An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is a new requirement for foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries arriving in Canada by air, whether to visit the country directly or to pass through in transit.
Do I need an Electronic Travel Authorization?
You need an eTA if you are travelling to Canada by air from a visa-exempt country. A full list of visa-exempt countries is available here.
The requirement came into effect as of March 15, 2016, although the Canadian government introduced a period of leniency until September 29, 2016.
Anyone flying after this date will not be allowed to board the plane without an eTA.
The following are exempt from requiring an eTA:
- Those who have already obtained a valid visa to enter Canada.
- Anyone entering by land or sea.
- Armed Forces visiting Canada on official duty.
- Students who have a valid Canadian study permit dated on or after August 1, 2015 (see below).
- Flight crew, civil aviation inspectors, accident investigators.
- Temporary Foreign Workers who have a valid Canadian work permit date on or after August 1, 2015.
- French citizens who live in and are travelling from St. Pierre and Miquelon.
- Persons entering from the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon, while holding valid status in Canada.
- Accredited diplomats.
- Canadian citizens and dual citizens (provided you are travelling on a Canadian passport)
- Canadian permanent residents (you need your PR card or point of entry documentation)
- US citizens (US permanent residents, or green card holders, DO require an eTA when travelling by air)
Special Case: Mexican Nationals
Mexicans were recently granted the right to travel to Canada without a visa. This rule change will be implement from December 1. Therefore, the following applies:
- Mexican nationals require a visa to enter Canada until November 30, 2016;
- After November 30, Mexicans will require an eTA;
- Mexicans with a visa still valid from before November 30 will not require an eTA.
Special Case: International Students
- If you received your study or work permit on or before July 31, 2015, you will need to apply for an eTA if you wish to enter or return to Canada by air.
- If you received your study or work permit on or after August 1, 2015, you were automatically issued an eTA with your study or work permit. No further action is required; however, please ensure that you travel to Canada using the same passport you used to apply for your study or work permit.
How do I get an Electronic Travel Authorization?
You can apply for an eTA through the Canadian federal government website.
Before you apply, you will need:
- Valid passport
- As a US permanent resident, you can apply with:
- Valid US refugee travel document (I-571)
- Valid permit to re-enter the US (I-327)
- Credit card to pay the $7 fee
- Valid email address
To apply for an eTA click here.
When should I apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization?
The Canadian government advises you to apply as soon as you know you travel itinerary.
However, an eTA can be obtain at the last minute via a smartphone. All you need is an internet connection. The email authorization often only takes a few minutes to come through.
There is no requirement to print an eTA. It is electronically linked to your passport or travel document.
How long is an Electronic Travel Authorization valid for?
An eTA can be valid for five years, or until your passport or travel document expires.