- What is an Electronic Travel Authorization?
- Which Countries Are Visa-Exempt?
- What Are the Eligibility Requirements for an eTA, and When Do I Need One?
- How Do I Apply For an eTA?
- What Are the Fees and Processing Times When Applying For an eTA?
- What Happens If My eTA Application is Refused?
- What Happens After My eTA Application is Accepted?
- What to Expect When You Travel to Canada
- What to Expect at the Canadian Border
- How Can Total Law Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Electronic Travel Authorization?
An electronic travel authorization (eTA) is an entry requirement that visa-exempt foreign nationals need to travel to Canada. It is not a physical document, but rather something that is electronically linked to your passport.
eTAs are valid for up to five years, or when your passport expires — whichever comes first. It allows for unlimited trips to Canada during the time in which it’s valid, usually for short stays up to six months at a time.
Travellers who are not from a country on the visa-exempt list are not eligible for eTAs and must instead apply for a visitor visa.
Which Countries Are Visa-Exempt?
The following countries are visa-exempt. Travellers from these countries must apply for eTAs to travel to Canada:
|Bahamas||Greece||Papua New Guinea|
|Barbados||Hong Kong (must have a passport issued by Hong Kong SAR)||Poland|
|British citizen||Iceland||Romania (electronic passport holders only)|
|British National (overseas)||Ireland||Samoa|
|British overseas citizen (re-admissible to the United Kingdom)||Israel (must have a national Israeli passport)||San Marino|
|British overseas territory citizen with citizenship through birth, descent, naturalization or registration in one of the British overseas territories of:||Italy||Singapore|
|British Subject with a right of abode in the United Kingdom||Japan||Slovakia|
|Brunei Darussalam||Republic of Korea||Slovenia|
|Czech Republic||Malta||Taiwan (must have an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes the personal identification number)|
|Denmark||Mexico||United Arab Emirates|
|Estonia||Monaco||Vatican City State (must have a passport or travel document issued by the Vatican)|
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for an eTA, and When Do I Need One?
The only major eligibility requirement to obtain Canada’s eTA is to have a valid passport from a country on the visa-exempt list.
In addition, you will need an email address and a payment method – credit or debit card – in order to pay the application fee of CAN$7.
When Do I Need an eTA?
Citizens of visa-exempt countries only need an eTA if they fly to, or transit through, Canada by air.
If you’re visa-exempt and travelling into Canada by any other method of transport such as car, bus or boat, you will not need to apply for an eTA or any other valid visa to cross the border into Canada.
Note that an eTA alone doesn’t guarantee entry. You will still have to comply with some basic entry requirements to be eligible to enter Canada. For example, you must:
- Have a valid travel document, such as a passport
- Be in good health
- Have no criminal or immigration-related convictions
- Convince a border services officer that you have ties (such as a job, home, financial assets or family) that will take you back to your home country
- Convince a border services officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit
- Have enough money for your stay
How Do I Apply For an eTA?
You must apply for an eTA online.
The steps to apply for an eTA are as follows:
- Get your passport and credit or debit card ready
- Fill in the online form
- Pay the processing fee
- Once the fee is paid and the form is submitted, you will receive an email with your eTA number enclosed
In some cases, you may need to submit additional documents before your application can be approved. If this happens to you, an email will be sent to you with instructions within 72 hours.
As part of the eTA application process, you will be asked to provide personal details such as your:
- Date and place of birth
- Marital status
- Passport number
- Current job/occupation
You must ensure that you enter your passport number correctly, as your eTA will be linked to your passport. If it is entered incorrectly, you may not be able to board your flight to Canada and you will have to reapply for another eTA.
Note that only one person can be included in a single eTA application at a time. If you wish to apply on behalf of someone else, such as a dependent or a child, you must fill in a separate application for them, making a note that you are doing so on the form.
What Are the Fees and Processing Times When Applying For an eTA?
eTAs cost CAN$7 to obtain.
Most applications for the eTA are approved within a matter of minutes. However, the eTA application process may take longer if you are asked to provide additional documents for your eTA.
What Happens If My eTA Application is Refused?
If your application for an eTA was refused, you will not be eligible to travel to Canada.
