada (YYZ) with my Canadian girlfriend for the first time for a week. What I'm wondering is what do we do at immigration? They have different lines for Canada/USA, and then rest of the world. As I'm British, I obviously fall under the 'rest of the world' category.

Which of the following options should we do?

  1. Should we both go through immigration together in the Canada/USA queue?
  2. Should we both go through immigration together in the Rest of the World queue?
  3. Or should we both go through immigration separately?

Thank you.

  • 10
    You’re not a family so you don’t qualify to join her in the Canadian line even if non Canadian family members traveling together were allowed. – user 56513 Feb 8 at 11:35
  • 2
    Separate lines would be safest and easiest. – Hilmar Feb 8 at 11:45
  • 2
    Going in the same line is the best, in my view, as you will be in contact till at least meeting the officer, sometimes you can even go forward together. (If no good answer comes, ask the staff in the wait for passport control area, but as far as I know everybody can use the 'rest of the world' line.) – Willeke Feb 8 at 12:09
  • 4
    @Willeke indeed. I recently used the non-Canada-and-US line with my (non-Canada-or-US) wife. The officer said we'd made the right choice (I think because the other line had kiosks, and they would not have been able to process her). I certainly did not get in trouble for using that line with my US passport. Neither would a Canadian with a Canadian passport. The closest we got to any trouble was the officer asking us how we met the friends we were visiting. I said "through my wife" and my wife said "I don't remember." Then she let us in! – phoog Feb 8 at 13:29
  • @Hilmar if you look at Kate Gregory's answer, you'll see that going together is probably easiest and quickest, since the officers might want to interview the Canadian citizen to confirm the British citizen's stated intentions. There is no penalty to a US citizen using the non-Canadian-non-US line, as I can confirm from recent experience, so there is surely none for a Canadian citizen doing the same. – phoog Feb 8 at 13:34
61

I just checked with a Canadian living abroad who has come home for visits and brought his non-Canadian girlfriend with him. They lined up together in the non-Canadian passport line. This enabled him to confirm that she was visiting with him etc. When they entered the hall, they actually asked a staff member about lining up and he reports that she asked them "are you together?" and then "but are you together?" in that tone that people use to young couples. On getting a yes, she told them to line up in the non Canadian line and they also went to the desk together.

I have seen on Border Security where a couple lined up separately and customs went and found the other one to confirm the visitor's story that she had a place to stay and so on.

You didn't ask, but you should probably fill out one landing card for the two of you also. That's what the visitor I checked with did.

  • 11
    My recent experience (as a US citizen with a non-Canadian, non-US spouse) is consistent with this answer. – phoog Feb 8 at 13:27
  • 1
    Thank you @Kate Gregory for your detailed answer. We'll use the non-Canadian line. For landing cards, I believe Toronto Pearson now uses touch screen terminals as a replacement for landing cards - at least that was my experience when I visited last year by myself. – podomunro Feb 8 at 13:43
  • I landed in Terminal 1 Wednesday night and the flight attendants were telling everyone "unless you have a Nexus card or a connecting flight to the US, you need a card." I have Nexus so I can't confirm others needed them, just saying what the flight attendants said. – Kate Gregory Feb 8 at 15:58
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    The OP also didn't ask, but I'll add anyhow: you should have ample evidence that you will plan to return to the UK, you should be carrying nothing that might suggest you plan to seek work in Canada (no trade tools, for example) and the two of you should be absolutely consistent and complete about how long you'll be staying and what you'll probably be doing. Unless, of course, you're immigrating and have all those docs ready, in which case, welcome to Canada. – CCTO Feb 8 at 16:39
  • If I remember correctly it's a combination of card and terminal - you fill out the card, the terminal reads it and asks you some additional/repeated questions, then prints a receipt/copy that you take to the officers, who can then ask you secondary questions if something requires scrutiny. – llama Feb 8 at 18:54

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