ETA requirements for entry into Canada

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What is an eTA?

The abbreviation eTA stands for Electronic Travel Authorization. Starting November 10th, 2016, travellers planning to go to Canada, or who need to transit through Canada, are required to obtain an eTA prior to leaving on their trip. The eTA program is designed to determine whether travellers are admissible to Canada prior to their arrival. As such, applicants who do not meet the necessary requirements will be denied an eTA, and therefore, will not be allowed to enter Canada. 

Is an eTA different from a visa? If so, how?

The necessity of applying for, and successfully obtaining, a visa prior to travelling to Canada applies to citizens of specific countries, a list of which can be found here. The eTA requirement however, applies to citizens of visa-exempt countries, a list of which is also available in the aforementioned link. Therefore, depending on their country of origin, a traveler will be required to either obtain a visa or an eTA in order to visit Canada. Citizens of the United States represent the only exception, as they do not require a visa nor an eTA to travel to Canada.

Who needs an eTA to enter Canada? Who does not?

As previously mentioned, any citizen from a visa-exempt country wishing to travel to Canada must now apply for an eTA. This requirement also extends to permanent residents of the United States (green card holders), who have a passport from another country. It should be noted that, for the time being, the obligation of obtaining an eTA only applies to those entering Canada by air, and is not yet a requirement for those entering by land.

An eTA is not necessary for American citizens, Canadian citizens, nor for Canadian permanent residents. Furthermore, foreign nationals who are holders of a temporary resident permit (TRP) are also exempt from applying for an eTA.

How to apply for an eTA?

An application for an eTA can be made online via the official Government of Canada website.

You will need to have a valid passport, as well as a credit card (in order to pay the required $7 CAD fee), in order to proceed with the application. As stated on the government website, most applicants can receive their eTA approval within minutes of applying. However, in certain cases, this process can take several days, whereby some answers provided by an applicant could lead to further questions and/or a request for additional documents.

The following are examples of questions you will find in an eTA application:

  • Identification details, such as the applicant’s name, gender, marital status, as well as date, city and country of birth
  • Applicants are also asked if they hold more than one citizenship, and if they are permanent residents of the United States, or have a Taiwan personal identification number
  • The applicant’s current residential address, as well as current occupation
  • Confirmation of whether the applicant has previously applied to enter or remain in Canada, as well as whether the applicant has every been denied a visa or permit, or been ordered to leave Canada or any other country
  • Funds available for travel
  • Whether the applicant or a close family has ever had or has been in contact with a person with tuberculosis
  • Whether the applicant has any health condition that would require medical treatment
  • Whether the applicant has ever been arrested, charged with or convicted of any criminal offense in any country, in which case an application for a temporary resident permit (TRP) or for Criminal Rehabilitation (CR) would be necessary in order to be permitted to enter Canada. More information about inadmissibility can be found here.

An eTA can be valid for how much time?

Once obtained, an eTA will be valid for either five years, or until the passport used to apply for the eTA expires, whichever comes first.

Questions specific to your case? Contact us

Should you have any specific questions, we invite you to contact us by phone or by email. Contacting JTM Immigration means dealing directly with one of our immigration lawyers, who can advise you on various solutions as part of a free consultation.

Call us at 1-844-326-8410.