eTA: Important Points to Remember
Foreign nationals of visa-exempt countries who are planning to travel to Canada have to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). As such, they do not need Canada visas to travel to Canada.
eTA is applicable only for those travelers who are visiting Canada by air. In cases of traveling to Canada via land from the US, you do not need to apply for eTA.
eTA became an entry requirement for Canada from August 2015 onwards. Also, eTA holders can visit Canada for specific purposes – including transit, business or tourism ones.
eTAs have 5-year validity and authorize you to stay in Canada for 6 months on a single visit. Also, you can make multiple visits to the country until your eTA is valid.
If you are a national of a visa-exempt country, then you can apply for eTA online. eTA applications are processed within a matter of minutes.
Also, any person having Canadian citizenship or Canadian permanent residency or Canadian visa need not apply for eTA for Canada travel. Nonetheless, if you are a permanent resident of Canadian, then make sure to have your valid Permanent Resident Travel Document or Permanent Resident Travel Document for Canada travel.
Students from visa-exempt countries who are applying for a work or study permit are directly issued an eTA by the IRCC at the time of accepting their application for the permits. However, if individuals who are eligible for eTA but have obtained their permit before August 1st, 2015, then they must apply for an eTA and only if they are planning to travel to Canada via air.
US citizens do not require eTA to enter Canada; their US passport suffices for Canada travel. However, US permanent residents or Green Card patrons require an eTA and their Green Card when traveling to Canada.
In the case of dual citizens who have Canadian citizenship and another country’s citizenship, they do not need an eTA if they are entering Canada by air. Even so, they should travel with their Canadian passport when entering Canada.
To travel to or transit via Canada, travelers either need a Canadian visa or eTA and before they board the Canada-bound planes. The documents that the travelers require depends on:
- their nationality
- type of travel documents
- a country that issued the travel documents
- their mode of Canada travel
eTA is an online travel verification process and is counted as one of the several initiatives by the Canada government as part of their joint treaty with the US for enhancing border security. Indeed, the Governments of Canada and the US collaborate while sharing immigration and visa details of travelers who are visiting either of the two countries. Also, the eTA program was started by Canada and in partnership with the US. The objective was to upgrade border security and promote economic growth. Consequently, the flow of goods and people will increase and the economies of both countries will receive a boost.
eTA is valid for the nationals of a host of countries. These include the United Kingdom, Cyprus, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Greece, Chile, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, France, Barbados, Japan, Italy, Malta, Belgium, Portugal, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Poland, among others.
Keep in mind that eTA does not guarantee admission into Canada. Only the Canadian border executives can determine whether a traveler can cross the border to enter Canada.
If an applicant has a medical condition or a criminal record, then they can apply for eTA as well. Though, they must clarify their circumstances when they are applying for eTA.
Those applicants who have been denied eTA in the past can reapply; only they must clarify how about their change of circumstances since they last applied.
With eTA, eligible travelers can receive travel authorization to Canada without much delay. Also, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are able to identify ineligible individuals who are trying to enter the country. Moreover, the IRCC can study the travel patterns of the eligible individuals while they enter and depart Canada. Previously, the authorities had no pre-screening processes for foreign nationals. Hence, the eTA system provides IRCC with substantial border security mechanisms.
Through the Interactive Advance Passenger Information System, the air carriers receive messages on whether to allow the passenger to board or not by sending messages. Also, the travelers are not permitted to check-in until they provide passport and eTA details.
Keep in mind that eTA is an electronic document and not a physical one. Also, eTA gets linked to your passport number if your eTA application is approved. Thus, you do need a printout when boarding a Canada-bound airplane.
The eTa program was implemented in 2016 for screening travelers from overseas to curtail the rise of terrorism. After being approved in 2012, the program took 4 years to connect all immigration databases and other security information for setting up a new screening mechanism.
You can apply for eTA 72 hours before your departure date. However, the general recommendation is to apply for the travel authorization when you are planning your Canada trip. Also, if possible, you must apply 1 month before you travel to Canada. Then, you have enough time to apply for a Canadian visa if your eTA is rejected.
If a single parent is traveling with children, then they have to furnish a consent letter from the other parent. Immigration authorities reserve the right to question a child to dispel any doubts or concerns about child trafficking. A consent letter can put to rest such concerns.
Travelers who have entered the USA as per the Visa Waiver Program and visited Canada can re-enter the US under the VWP if they still meet the given requirements. The US authorities have the right to grant entry under the VWP in such cases.
eTA: How to Apply
Applying for eTA is an easy process. Only visit the related websites and complete the required formalities, including pay the application fees, for your Canada travel authorization.
eTA has 5-year validity or until your passport expiry date – whichever comes first. The eTA holders are permitted to stay in Canada for 6 months or less. Nonetheless, the authorized duration of your Canada stay could vary depending on the dates issued by the Canadian border officials in your passport.
eTA applications take around 10-15 minutes to complete. Additionally, the applications are processed within 15 minutes of applying. You can tender the eTA application fees via debit card or credit card. Moreover, you can submit multiple applications while using a single payment.
After you submit your application, the authenticity of your data is verified. Then, upon your application getting accepted, the system generates a unique eTA authorization number and the same is forwarded to your given email address. In the event of your application being rejected, you will receive a refund of the processing fees.
eTA: For United Kingdom Nationals
British nationals are exempted from applying for a visa for Canada travel. However, to travel visa-free to Canada, they have to apply for eTA a couple of hours before their departure and only if traveling by air. eTA is not a requisite for UK nationals if they are entering Canada via sea or land from the US.
The nationals of Great Britain and other EU members have to complete the online eTA authorization process before boarding a Canada-bound air carrier. Besides, if they are transiting in Canada on their way to international countries, then they have to apply for eTA as well.
If you hold a different British nationality or want to travel for a longer duration, then contact the Canadian High Commission for further details. From 31st July onwards, you have to submit your biometric details at the visa center if applying for a work or study permit or permanent residency.
Moreover, you have to show that you have sufficient funds for supporting yourself during your stay.
If you are not sure about your eligibility to enter Canada because of past criminal records, then contact the Canadian High Commission to check on the same.
For travelers who are entering Canada via land or sea, they do not need to apply for eTA. However, they must have relevant travel documents to establish their identity if entering Canada via any mode.
Travelers can apply for eTA with the UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) as well. With the ETDs, you can enter, exit, and transit from Canada.
The eligible UK residents must provide certain documents to process their eTA. These include a valid passport, email address, and means of payment. Also, your passport should be valid for 6 months from the date you arrive in Canada.
UK nationals have to fill in the eTA application form when applying for eTA. Here, they have to submit their personal details. More so, they have to select among three options and their choice determines the cost of your Canada eTA. The three options are standard processing, rush processing, and super rush processing. Under standard processing, your eTA takes 1 business day for processing. With rush processing, you can avail your eTA within 2 hours. Super rush processing takes 30 minutes process your Canada authorization.
As part of your eTA application, you have to submit the mandatory documents along with the eTA application form.
eTA authorizes the patrons to stay for 180 days in Canada and they can make multiple visits to the country.
The UK was one of the Canada eTA program’s launch member.
UK Nationals have to be 18 years or older to apply for eTA; or else, they need their guardian to apply on their behalf.
If any British citizen wants to stay in Canada for more than 180 days, then they have to apply for a Canadian visa depending on the purpose of their visit.
Within 5 minutes of applying, the British citizens can receive their travel authorization via email and in PDF format. No need to print as the eTA is stored in electronic form against the passport in the Canada Immigration system.