What are the Canada eTA processing timelines?

Updated: Dec 09, 2023 | Tags: Canada eTA Processing, Canada eTA Pending, Canada eTA Application Form

Canada eTA processing timelines can vary based on a number of factors. The majority of eTA applications are approved within minutes, yet it is common for some applications to require additional processing that can take weeks and in special cases, months to process. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will regularly send email notifications providing updates on the status of your application, as well as if you will need to send additional documentation to support your application, or, in rare cases, attend an in-person interview at a Canadian consulate or embassy.

What are the Canada eTA processing timelines?
What are the Canada eTA processing timelines?

What are the typical Canada eTA processing timelines?

Standard processing time (immediate or within minutes)

Most eTA applications are processed very quickly, and approvals are often granted within minutes of submitting the application. The decision is communicated via email, so it’s important to check the email account you used to apply, including the spam or junk folder.

Slightly delayed processing (several hours up to several days)

In some cases, especially if additional documentation is required or further review is needed, the processing can take several days. Applications that are flagged for manual review, such as those requiring further background checks or additional information, will take longer. Your eTA will usually go to pending status when this happens.

What you can do to speed up eTA processing times

Apply early: To avoid any inconvenience, it’s advisable to apply for an eTA well in advance of your planned travel date.

Check email regularly: After applying, monitor your email closely for the decision or for any requests for additional information.

Prepare necessary documents: Have your passport and any other required documents readily available before starting the eTA application process.

Check application status: You can check the status of your eTA application through the IRCC website using the application number.

Contact IRCC: If there is an unusually long delay, you can contact IRCC for an update on your application status.

What data on my application will affect the eTA processing timelines?

Personal factors

There are a few personal factors that will likely cause processing delays, and these are related to different sections on the application form such as the Prerequisite Information, Applicant Information, Personal Details, Employment Information, and Background Questions. The application data that will most likely trigger additional screening is as follows:

  • Previously denial of a Canadian visa or denied entry into Canada
  • Other previous immigration history in Canada, or a country that has a data sharing agreement with Canada
  • Providing incorrect passport or biometric information
  • Possessing citizenship from multiple countries
  • Previous criminal history in any country
  • Previous medical history of being infected with a contagious disease
  • Applying on behalf of an unrelated minor

Canada government factors

There are a few factors that impact processing speeds that are outside the control of applicants. These are as follows:

  • Peak Travel Periods: During times of high demand, such as holiday seasons, processing times may be slightly longer.
  • Response to Requests for Additional Information: If IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) requests additional information or documents, the speed of their responses, and yours, can affect processing timelines.

Other eTA application processing considerations

  1. Carefully check the information you provided on your application, as mistakes can cause delays, especially if you provided incorrect passport details or contact information, such as your email address.
  2. Check your email provider has not flagged emails from IRCC as spam. If so, then you will need to check your spam folder for the relevant messages or contact your email provider to ensure they do not block emails from IRCC.
  3. If 72 hours have passed since you applied for an eTA and you have not yet received an update, then you can check the status of your eTA application or contact us to chase up the status of your application.
  4. A valid and approved eTA is required before you board your flight to Canada. Thus, not having an eTA at the airport will result in being denied boarding on aircraft bound for Canada. In some cases, applicants may be able to obtain approved within minutes of applying online at the airport, yet travellers should not risk putting off their application and should plan ahead by applying at least one to two weeks before their departure.


While most eTA applications for Canada are processed quickly, usually within minutes, applicants should be prepared for potential delays, especially if additional scrutiny is required. Applying well in advance and regularly checking your email will help ensure a smooth process.

However, considering that eTA processing timelines can vary significantly, applicants are advised to apply as early as possible. An eTA is issued for a period of five years, or the date of passport expiry, whichever comes first.