You will be able to re-apply for another eTA any time after you receive your refusal. However, you should ensure that you have addressed the reason or reasons for your refusal when re-submitting your application.
You will not be refunded the CAN$7 processing fee if your application is refused.
If you wish to appeal the refusal, you may ask the Federal Court of Canada to review the decision. In order to do so, a lawyer must apply for judicial review on your behalf.
If your application for an eTA has been refused and you’re unsure of how to proceed, get in contact with one of our legal advisers today for expert advice. Call us on +1 844 290 6312, or contact us online.
What Happens After My eTA Application is Accepted?
After you receive your confirmation email with your eTA number, you will be eligible to travel to Canada.
It’s recommended that you keep a note of your eTA number in case you need to contact Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or you want to check the validity of your eTA in the future.
It’s also advised that you double check that the passport number in your confirmation email is identical to the number in your own passport. If the numbers don’t match, you must apply for another eTA with the correct number in order to be eligible to enter Canada.
You will also have to use the ArriveCAN mobile app to upload important travel information such as your travel and contact information, and proof of vaccination status.
What to Expect When You Travel to Canada
Before you board your flight, your passport will be scanned at check-in and airline staff will confirm that you have a valid eTA.
If you don’t have a valid eTA linked to your passport, you won’t be able to board your flight.
You may also need to have additional documents to have for your flight if you either have a child under the age of 18 (a minor) or if you were invited to come to Canada.
If you have a child under the age of 18, you may need to show:
- A letter from one or both parents, or a legal guardian, that authorizes the minor child to travel to Canada
- Other documents, such as adoption papers or a custody decree, depending on if the minor child travels alone or not
If you were invited to come to Canada, you should bring your letter of invitation with you.
What to Expect at the Canadian Border
When you arrive at the Canadian border, a border services officer will ask to see your passport and documents. They will use these documents to confirm that you are the same person who was approved to travel to Canada and will contribute to proving you meet the entry rules.
You must convince the officer that:
- You’re eligible for entry into Canada
- You’ll leave Canada at the end of your approved stay
You will also undergo a brief health assessment to check for signs of COVID-19.
If you pass the identity check, health assessment, and meet the entry requirements, the border services officer may stamp your passport or let you know how long you can stay in Canada. This will normally be a period of six months, though this may vary depending on the purpose of your visit.
You will then be allowed to enter Canada.
How Can Total Law Help?
If you’re travelling to Canada, it’s important to ensure that you have all of the documents and approvals to travel to ensure your trip goes smoothly.
If you have any additional questions about the eTA or anything else regarding your trip to Canada, Total Law are here to help. We are expert Canadian immigration lawyers who can assist you with your immigration applications, appeals or processes, committed to providing expert service for every one of our clients.
We can help you determine eligibility for entry requirements like the Canadian eTA, assist you in applying for one and ensure that you don’t encounter any difficulties or issues during your flight to Canada. We can also liaise with Canadian authorities on your behalf if your application is refused, or if you’re denied entry at the border for any reason.
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You are able to study in Canada for up to six months at a time with an eTA.
However, an eTA alone doesn’t permit you to work in Canada, or study in Canada for more than six months at a time.
If you’re from a visa-exempt country, you will automatically receive an eTA when your application for a work or study permit is approved. This means that you won’t need to apply separately for an eTA or pay any extra fees.
To check on the status of your eTA application, you can use the Canadian government online eTA Check Status tool.
You will need to enter the following information to check the status of your application:
- eTA application number
- Details from the passport you used to apply:
- Passport number
- Passport country of issuance
- Issue date
- Expiry date
If it’s been more than 72 hours since you applied and if you can’t get any information from the Check Status tool about the status of your application, you will need to contact IRCC through their online enquiry form.
You should always use the official Government of Canada website to apply for Canada’s eTA, as it is the only official channel to do so.
Be aware that there may be unofficial third-party websites online offering eTAs, or eTA applications. These websites are not affiliated with the Government of Canada and may also sometimes charge you additional fees other than the base CAN$7.
You do not need to print out any documents for the eTA. An eTA is electronically linked to your passport, and border service officers will be able to see the valid eTA linked to it when they scan it at the border.
eTAs are linked to passports, and not individual travellers. If you get a new passport, you will have to reapply for a new eTA for it to be linked to your new passport.