Who is eligible for a Canada eTA?

Updated: Dec 09, 2023 | Tags: Canada eTA Eligibility, Canada Entry Requirements

Are you eligible for a Canadian eTA? A Canadian eTA, or Electronic Travel Authorization, is a common way for eligible travelers to visit Canada. However, not everyone is eligible for an eTA. Read on to learn more about who is eligible for Canadian eTAs, as well as alternative travel documentation.

Who is eligible for a Canada eTA?
Who is eligible for a Canada eTA?

Eligibility requirements

Canadian eTAs are available only to some travelers. Depending on your citizenship, you may not be eligible for an eTA, or you might not need one at all.

If you are a U.S. citizen, you don’t need an eTA. You don’t need a visa, either. You only need a passport, and you can enter Canada, provided border security allows you in.

If you are a citizen of a country that is visa-exempt in Canada, then you are eligible for an eTA and you will need one in order to get into the country. The list of eTA eligible countries are listed in the table below:

Citizens of the following countries may be eligible for an eTA if they meet the following requirements:

- You have been granted a Canadian visitor visa within the last decade or you currently possess a valid nonimmigrant visa for the United States.
- Your purpose of visit to Canada is brief, for business or tourism (usually for periods up to 6 months).
- You will be flying to, or making a transit stop at, a Canadian airport with a valid passport from one of the approved visa-required nations.
If these conditions aren't all satisfied, a visitor visa will be required for your travel to Canada.

Reasons you may not be able to apply

If you are from a country that is not on the visa-exempt list, then you cannot apply for an eTA. This is also true for refugees who are citizens of countries on the visa-required list. Stateless persons also cannot travel to Canada on an eTA. If you are stateless, you will need to get a visa.

If you are a permanent resident of Canada, you do not need an eTA. You will need a permanent resident travel document to travel into Canada. Dual citizens must use their Canadian passport to travel to Canada, and obviously don’t need a visa or an eTA.

Reasons your application may be rejected

Even if you are eligible to apply for an eTA, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be eligible to receive an eTA. There are many reasons why your eTA application could be rejected.

First, your application can be rejected if you have committed a serious human rights abuse, or if you are connected with any groups that do.

Secondly, your application can be rejected if you can been convicted of a crime. This includes the obvious, like homicide and other serious crimes, but you may be surprised to learn that you can also be ineligible for an eTA if you have a DUI on your driving record.

Third, having a health condition might keep you out of Canada. The eTA application contains many health questions, including questions about your exposure to tuberculosis.

Finally, you may not be eligible for an eTA if you have been removed from a county in the past, or if you have overstayed a visa. If you have been removed from Canada or have overstayed a previous visa or eTA, it is very likely that you will not be allowed back in the country. Depending on the country and situation, you may find that you application is rejected because of an overstay in or removal from another country.

What happens if I am not eligible for a Canadian eTA?

If you are not eligible for an eTA, you may be eligible for a visa or other travel documentation. Most people who are ineligible for an eTA will need to get a visa. Permanent residents of Canada need a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD). If you are not eligible for an eTA, visa, or PRTD, then you are likely not eligible to enter Canada at all.

Thankfully, you are not without recourse if your eTA application is rejected. If you believe the rejection was a mistake, you can appeal it. You must submit a request for the Federal Court of Canada to review your application. In order to do this, you must have a lawyer who asks for a judicial review for you. Submitting a new application without review is not recommended, since the root issue of the rejection will still be a problem for you.

Other ways to enter Canada

An eTA is obviously not the only way to enter Canada. If you are not eligible for an eTA, you are most likely eligible for a different travel document. Here are a few you can look into:

  • Tourist visa. A Canadian tourist visa is a travel option for citizens of countries not visa-exempt in Canada. The downside to needing a visa is that the application is longer and more expensive than an eTA application. The upside is that it is valid for twice as long.
  • Work visa. “Visa-exempt” status only applies to tourist visas, not work or study visas. If you plan to work in Canada, you should not apply for an eTA, since this document does not give you the right to work a job. Instead, you will have to apply for a work visa.
  • Student visa. An eTA also does not grant you the right to study in Canada, either. If you would like to attend school in Canada, you must apply for a student visa.
  • Business visa. If you plan to travel to Canada for business rather than pleasure, you need to get a business visa. This is different than a work visa in that it does not permit you to hold a job in Canada, only conduct business in Canada.
  • Transit visa. If you are just passing through Canada, you can get a transit visa rather than a tourist visa.
  • Permanent resident card. If you are a permanent resident of Canada, you probably have PRTD. You can’t get an eTA along with this document, because you don’t need one.


Depending on your citizenship and situation, you may not be eligible for an eTA. Although not everyone is eligible for an eTA, you will most likely be able to find another way to enter Canada. Visit Canada’s immigration website for more information on eligibility and application.