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 eTA?
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 traveller. 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 electronic travel authorization.
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 for Canada and Who Doesn’t?
- 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.
- Travelers who are not allowed to apply for an eTA include Canadian citizens, dual citizens, American Canadian citizens, and others. These travelers 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 the valid US or Canadian passport.
Visa Exempted Nationalities
An eTA is required for the citizens of visa-exempted countries to fly to Canada, or transit through a Canadian airport. If these visa-exempt foreigners are travelling by boat, cruise ship, train, bus, or car, they will not require an eTA.
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.
- 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:
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
- Pitcairn Island
- Saint Helena
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- British Subject with a right of abode in the United Kingdom
- Brunei Darussalam
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, must have a passport issued by Hong Kong SAR.
- Israel, must have a national Israeli passport
- Republic of Korea
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Romania (electronic passport holders only)
- San Marino
- Solomon Islands
- 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.
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.
An eTA for Mexico Citizens
Since 2016 Mexican citizens can apply for an electronic travel authorization to visit Canada for business, transit, medical reasons, or for travelling. All of the requirements for applicants and the conditions and rules of the eTA for visitors from Mexico are standard: short stay, air entry, etc.
You may also check your eligibility online:
The eTA Requirements
There are some eTA requirements that need to be met:
- The eTA can be used to enter Canada for a business trip, a holiday, a student trip, or a visit to family or friends
- The stay in Canada should last a maximum of 6 months
- The eTA has to be approved before the traveler checks in for the flight to Canada
It is important to apply for your eTA to Canada only from the official website of the Government of Canada. The process is simple and easy, and you need to submit your application online.
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.
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.
The eTA fee is CAD $7. And keep in mind that you can apply and pay for only one individual at a time.
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.
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.
The 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 Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs), who can walk you through the entire process.