Through bilateral agreements with certain countries, Canada Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) allow the movement of citizens of these countries and Canadians in and out of partnering countries without a visa. These countries form the list of visa – exempt countries with each other, this is also the case with Canada and some other countries, where interest amongst themselves have been captured in a memorandum of understanding pertaining to immigration relations and other economic and political subjects.
Nationals of visa exempt countries, however, would require an immigration authorization which permits them to enter into their allied country legally. This authorization is called an electronic travel authorization (ETA), a permit issued by the electronic system of travel authorization (ESTA).
Canada Electronic Travel Authorization?
An electronic travel authorization is an immigration entry requirement which permits for visa exempt foreign nationals access to enter Canada or to make a transit through Canada by air. The ETA is electronically linked to the immigrants / travelers passport. The duration of an ETA lasts for atleast 6 months, the Eta grants the foreign national permit to enter into Canada as often as he or she wants, usually for short stays. It is also noteworthy to mention that any foreign national traveling or transiting from Canada by car, bus, train, or boat, including a cruise ship regardless of whether he or she is a citizen of a visa exempt country or not will be required to apply for a visitor visa.
What is the Electronic System for Travel Authorization?
The electronic system of travel authorization is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to a country for which application is made. Particularly in the United States, the Esta is used to determine eligible visitors to the US via the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
When to Apply for an ESTA
The ESTA can be applied for anytime, it usually takes just a few seconds for its approval, it however, advisable to apply for it atleast 72 hours before your date of departure. As soon as you start planning your trip and decided on travel date is better to apply for your ESTA at that time.
When to Apply for a Canada Electronic Travel Authorization
The ETA application is a simple online process. approval usually takes just a few minutes and it is often sent by mail, some request can take longer or more days to process depending on if you are asked to submit other supporting documents, to be on the safe side it is reasonable to get your ETA before you book your flight to Canada.
Who Needs an ETA to Travel to Canada?
- If you are a citizen or foreign national of a visa – exempt country and you are flying to or making a transition through a Canadian airport, you will need an ETA. If you are however, arriving by any other means aside from air, say; car, bus, train, boat or cruise ship, you do not need an ETA or a visitor visa.
- If you are a lawful permanent resident of the United State and you are flying to or transiting through a Canadian airport. you must have a valid green card and passport to be presented at the airport for check in. Also, as a US citizen or green card holder, you do not need an ETA or visitor visa if you are arriving or transiting by car, bus, train, or ship.
- If you are citizen of a select visa 0 required country, under certain conditions you may be eligible to only apply for an ETA instead of a visitor visa. nevertheless, should you be arriving or transiting by any other means aside from air, you will also need an ETA.
Other Exemptions Include:
- Canadian Citizens: Individuals who are Canadian citizens or America – Canadians must hold and travel with a valid Canadian or American passport.
- Canadian Permanent Residents: You don’t need an ETA or a visitor visa as a permanent resident. You however, must travel with a valid permanent resident card, or a permanent resident document.
- Visa – required travelers: If you are visa – required, or an alien passport holder or a stateless person, you do not need an ETA, you require a Visitor visa to enter or transit Canada.
- Important – former residents of Canada: Permanent resident (PR) status does not expire. If you once lived in Canada, even if it was many years ago, you could still have PR status.
What are the Basic Requirements to Enter Canada
- Be in good health
- Have a valid travel document, such as a passport
- Have a valid ETA or visitor visa
- Have no criminal records or immigration related offenses
- Have enough money for your stay
- Be able to convince a Border Service Officer that you will leave Canada at expiration of your visiting period
- Provide proof to a Border Service Officer, that you have valuable ties such as job, home, business, family or financial assets, which will prompt you back to your home country.
What can make you inadmissible to Canada
The possession of an ETA does not guarantee you entry into card, unless certain other criteria are met and satisfied. These may include the following:
- An invalid passport and other invalid or incomplete travel documents
- Involvement in criminal activities, organized crime and / or human rights violations.
- Security reasons
- Health reason
- Financial reasons
What is the Validity period of an ETA
An ETA is valid for 5 years or until the validity period of the passport on which its linked expires, which ever comes first. You do not need to revalidate or apply for a new ETA every time you wish to travel to Canada, an ETA is valid for as many trips you must make for the period of 5 years.
Eligibility for ETA Application
- To apply for an ETA you must have a valid passport
- Have a valid credit or debit card
- Have an email address
- Provide suitable answers to questions which will be asked you in the online application
Step by Step Application Process
- Get your passport, credit card or debit ready and read the supporting documents
- Use the online form to apply. The form cannot be saved, so you must have your information ready
- Pay $7 CAD for your ETA right after you complete the form
- Get an email about your ETA applications, this usually comes in minutes of application submission
- Otherwise, you may need to submit further documents before your Eta application can be approved, should this be the case, an email will be sent to you with instructions on what to do within 72 hours.
The following are acceptable means of payment of your $7 application fees and its is non-refundable.
- American Express®
- A pre-paid Visa®
- A pre-paid MasterCard®
- A pre-paid American Express®,
- Visa Debit
- Debit Mastercard
- JCB Card®
Note: The ETA application can only be done for one person at a time. That is if you have a family of say four, will need to apply four times and also ensure to print your receipt right away as you will not be able to reprint it another time or sent a copy of it.
Countries Eligible for Canada Electronic Travel Authorization
Close to 60 countries around the world are eligible for a Canadian ETA. Citizens of these countries can easily and quickly get their ETA by applying online after supplying their passport data and other biographical details. However, these travelers do not need an eTA if entering by land or sea – for instance driving from the U.S. or coming by bus, train, or boat, including cruise ship.
- British citizen
- British National (Overseas)
- British overseas citizen (re-admissible to the United Kingdom)
- British overseas territory citizen with citizenship through birth, descent, naturalization or registration in one of the British overseas territories of:
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
- Pitcairn Island
- Saint Helena
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- British Subject with a right of abode in the United Kingdom
- Brunei Darussalam
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, must have a passport issued by Hong Kong SAR.
- Israel, must have a national Israeli passport
- Republic of Korea
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Romania (electronic passport holders only)
- San Marino
- Solomon Islands
- Taiwan, must have an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes the personal identification number
- United Arab Emirates
- United States, lawful permanent resident of
- Vatican City State, must have a passport or travel document issued by the Vatican.
Do Students and Workers Need an ETA?
A student or worker from a visa – exempt country who have been granted a student visa, study permit or a work permit, will be automatically issued an ETA when their application for study permit or work permit is approved by IRCC. Students and workers from visa required countries on the other hand must need to apply for a visa in conjunction with their study or work permit.