As of March 15, 2016, Canada will require Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) for all visa-exempt foreign nationals entering the country by air. Effective this date, visa-exempt foreign nationals, other than U.S. citizens, must have an eTA prior to being processed by customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) and entering Canada.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Those impacted by this change
In the past visa-exempt foreign nationals could travel to Canada without any specific advance travel authorization. This changes on March 15, 2016, with the introduction of the new eTA requirements for visa-exempt foreign nationals, regardless of their age. Only U.S. nationals are exempt from this requirement. U.S. permanent residents (Green Card holders) require eTAs to arrive in Canada by air. For example, if you’re a visa exempt national of the UK or Japan you’re now required to have an eTA to enter Canada, even though you did not require any advance travel authorization in the past. Note that new eTA requirements also apply to tech stops in Canada, even if passengers and crew do not leave the aircraft.
2. Reasoning behind the change
Governments around the world are trying to standardize enhanced vetting processes to better control who may access the particular country. For example, the U.S. has the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) in place, and both Australia and Turkey have implemented electronic authorization programs for visiting foreign nationals. Canada’s eTA program takes this one step further in requiring electronic authorization for nationals, who in the past did not even require visas.
3. Obtaining eTAs
eTAs are obtained online, and we recommend submitting the application at least 72 hours in advance. In most cases, online applications are approved quickly, but in some cases, it may take up to 72 hours to receive a response. To apply for eTA you must have a valid passport and provide an email address. Once your eTA is approved and confirmed, it will be sent to you by email (to the address you provide), and it’s valid for five years or until your passport expires. eTA allows you to enter Canada unlimited times, so long as both the eTA and your passport remain valid. Cost for eTA application is $7 Canadian dollars, paid online with a credit card. You may apply for an eTA on your own or use a 3rd-party provider to obtain it for you. To determine if you need a visa or eTA for Canada see the official website.
4. Delays or denials of eTA applications
If you do not receive a response within 72 hours, you can check the status online. There are cases where some otherwise eligible nationals will be denied a requested eTA. In this case you’ll be notified of the denial by email.
5. Documentation requirements
Once your eTA has been approved there’s no particular paperwork you need to carry it with you. An eTA is electronically linked to your passport. Note that you must always carry the passport you used to apply for the eTA with you…