Passport : Sri Lankan Holding a valid US Visa (F1). Spending only 3.15 hours at Toronto Airport. Flying in through United and leaving to my next layover (London) in Air Canada.


1 Answer 1


Generally speaking, many people need a visa to transit in Canada. Most airports have no facilities or specific exemptions for transit (see a previous question about visa rules for flight connections). The main exceptions I could find are:

  • People who can enter Canada without a visa, obviously, including US permanent residents (see the full list).
  • Transit without visa for citizens of Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Taiwan flying to or from the US (if the airport and airline allow it).
  • An experimental program for Chinese citizens traveling to the US from a few cities in China (and again only with participating airports and airlines).

For the last two exemptions, I assume the airline should apply on your behalf and would let you know if you qualify (i.e. read the fine print and ask about it, don't just show up at the airport).

The official site has a Find out if you need a visa page where you can enter your nationality and see the relevant rules. In your case, as a citizen from Sri Lanka with a student visa in the US, it appears that you do need a visa in any case.

  • Yep, that's information I found on the website as well and I applied for the Visa nearly a month ago. Haven't heard back since..My application status isn't updated from "open". Just thought of checking with this. I'm getting worried since my Travel is on the 23rd. When I called United, they checked and told me that I do not need Transit Visa since my lay over is less that 24 hours. (3.15 hours). Any truth to what the United Agent said?
    – Kasun
    Dec 13, 2013 at 1:18
  • It does seem incorrect, wasn't that perhaps for the London layover? Now, I don't need a visa for Canada so I have no personal experience and can't do much more than repeating what's on the website. Perhaps somebody else will comment…
    – Relaxed
    Dec 13, 2013 at 10:31
  • Thanks.One thing I fgt to mention I had applied for a transit Visa just in case I needed it by the time I posted this question. It's been over a month and they haven't processed my application STILL.I sent a couple of emails, (I can't call them from US apparently) but to no avail. So, If they let me board from the US I tht of going ahead with the travel and dealing with it when I come intact with them. 1 of my frnds (SL) had shown up at the Toronto Airport without visa so they had let him pass since he was travelling home.Hopefully common sense will prevail and they will let me pass through
    – Kasun
    Dec 19, 2013 at 23:15

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