Millions of foreign nationals travel to Canada each year. Most travellers need a visa OR an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to, or transit through, a Canadian airport – not both. Some people may only need their valid passport.
WHAT IS ELECTRONIC TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION (eTA)
An eTA is an entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. An eTA is electronically linked to a traveller’s passport. It is valid for up to five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. If you get a new passport, you need to get a new eTA.
With a valid eTA, you can travel to Canada as often as you want for short stays (normally for up to six months at a time). You do not need an eTA for travel within Canada.
An eTA doesn’t guarantee entry to Canada. When you arrive, a border services officer will ask to see your passport and other documents – for example, a U.S. Green Card. You must convince the officer that you are eligible for entry into Canada.
WHO NEEDS AN eTA TO TRAVEL TO CANADA?
There are four categories of travellers:
1. Travellers who need an eTA:
- Visa-exempt foreign nationals need an eTA to fly to or transit through a Canadian airport. These travellers do not need an eTA when arriving by car, bus, train or boat (including a cruise ship).
- Lawful permanent residents of the U.S. need an eTA to fly to or transit through a Canadian airport. They must present a valid Green Card and a valid passport at check-in.
2. Travellers who may be eligible to apply for an eTA:
- Citizens from select visa-required countries may be eligible to apply for an eTA, instead of a visa, to travel to Canada by air. However, these travellers need a visitor visa when arriving by car, bus, train, or boat, including a cruise ship.
3. Travellers who cannot apply for an eTA and need to carry other identification:
- Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, need a valid Canadian passport. American-Canadians can travel with a valid Canadian or U.S. passport.
- Canadian permanent residents need a valid permanent resident card or permanent resident travel document. Former residents of Canada should be aware that permanent resident (PR) status does not expire. If you once lived in Canada many years ago, you could still have PR status. You should learn more to avoid travel delays.
- Visa-required including alien’s passport holders and stateless individuals.
4. Travellers who are exempt from the eTA requirement:
- U.S. citizens are an example of travellers who exempt from the eTA requirement and must carry proper identification such as a valid U.S. passport. You should check the complete list of eTA exceptions.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR AN eTA?
Only apply for an eTA on the official Government of Canada website.
Applying for an eTA is a simple online process that takes just a few minutes to complete. Most applicants get their eTA approval (via an email) within minutes. However, some requests can take several days to process if you're asked to submit supporting documents. It is best to get an eTA before you book your flight to Canada.
An eTA costs CAD $7. You can only apply and pay for one person at a time. To complete the form, you will need your passport, a credit or debit card, and an email address. You must also answer a few questions.
Avoid this common mistake when you apply
If you enter the wrong passport number on the eTA form, you will have problems flying to Canada. Use the number that is at the top of your passport information page - the page with your photo.
What to bring to the airport
When your eTA is approved, it will be linked to the passport you used to apply. You need to present this passport when you check-in to your flight to Canada. The airline staff will scan your passport to confirm that you have a valid eTA. If you do not have one, you won’t be able to board your flight.
Get in Touch for more information or for applying for an eTA.