Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. Why did Canada introduce electronic Travel Authorization?
  • 2. What, or who, is a visa-exempt foreign national?
  • 3. When does/did eTA come into operation?
  • 4. Do I require an eTA in order to visit Canada?
  • 5. Are there any exceptions?
  • 6. Do I need an eTA and a visitor visa?
  • 7. I'm a citizen of the United States. Do I need an eTA to visit Canada by air?
  • 8. I have U.S. permanent residency (Green Card). Do I need a visa or an eTA to visit Canada, or can I use my Green Card?
  • 9. When should I apply?
  • 10. Can I make multiple visits to Canada with an eTA?
  • 11. Are applications made online?
  • 12. How long does it take to fill out an application?
  • 13. What information is being requested on the eTA application?
  • 14. How long does it take to receive authorization once the application is submitted?
  • 15. What do applicants need in order to apply?
  • 16. Is there a fee? If so, how much is the fee?
  • 17. For how long is an eTA valid?
  • 18. I leave for Canada in a few days but I cannot submit the additional documents required for my eTA application by the requested deadline. Can I still travel to Canada?
  • 19. Do all work permits/study permits issued by visa posts, ports-of-entry, and Vegreville after Aug 1, 2015 have ETAs attached to them? If so, how do I find out what the ETA number is?
  • 20. If an ETA is issued with a work permit/study permit, is it valid for the length of time of the work permit/study permit or is it valid for 5 years (or when the passport expires, if it's before 5 years)?
  • 21. If an individual received a work permit or study permit at a Canadian Port of Entry but did not received a confirmation letter afterwards, how would he or she check whether he or she has been issued an eTA and what the eTA number is?
  • 23. If an individual does not know his or her eTA number (for example, if he or she wasn't told what his or her eTA number when receiving a work permit at a Port of Entry), would he or she then able to apply again for another eTA? Would the system prevent
  • 23. What are the possible reasons for refusal?
  • 24. If I am refused an eTA, is there some way I can still visit Canada?
  • 25. Is the eTA system similar to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) in use by the United States of America?
  • 26. Are there any age exemptions for eTA?
  • 27. Will having entered Canada previously trigger a secondary examination?
  • 28. Do individuals who have been issued a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) document need an ETA in order to land in Canada?
  • 29. When will citizens from Brazil, Bulgaria, Mexico and Romania be able to apply for an eTA?

The system allows the government of Canada to tailor screening requirements based on the risks posed by individual travellers, making it easier and faster for low-risk travellers to come to Canada. Previously, visa-exempt foreign nationals seeking entry to Canada are not systematically screened for admissibility until they arrive at a Canadian port of entry.

The number of visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada on a temporary basis per year is significantly larger than the number of visa-required travellers. For example, visa-exempt foreign nationals, excluding U.S. citizens, represent approximately 74 per cent of foreign nationals who arrive by air in Canada.

A visa-exempt foreign national is a person who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, and who does not normally need a visa to enter Canada.

Since August 1, 2015, eligible travellers have been able to apply for an eTA. Visa-exempt foreign nationals are expected to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada. Exceptions include U.S. citizens, and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, and Canadian permanent residents are not eligible to apply for an eTA.

However, until September 29, 2016, travellers who do not have an eTA can board their flight, as long as they have appropriate travel documents, such as a valid passport. During this time, border services officers can let travellers arriving without an eTA into the country, as long as they meet the other requirements to enter Canada.

As of March 16, 2016, an eTA is required for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. Citizens of visa-exempt countries and territories are generally able to visit or transit through Canada with a valid passport and without obtaining a visa for a period of up to six months.

A number of exemptions from the requirement to obtain pre-approval to travel will be in place, including:

  • nationals of the United States,
  • individuals already in possession of a Canadian temporary resident visa,
  • certain foreign diplomats,
  • commercial air crew,
  • citizens of France who are residents of St. Pierre and Miquelon,
  • individuals in possession of a visa to enter the United States on a flight bound for that country in transit through Canada, where the sole purpose of the flight stopping in Canada is for purpose of refuelling,
  • individuals transiting through Canada as a passenger on a flight who are in possession of any visa required to enter the country of destination;
  • individuals carrying out official duties as a member of the armed forces of a country that is a designated state for the purposes of the Visiting Forces Act,
  • study or work permit holders re-entering Canada following a visit solely to the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon, and
  • Her Majesty in right of Canada and any member of the Royal Family.

No. An eTA is only required for visa-exempt travellers. Citizens of countries that are not currently visa-exempt country who wish to enter Canada for a temporary purpose, such as tourists, temporary foreign workers (work permits) and international students (study permits), must apply for and be granted a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). The TRV is a document issued by a Canadian Immigration Visa Office outside Canada, showing that the holder has satisfied the requirements for admission to Canada as a visitor. Temporary Resident Visas may be for single entry or multiple entry.

Citizens of the United States do not need an eTA or a visa. However, proper identification must be presented.

As a U.S. Green Card holder, you do not need a visitor visa (TRV) to travel to Canada. However, you need an eTA if you plan to fly to Canada.
When flying to Canada, you will need to present:

  • proof of status in the U.S. (such as a valid Green Card), and
  • your valid passport that you used to apply for your eTA.

The Canadian border services officer will verify your eTA when you arrive in Canada.When travelling by land or sea directly from the U.S., you will only need to provide proof of your U.S. lawful permanent resident status (such as your Green Card).

Most eTA applications are approved within minutes of applying, and therefore an application can be made close to the intended departure date. However, it is recommended that travellers requiring an eTA submit an application well in advance of their intended departure date, as some requests may require more time to process. If this is the case for your application, you can expect an email from IRCC within 72 hours informing you what your next steps are.

Yes, you can make multiple visits to Canada with a valid eTA.

