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Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

Canada, with its breathtaking landscapes and its diverse tourist attractions, is one of the most popular tourist destinations. Many travellers flying to Canada or transiting through a Canadian airport tend to require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). 

Now, it is understandable that given all the paperwork related to visa processes and air tickets, you are likely to feel overwhelmed. In this article, we will walk you through the process of obtaining an eTA, alongside explaining who needs it, and why. 

What is an Electronic Travel Authorization?

An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is an entry requirement for foreign citizens who are exempted from visa requirements and intend to travel to Canada by air. The eTA is electronically connected to the passport of the traveler. In some cases, it tends to be valid for five years, and in others, it is valid until the passport expires. If you are planning to get a new passport, keep in mind that you will also have to obtain a new eTA. 

If your eTA is valid, you can fly into Canada whenever you want to and enjoy a short stay, typically up to six months. If you are travelling within Canada, you do not require an eTA. 

It is pertinent to note that an eTA doesn’t guarantee entry into Canada. Upon arriving in Canada, you will be required to present your passport and other documents, for instance, a US Green Card or other identification documents, to the border services authorities. You will have to validate to the border security personnel that you are in fact eligible to enter the country.

Who Needs an eTA and Who Doesn’t?

Here are the travellers who require an eTA: 

USA Travelers:

US citizens do not require an eTA, but they must carry their identification documents, for instance, their valid US passports. 

Permanent, legal citizens of the US require an eTA to fly to or transit across a Canadian airport. They will be required to provide a valid passport and a valid Green Card to the Canadian authorities. 

Travellers who are not allowed to apply for an eTA include Canadian citizens, dual citizens, American Canadian citizens, and others. These travellers are required to provide other identification documents. Canadian citizens and dual nationals will require a valid Canadian passport, while American-Canadian nationals must travel on a valid US or Canadian passport. 

Visa Exempted Nationalities:

Visa-exempted foreign citizens require an eTA to fly to Canada, or transit through a Canadian airport. If these visa-exempt foreigners are traveling by boat, cruise ship, train, bus, or car, they will not require an eTA. 

Visa Exempted Countries:
  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • British citizen
  • British National (Overseas)
  • British overseas citizen (re-admissible to the United Kingdom)
  • British overseas territory citizen with citizenship through birth, descent, naturalization or registration in one of the British overseas territories of:
    • Anguilla
    • Bermuda
    • British Virgin Islands
    • Cayman Islands
    • Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
    • Gibraltar
    • Montserrat
    • Pitcairn Island
    • Saint Helena
    • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • British Subject with a right of abode in the United Kingdom
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Bulgaria
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, must have a passport issued by Hong Kong SAR.
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel, must have a national Israeli passport
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania (electronic passport holders only)
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan, must have an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes the personal identification number
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States, lawful permanent resident of
  • Vatican City State, must have a passport or travel document issued by the Vatican.

Travellers who are eligible to apply for an eTA are citizens from selected visa-required countries, and they can apply for an eTA instead of applying for a Canadian visa to travel to Canada by air. However, if these select visa-exempt travellers are arriving in Canada by bus, car, train, or boat, they will require a visitor visa

Canadians

Canadian permanent residents will require a valid permanent resident card, or permanent resident travel documents. If you are a former resident of Canada, keep in mind that your status as a Permanent Resident will not expire, regardless of how long you have been away from the country.

How Do I Apply for an eTA? 

It is important to apply for your eTA only from the official website of the Government of Canada. The process is simple and easy, and you need to submit your application online. The entire process will take a few minutes of your time, and for the majority of the applicants, they obtain their eTA approval within minutes of submitting their application, via email. 

However, if your documents are incomplete, the process can take several days to complete. It is important to obtain your eTA before booking your flight to Canada. An eTA will cost you CAD $7, and keep in mind that you can apply and pay for only one individual at a time. 

In order to complete the application form, you will require an email address, a debit or credit card, and a valid passport. You will also be required to answer a series of questions. 

Common Mistakes

Most people make the common mistake of entering the wrong passport number of their eTA application, and this can create unnecessary complications when flying to Canada. Be sure to go through the eTA guide to understand the instructions and enter your passport number and other details accurately. 

For those who are unaware, your passport number is the number placed on the top of the passport information page that also contains your photo. 

eTA Approval

Once your eTA has been approved, it will be linked with your passport, and you will be required to present your passport upon checking-in to Canada. 

If you are still confused, and need additional assistance, feel free to get in touch with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs), who can walk you through the entire process.

Sidrah

Sidrah

Sidrah is a writer and a dentist who moved to Canada in 2017. Currently, she resides in Calgary with her husband and son. Although she isn't a big fan of frost and snowstorms, she has come to love her new hometown and poutine.

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