CANADA: New Electronic Travel Authorisation Effective March 2016

March 7, 2016

As we reported at the end of last year, we now issue a reminder that on 15th March 2016 the Canadian government will enforce the new Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) program. The eTA process went into effect in August 2015 but will not be mandatory until 15th March.

What is the eTA?

The eTA is an online registration system that travellers access online. eTAs are valid for five years, or until the expiration date of a passport, whichever comes first.

Who Needs an eTA?

The eTA requirement applies to travelers who do not need a visa to enter Canada and who are planning to arrive by air. Visa exempt countries include the UK, Japan, Australia, Korea, countries in the European Union and more.

The eTA requirement does not apply to citizens of the US and it is not required if a person is entering at a land or sea port of entry.

A list of nationalities requiring an eTA is available here.

Nationals of certain visa-required countries (Brazil, Bulgaria, Mexico or Romania) who hold a current US non-immigrant visa, or who have held a Canadian visa in the past ten years, will be allowed to enter Canada with an eTA instead of a visa. This special visa exemption may not, however, be in place by 15th March 2016.

What is the eTA Application Process?

The eTA process involves entering a traveler”s personal details and passport information into an online portal and paying a fee of $7CAD. Every traveler must obtain an eTA – including children.

In most cases, CIC will approve the eTA within minutes of applying. In situations where an immediate decision is not given, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will follow up with applicants with requests to obtain more information.

Action Items

  • Ensure that visa-waiver nationals (other than US nationals) travelling to Canada register for an eTA before travelling.

Should you need advice or information on Canadian immigration, please email us as [email protected].