eTA Canada: Check Eligibility Criteria Steps To Apply & More

eTA Canada

Planning a short stay in Canada? The Electronic Travel Authorization is vital for visa-exempt foreign nationals who are travelling via air. This authorization, digitally linked to your passport, streamlines the process for multiple short visits to Canada. However, getting an eTA doesn’t guarantee entry. Learn about the eTA Canada application process, eligibility criteria, and what to expect upon arrival, including duration of stay and additional document requirements.

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What is eTA Canada?

An eTA or Electronic Travel Authorization is a mandatory entry document for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada. This authorization stays valid for a duration of up to 5 years or until the passport expires, whichever occurs first. You also need to get a new eTA when you renew your passport.

A valid eTA allows multiple short visits to Canada, typically up to 6 months each time. However, having an eTA does not guarantee entry; you must convince border services officers that you are eligible for entry into Canada.

An eTA is specifically required only for individuals from countries who do not require a visa to visit Canada, and if they are travelling to Canada by air. However, if you are from a visa-exempt country travelling through land, you do not need an eTA. Individuals with Canadian Citizenship or Canadian Permanent Residence, or a Canadian visa do not need an eTA to enter Canada.

Electronic Travel Authorization Canada: Latest Update

On February 29, 2024, the Visitor Visa and Electronic Travel Authorization Canada requirements for citizens of Mexico changed. As of 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time on February 29, 2024:

  • New eligibility requirements must be met to obtain an eTA.
  • Any existing eTA issued before 11:30 p.m. ET on February 29, 2024, has been cancelled unless you have a valid study permit or work permit.
  • If you had a pending eTA application at that time, you must submit a new eTA application or apply for a visitor visa.
  • Before travelling to Canada, you must apply for an eTA (only if you are eligible)
  • If no longer eligible for an eTA, applying for a visitor visa is necessary to travel to Canada

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eTA Canada Eligibility Criteria

To fly to or transit through a Canadian airport, you must have either an eTA or a visitor visa. You are eligible to apply for an eTA if you meet the following 3 criteria:

  • You have either held a Canadian visitor visa (temporary resident visa) within the past 10 years or currently have a valid United States nonimmigrant visa.
  • Your purpose of travel to Canada is for a short visit, business, or tourist activity, typically for stays of up to 6 months.
  • Transiting through or flying to a Canadian airport using a valid passport from one of the eligible visa-required countries.

If you do not fulfill all of these requirements, you will need a visitor visa (temporary resident visa) to travel to Canada.

Who Needs an ETA To Travel to Canada?

An eTA is necessary if you are a visa-exempt foreign national and intend to fly to or transit through a Canadian airport (You do not require an eTA or a visitor visa if you are entering Canada by car, bus, train, boat or even cruise ship).

Visa-Exempt (ETA Eligible) Travellers

The following travellers are required to obtain an eTA before boarding their flight to Canada:

British citizenBritish National (Overseas)British overseas citizen (re-admissible to the UK)
Taiwan needs to have an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan which includes their personal identification numberBritish Subject with a right of abode in the United KingdomBrunei Darussalam
CyprusCzech RepublicDenmark
GermanyGreeceVatican City State needs to have a travel document or passport issued by the Vatican.
Israel citizens need to have a national Israeli passportItalyJapan
Republic of KoreaLatviaLiechtenstein
MonacoNetherlandsNew Zealand
NorwayPapua New GuineaPoland
PortugalRomania (only for electronic passport holders)Samoa
San MarinoSingaporeSlovakia
SloveniaSolomon IslandsSpain
SwedenSwitzerlandVatican City State needs to have a travel document or passport issued by the Vatican.
United Arab EmiratesVatican City State, needs to have a travel document or passport issued by the Vatican.

If you are a citizen from certain visa-required countries and planning to travel to Canada by air, you may be eligible to apply for an eTA instead of a visitor visa. However, if you arrive by car, bus, train, or boat (including cruise ships), you will still need a visitor visa, not an eTA.

