Electronic Travel Authorization: General Information

Electronic travel authorisation is an entry authorisation, introduced in 2015, that allows eligible candidates to visit and enter Canada. It is for visa-exempt foreigners who wish to enter Canada by air.

It is valid for up to five years or until the holder’s passport, which it is linked to, gets expired, whichever one comes first. Getting a new passport automatically means you will need to get a new eTA since the eTA is linked to your passport.

A valid eTA permits you to travel to Canada as often as you want for short visits, usually up to six months at a time. 

While you will need an eTA to enter Canada, you will not need it to travel within Canada. However, getting an eTA is not the only authorisation/ requirement you will need to enter Canada. 

Who Needs an eTA to Enter Canada?

1. Visa-exempt foreigners under the following categories:

  • 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, naturalisation 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 valid 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 (for 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(must be a  lawful permanent resident)
  • Vatican City State (must have a passport or travel document issued by the Vatican)

2. Legally recognised permanent residents in Canada.

Who Is Exempted From Getting an eTA

1. Foreign nationals with official Canadian documents, which are:

  • Travellers with a valid Canadian visa.
  • Travellers with valid status in Canada (e.g. visitor, student or worker) who re-enter Canada after only visiting the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon.

2. Foreign nationals in the following conditions:

  • French citizens live in Saint Pierre and Miquelon and are travelling directly to Canada from St. Pierre and Miquelon by flight.
  • Foreign nationals who are passengers going to, or coming from, the United States on a flight that stops in Canada solely to refuel and have proper documents to enter the United States, or were lawfully admitted to the United States.
  • Foreign nationals who are passengers on a flight that makes an unscheduled stop in Canada.
  • Foreign nationals who travel through a Canadian airport under the Transit Without Visa or China Transit Program.

3. Travel staff and official representatives:

  • Flight crew, civil aviation inspectors, and accident investigators will be on duty while in Canada.
  • Members of the Armed Forces (not including the civilian component of armed forces) of a country designated under the Visiting Forces Act come to Canada to carry out official duties.
  • Diplomats who have accreditation under the Government of Canada.

How To Apply for an eTA

This is an online process and can be done only on the official website of the Government of Canada. It takes a few minutes to complete. However, it may take up to days in some cases, especially if you’re asked to provide supporting documents. It is usually recommended that you apply for an eTA before you book your flight to Canada. Here’s the simplified process:

1. Complete online application.

Here, you will need to provide basic personal information such as your name, email address, telephone numbers, residential address, country of origin, passport details, medical history, security information etc.

2. Confirm the payment.

Use a valid credit/debit card. Provide the relevant details and pay the required application fee.

3. Receive approved authorisation.

This should take less than 48 hours. However, if the information you present is incorrect, this may delay the processing time of your application.

When applying for your eTA,  ensure that you input the correct passport number, or else you may have problems with travelling to Canada. This is a common mistake that many people make: inputting the wrong passport number.

Things to Note about the eTA Application Process:

1. An eTA costs seven(7) Canadian dollars.

2. You can only process an application for one individual per time.

3. You will need your passport, email address, credit/debit card and other personal and contact details.

4. The application process is online.

5. You will need to answer the required questions correctly and provide the necessary supporting documents if you are asked to do so.

6. The application is a straightforward process.

7. You may need to answer questions about your background, including your medical history.

8. The visa is a multiple-entry visa. You can use it for tourism, business or transit purposes.

9. You cannot apply for an eTA while in Canada. You must do it while you are outside of Canada.

10. The eTA can only be used if you are travelling by air.

When you arrive in Canada, apart from your eTA, you will need to present other documents such as your passport, etc. The border services officer will check this. If there are irregularities in your records, you will not be allowed to enter Canada.

Conclusion

Getting an eTA is a simple process, but you must provide correct information and valid documents to approve your application. Do not wait till you book a flight to Canada before you apply for an eTA.

An eTA is not the only authorisation you will need. Get other documents ready too, and ensure they are valid—best of wishes.

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