Yes. If the applicant is unable to make the application by means of the electronic system because of a physical or mental disability, it may be made by another means, including a paper application form.

A straightforward application generally takes only a few minutes to complete and submit.

The eTA includes the applicant's name, date and place of birth, gender, address, nationality, and passport and/or travel document information. The application form also asks applicants about the funds they have available for their travel to Canada and contact information.

Most eTA applications are approved within minutes of applying, though some requests may require more time to process. If this is the case for your application, you can expect an email from IRCC within 72 hours informing you what your next steps are.

Applicants need a passport, a credit card, an email address and a few minutes to complete the online form.

A fee of CAD $7.00 will be required for processing

Electronic Travel Authorization is valid for a period of five years from the day on which it is issued to the applicant or until the earliest of the following days, if they occur before the end of that period:

  • the day on which the applicant's passport or another travel document expires, or
  • the day on which the electronic travel authorization is cancelled, or
  • the day on which a new electronic travel authorization is issued to the applicant.

If you are waiting for someone (e.g. police department, doctor) or another third party to send you documents, or have problems uploading the documents and cannot submit them by the deadline, you may submit a case specific enquiry to request an extension to the deadline.
As of August 1, 2015, individuals who are issued an initial study or work permit will automatically be issued an eTA along with their permit. For work permit or study permit renewal applications, the eTA will not be automatically renewed. If you wish to exit and re-enter Canada by air, you will need to ensure that your eTA is still valid. If your eTA has expired, you will need to apply for a new one as soon as you can and before the eTA leniency period ends on September 29, 2016.

Study permits and work permits issued to visa-exempt foreign nationals on or after August 1, 2015 had an eTA issued with them. The only work permits and study permits issued on or after August 1 that would not have had an eTA issued with them are work permit and study permit extensions issued by the Vegreville Case Processing Centre in Alberta. For ease of reference, the eTA number can be found in the Letter of Introduction given to study permit and work permit holders.

The validity of an eTA issued to a visa-exempt foreign national alongside a work or study permit is independent from that of the permit; therefore, the eTA is valid for five years or passport expiry, whichever occurs sooner. That same eTA can be used for multiple entries to Canada, including after March 15, 2016. In addition, the eTA is electronically linked to the individual's passport; therefore, s/he must use that same passport when travelling to Canada.

In this instance, in order to obtain the eTA number, the individuals should submit a case-specific enquiry form to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) explaining the situation. An email response from IRCC will contain the eTA number.

Individuals who find themselves in this situation, or who simply wish to re-apply for a new eTA, may do so at any time. Once the more recent eTA is approved, it will replace the one that already exists. If the individual applies for another eTA, but on a different passport, that eTA - once approved - would not replace the one that already exists; it would be tied to the second passport, which the individual could use when travelling to Canada by air. In either case, the system will not prevent the individual from proceeding.

Reasons for refusal may be for prior criminality or for medical reasons.
In terms of criminal inadmissibility, something as seemingly minor as an old DUI (Driving Under the Influence) going back a number of years can result in being rejected. Even if the crime was minor in nature, and even if the person's criminal record has been clean since it took place, Canada still has the right to deny entry. Some examples of convictions that could make you inadmissible to Canada include: DWAI, Theft, Petty Theft/Larceny, Assault, Drunk & Disorderly Conduct, Obstruction of Justice, Possession of marijuana, cocaine or other controlled substances/drugs, and cautions (issued in the United Kingdom).
More serious reasons for refusal can include membership in terrorist organizations, espionage, participation in war crimes or crimes against humanity, international human rights violations, membership in organized crime groups, criminality, or issues endangering public health, such as tuberculosis.
In 2012-2013, the total number of visa-exempt foreign nationals who arrived in Canada and were deemed inadmissible for entry at air ports of entry was 7,055. This resulted in significant expense, delay and inconvenience for these foreign nationals, other travellers, the airlines and the Canadian government. As such, the eTA system has been brought into operation.

Citizens of eTA-required (i.e. TRV-exempt) countries who are refused an eTA may be issued a temporary resident permit depending on the nature and circumstances of the inadmissibility and the continuing rationale for travel. The visa office responsible for the applicant's country may have its own application form for temporary resident permits. Applicants should check the visa office to find out about its specific application procedures.

The eTA system mirrors the current U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) program, and is very similar to it in a number of ways. The governments of Canada and the U.S. have stated that eTA and ESTA systems form a common approach to screening travellers outside the North American perimeter.

No. All travellers from eTA-required countries, regardless of their age, need an eTA when they fly to Canada.

Records of a previous entry to Canada will not trigger secondary examination, unless those records contain adverse information to that enter in the application for an eTA.

Visa-exempt foreign nationals who have been issued a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) document also receives an electronic authorization to travel to Canada and, therefore, does not need an eTA. This process is not visible to these individuals, and they do not need to print out any additional information. They will, however, need to travel to Canada with their valid passport and valid Confirmation of Permanent Residence document.

Citizens of Mexico will be able to apply for an eTA as of December 1, 2016. There is no confirmed date yet for eTA expansion for Brazil, Bulgaria, or Romania, however, it is expected to be implemented only after eTA is fully implemented for citizens who do not need a visa to come to Canada. Until then, citizens from Brazil, Bulgaria, and Romania still need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to travel to Canada.

Services offered by Canadian Immigration Consultants: Express Entry | Study Permit | Business Investment | Family Sponsorship | Visit/Tourist Visa

Life Ashore Immigration Consultancy Inc. provides Canadian Immigration Services to clients across Etobicoke, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Oakville, Vaughan, Markham, Guelph, Milton, Burlington, Hamilton, Newmarket, Scarborough, St. Catharines, Canada, India, Middle East, UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and many other countries.