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Not asking because the hidden city ticketing. I have an upcoming flight from Shanghai -> Seattle -> Vancouver. However, I couldn't find my Canadian PR card. So in order for me to get back to Canada without applying for PRTD (permanent resident travel document) which takes a long time as well, I might need to rent a car from Seattle and drive back to Vancouver.

So in this case, will the airline check my Canadian PR card? Or I can get away from just providing my US visa?

  • What is your citizenship? Do you have a US Visa, or are you planning to enter using the VWP/ESTA? – Doc Mar 31 at 18:41
  • @Doc Chinese, do have a B1/B2 visa. I don't have high hope for this. Probably won't allow me to board the flight in Shanghai – Larry Mar 31 at 18:43
  • @Larry Is your booking flexible? Can you change your flight to terminate in Seattle? – Traveller Mar 31 at 18:53
  • Even if you drive from Seattle to Vancouver, you'll still have to enter Canada along the way, won't you? – Henning Makholm Mar 31 at 19:13
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    @HenningMakholm Sorry, my title was misleading, should be without having Canadian PR card. Entering Canada by private vehicle without having a PR card is okay as long as you have another document that proves your PR status. The catch is that commercial carrier doesn't care about those other documents. They only take PR card as the proof. Thus, even though the Canada Border Services Agency will allow me to enter, the airline won't. So, if I can get to any Canadian border, then I have no problem entering it. That's why I have to drive from Seattle. – Larry Mar 31 at 19:19
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As a general rule, airlines will NOT let you board the initial flight if you do not have the documents for your entire trip.

There are a number of reasons for this, including the one you've mentioned - hidden city ticketing. Although you've stated that is not your intent, the airline isn't necessarily going to believe you!

However the bigger reason is one of immigration legislation. Ending your trip in the US changes the reason you are visiting the US (from transit to staying), which potentially changes your visa/status requirements there. In your case as you have a B1/B2 visa you can potentially enter the US without a return/onward ticket, but it still puts you at a higher risk of being denied entry, and as the airline will not have correctly enforced the visa requirements for your onward flight they will potentially be held responsible.

There is one exception to the above, which is that if your stay in the US is more than 24 hours then you will only be checked in to your destination in the US, and your documents will only be checked for that leg. This is because a stay of over 24 hours is a stopover, which means that you are legitimately planning to stay in the US (even if only briefly).

Your best bet is likely to contact the airline and change your flight to end in the US. There will likely be a fee involved in doing this, but it will depend on the exact fare and the agent involved. Given your US B1/B2 visa it's certainly possible you would be allowed board the flight to the US without the correct paperwork for Canada, but it would be unlikely.

  • Thank you! I might contact the airline. If the fee is way too high, I might just book another flight from Shanghai -> Seattle. – Larry Mar 31 at 19:21
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    Actually, hotel found my PR card! Problem solved. Good discussion though. Thanks everyone! – Larry Mar 31 at 19:51
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This can sometimes be the case. The airline will generally be keen to stop this from happening.

I'm an Australian. Airfares from Australia are expensive, compared to airfares to Australia. It makes sense to book a far dated return flight and an intervening return flight home if I have to go any where twice in a 12 month period.

There are always a handful of transit passengers that are paged for visa checks prior to the last leg. Even if they do not have multiple passports (like me). But this may be a case of the left hand not talking to the right.

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