Canada eTA Requirements
What is an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)?
The Canada Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is a requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals traveling to Canada by air. It allows for easier entry into the country and is designed to screen travelers before they arrive to ensure that they are not a security risk. The authorization is linked electronically to your passport and is valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
It's important to note that the eTA is only applicable for air travel; if you're entering Canada by land or sea (for example, by car or cruise), different entry requirements apply.
Basic requirements for a Canada eTA
- Valid Passport: You must have a valid passport from a visa-exempt country. The eTA will be electronically linked to this passport.
- Means of Payment: A government fee is required to process the eTA application, payable by credit or debit card.
- Email Address: An operational email address is necessary for receiving the approval notification and any updates on your application.
- Travel Details: Information about your flight and the address where you'll be staying in Canada may be requested.
- Health: You may be asked some basic health questions to ascertain if you pose a medical risk.
- Criminal Record: The eTA application may include questions about criminal history. A criminal record may affect your eligibility for an eTA.
Important notes on eTA requirements
- If you are a citizen of the United States, you do not need an eTA to fly to Canada, but you must carry proper identification, such as a valid U.S. passport.
- Permanent residents of Canada are not eligible to apply for an eTA and must show their valid Permanent Resident Card or a Permanent Resident Travel Document when traveling to Canada.
- If you have dual citizenship, you must travel with the passport from the visa-exempt country that you used when you applied for your eTA.
- Final admission is determined by immigration officials at the port of entry.
What are the travel document requirements for a Canada eTA?
The following travel documents are not considered reliable and cannot be used to enter Canada:
- passports supposedly issued by Somalia,
- non-machine readable passports issued by the Czech Republic,
- temporary passports issued by the Republic of South Africa and
- provisional passports issued by Venezuela.
How long am I welcome in Canada as a visitor?
The Border Services Officer at the Canadian port of entry (POE) will determine how long you are allowed to stay in the country. Most visitors are welcome for a duration of six months from their date of entry, however if the officer only authorizes a shorter period, the date that you must leave Canada by will be indicated in your passport.
If you would like to stay for longer than the period that was authorized then you will need to apply for an extension no less than 30 days before you are required to depart.
Do I need an eTA or visa for Canadian travel?
Depending on which country you are a citizen of you may not need a visa, however you will probably need an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization).
Transport companies such as airlines, are responsible for ensuring that you have all the proper, vaid travel documentation for entry to Canada. If you do not have these documents, including an eTA or visitor visa, you may be delayed or not allowed to board.
Visitors of following countries do not need a visa to visit Canada (but will need an eTA) :
- Citizens of Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Brunei, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holy See (holders of a passport or travel document issued by the Holy See), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel (holders of national Israeli passport), Italy, Japan, Korea (Republic of), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania (holders of a biometric passport/e-passport issued by Lithuania), Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland (holders of a biometric passport/e-passport issued by Poland), Portugal, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan (holders of the ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes their personal identification number), United Arab Emirates.
- British citizens and British overseas citizens – A British citizen or a British overseas citizen who is allowed to return to the United Kingdom.
- British overseas territories, citizens of – A citizen of a British overseas territory whose citizenship is derived through birth, descent, registration or naturalization in one of the British overseas territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena or the Turks and Caicos Islands.
- British National (Overseas) – holder of a British National (Overseas) passport issued by the United Kingdom to persons born, naturalized or registered in Hong Kong.
- British Subjects – holder of a British Subject passport issued by the United Kingdom which contains the observation that the holder has the right of abode in the United Kingdom.
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region – holder of a valid and subsisting Special Administrative Region passport issued by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.
- United States citizens and permanent residents – A United States citizen or a person lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence who is in possession of their alien registration card (Green card) or can provide other evidence of permanent residence.
- Citzens of the following countries who have held a Canadian visitor visa within the past 10 years or currently hold a U.S. non-immigrant visa: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Morocco, Panama, Philippines, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.
How to apply for a Canada eTA
- Online Application: Complete the eTA application form online. The application is a simple online process that takes approximately 10 minutes to complete
- Personal and Travel Information: You'll be required to enter personal details, passport information, and answer questions to determine your eligibility.
- Fee Payment: Pay the application fee online as part of the application process.
- Email Confirmation: In most cases, you'll receive an email confirmation within minutes, although some applications may require several days for processing. Do not assume approval until you receive explicit confirmation.
- Linked to Passport: Once approved, your eTA is electronically linked to the passport you used in your application. You must travel with this passport.
- Validity: An approved eTA will be valid for up to five years, or the date of passport expiry, whichever comes first. Eligible applicants are advised to apply for eTA a few weeks before their departure to Canada, as processing delays may occur. An approved eTA allows for multiple entries into Canada for stays of up to six months at a time.
Before applying for an eTA, it's crucial to make sure you meet all the requirements and have all the necessary information ready. When visiting Canada, it is necessary for you to always carry proper travel documentation and identification for both yourself and any children who may be travelling with you.
It is the responsibility of transport companies, including airlines, to ensure that you have all the proper, valid travel documentation you need. If not, then you may be delayed or will not be allowed to board the plane. The eTA application is usually a straightforward process, but it's always good to plan ahead and be prepared.
Is a visa still required if passing through Canada without stopping?
If you’re a citizen of a country that does not have visa exempt status for Canada then you will need a transit visa in order to pass through Canada without stopping or visiting. This is required even if your transit will take less than 48 hours, however there is no fee for a transit visa. Fill out the application for a visitor visa (Temporary Resident Visa) and select transit visa from the list of options on the form.
If you hold a passport from a visa-exempt country, then you can apply for an eTA to visit Canada.
You may not need either a transit visa or an eTA if you are travelling to or from the United States. If certain foreign nationals meet specific requirements then the Transit Without Visa Program (TWOV) and the China Transit Program (CTP) allows them to transit through Canada on their way to and from the United States without a Canadian transit visa.
Permanent residents of Canada
If you are a Canadian Permanent Resident then you will need to show your permanent resident card when you return to Canada via commercial vehicle such as airplane, boat, train, or bus. If you are returning with a private vehicle such as a car registered in your name, then there is other documentation that would be valid.
If you’re planning on leaving Canada for any reason then check to make sure that your permanent residency card won’t expire before you return. Most cards are valid for five years but still check to avoid any possible issues at the border.
Some people who want to travel to Canada are considered inadmissible. Such activities that would deem a potential applicant as inadmissible include extensive or recent history with involvement in criminal activity, human rights violations and participation in organized crime. You can also be denied entry to Canada based on security, health or financial reasons.