Updated: Dec 09, 2023
A Canadian eTA usually entails a quick and easy application process, but sometimes things don’t quite go as planned. Even if you do your best to fill out the form correctly, you may receive notice that your eTA authorization is pending. So, what does this mean? What can cause your application processing to be delayed? Here are some of the most common reasons that some Canadian eTA applications do not get automatically approved.
Errors in application: If there are discrepancies or errors in your application answers, further review might be needed. Did you mistype your passport number? One digit is easy to miss, but it can make a big difference on your eTA application. If you made a mistake like this on your eTA application, you will experience delays and may have to reapply. This is an easily-avoidable scenario. When filling out your information, be very careful to type your name, passport number, and various dates correctly. Take the time to double-check your application when you are done. The good news is that a typo or clerical error will rarely (if ever) cause your application to be rejected entirely. However, mistakes will most likely need to be rectified by submitting a fresh eTA application.
Missing information: Incomplete applications will often be placed in pending status until the missing information is provided.
Processing delays: During peak travel seasons or due to high application volumes, processing may take longer, leading to pending status.
Background verification: The Canadian immigration authorities conduct security checks on all applicants. If there's something in your background that requires further scrutiny, your application might be put on hold. If your identity is associated with security concerns, you will have to wait for your application to be manually processed. This can happen if you have a criminal record, or it can happen if you are in any way connected to human rights violations and/or organized crime. You may also experience application processing delays if you are associated with any other security concerns of Canadian immigration personnel.
Data cross-checks: Immigration officials may need more time to cross-check the information provided in your application with other international databases or through Interpol.
Criminal history: Any criminal history or immigration-related issues in the past may trigger further investigation. If you ever needed a reason to avoid driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs, this is a good one. If you have been convicted of driving while impaired by a substance, your application may be flagged. In many cases, a conviction of this kind may cause your eTA application to be denied.
The eTA application asks for information about your health history. You must answer whether you have had tuberculosis or any contact with a tuberculosis sufferer. You also must select any conditions you have from a dropdown menu. Depending on the issue, a medical concern may cause your Canadian eTA authorization to be delayed, as it might need to undergo manual processing.
System errors: Sometimes, technical glitches either in the application system or in data transmission can cause delays.
Supporting documents: If the immigration officials require additional supporting documents, such as proof of financial means, your application might be paused until these are provided.
Routine Procedure: Occasionally, applications are randomly selected for more detailed review as part of routine security measures.
A pending status for a Canada eTA application is not uncommon and is often part of the standard processing procedure. It usually means that the application is undergoing a more thorough review and isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. However, it’s important to be responsive to any requests from IRCC and to monitor the status of your application. If the pending status remains for an extended period without any communication from IRCC, you might consider reaching out to them for an update.