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I'm from Ethiopia flying to Nicaragua with a layover 9 hours in London , 6 hours in Canada and 11 hours in US. I'm flying by air canda. Can I leave the Canada airport in my layover or do I need a visa for leaving the Canada airport in my layover. Thanks for help.

  • What visas do you have? You'll need at least one for the US, probably one for Canada, and possibly also for the UK. – jcaron May 2 at 12:16
  • What is your citizenship? – BritishSam May 2 at 12:35
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    For some reason I read the title as "Can I leave the Pearson airport on my lawnmower" and I had this wonderful image of a person on a ride-on lawnmower trundling out of an airport :D – Muzer May 2 at 12:36
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The following assumes you will travel on an Ethiopian passport and do not possess any other passports:

  • You will need a visa to leave the airport in Canada.
  • You probably need a visa to transit Canada regardless, as Ethiopia is not listed on the TWOV eligibility criteria here.
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First, note that you will need either a transit visa or a visitor visa for Canada, which must be applied for in advance. The government of Canada has a nice webpage where you can find out what you'll need. Since you said that you'll only be in Toronto Pearson for 6 hours, and assuming that you're an Ethiopian citizen, I'll assume that you would be applying for a transit visa rather than a visitor visa.

If you have a transit visa, it does appear that you can leave the airport, though it is hard to find an official reference for this.

That said, six hours is rather tight for doing anything meaningful in the city of Toronto. Depending on the airlines you're flying, you might not have to interact with Canada Border Services at all; in particular, this is likely to be the case if you're flying entirely on Star Alliance airlines (including Air Canada). Toronto Pearson provides a handy connections guide that tells you what you'll need to do. If you arrive on an international flight and depart to the United States, you may not have to "officially" enter Canada (though I believe you still need a transit visa or the airline might not let you board).

However, if you decide to depart the airport, you will have to stand in line for Canada Border Services. The airport is not near the city center, and while there's a train to & from the city center, that will eat some time as well. If I were doing this, I'd want to be back to the airport 1.5–2 hours in advance of my departure; and factoring in the train/cab travel and the time spent waiting in the Canada Border Services line, this leaves you with about 2–3 hours of useful time. Whether or not that's worth the hassle is a matter for your own judgment.

  • Do you know their citizenship? – BritishSam May 2 at 12:35
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    @BritishSam are there many people "from Ethiopia" who aren't Ethiopian citizens? – phoog May 2 at 12:41
  • When I tried the connections guide with a BA flight from LHR connecting to an AA flight to MIA, it told be I would have to go through immigration, reclaim bags, go through customs, and then on to US pre-clearance. Maybe this varies based on the combination of airlines/flights/terminals. – jcaron May 2 at 13:02
  • @jcaron: As far as I can tell, you can avoid the CBSA if you're staying inside Terminal 1, which is used by Air Canada & all other Star Alliance airlines (plus Etihad). The OP said that they were flying on Air Canada, but I suppose it's possible they're connecting from or to a non-Star Alliance airline. I'll edit to clarify. – Michael Seifert May 2 at 13:35
  • @MichaelSeifert Ah, I had missed the fact the OP had written they were flying Air Canada. The Connection Guide result is indeed quite different in this case, it's directly to security and US Pre-clearance. It doesn't mention a visa in this case, but this is incorrect, OP definitely needs one (either a transit visa or a visitor visa). – jcaron May 2 at 13:56

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