Eligible Visa-Required Countries

Check the eligible visa-required countries from the table below:

Antigua and BarbudaArgentina
BrazilCosta Rica
St. Kitts and NevisSt. Lucia
St. Vincent and the GrenadinesSeychelles
ThailandTrinidad and Tobago

Basic Requirements to Enter Canada

You must fulfill the basic requirements mentioned below to visit Canada:

  • Have a valid travel document (passport)
  • Have an eTA or visitor visa
  • Being in good health
  • Having no criminal or immigration-related convictions
  • Convincing the border officer that you have ties like financial assets, family, home or job, indicating your intent to return
  • Assurance to a border services officer of your intention to depart Canada upon completion of your visit
  • Having sufficient funds for your stay

Inadmissibility to Canada

An eTA does not ensure automatic entry into Canada. Upon arrival, a border services officer will request to inspect your passport and other pertinent documents. Several factors can make you inadmissible. In cases of inadmissibility, you will be denied a visa or Electronic Travel Authorization refused entry to, or deported from Canada. Reasons for potential inadmissibility are as follows:

For security reasons, which include:

  • Espionage
  • Subversion (such as attempts to overthrow a government)
  • Violence or terrorism
  • Membership in an organization engaged in any of the aforementioned activities

For human or international rights violations:

  • War crimes
  • Crimes committed against humanity
  • Holding a senior government position and is subject to international sanctions or  involved in gross human rights violations

Medical reasons, such as 

  • Medical conditions that threaten public health and safety
  • Result in excessive demand on health or social services (with some applicants exempted)

Additionally, grounds for other potential inadmissibility include:

  • Committing a crime like driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Involvement in organized crime, such as membership in an organization, engaged in organized criminal activities, money laundering or people smuggling
  • Financial reasons, if the individual is unable or unwilling to support themselves and their family members
  • Misrepresentation like providing false information or withholding information relevant to decisions under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)
  • Non-adherence to any rule or regulation stated in the IRPA
  • Having a family member who is inadmissible

eTA Canada Application: Steps to Apply

Make sure to apply for your eTA only through the official Government of Canada website. Applying for an eTA is quick and easy; it just takes a few minutes to complete. Most people receive approval via email within minutes. At times it may take a few days if extra documents are needed. 

The cost for an eTA is CAD 7, and you can only apply for one person at a time. It is recommended to obtain your eTA prior to booking your flight to Canada.

Documents Required for eTA Canada Application

You will need the following documents to apply for Electronic Travel Authorization Canada:

  • Valid passport from a visa-exempt country
  • An active email address
  • Acceptable methods of payment (CAD 7 fee non-refundable) are:
    – Visa®, Mastercard®, American Express®,
    – A pre-paid Visa®, Mastercard® or American Express®,
    – Visa Debit, or Debit Mastercard,
    – UnionPay®, or
    – JCB Card®

Overview of the eTA Canada Application

Applying for an eTA to visit Canada is a simple process that can be completed online. Below are the steps to follow:

  • Step 1: Have your passport, credit or debit card, and check the help document.
  • Step 2: Complete the online application form. Note that the form cannot be saved, so ensure you have all the necessary information at handy.
  • Step 3: Pay the CAD 7 fee for your eTA immediately upon form completion.
  • Step 4: You will receive an email regarding your eTA application. Most of the time, the applications are approved within minutes. (OR)
  • Step 5: If any other documents are required for approval, you will receive an email with instructions within 72 hours.

The email you receive will explain what you need to do next. Make sure to check your email’s junk or spam folder for messages from the Government of Canada. Sometimes, automated emails may get filtered out.

Common mistake to avoid: Entering an incorrect passport number on the eTA form can lead to difficulties when travelling to Canada. 

Refer to the eTA Canada help guide for guidance and carefully follow the instructions to input your passport number accurately. You need to use the number located at the top of your passport information page.

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Post-Application Process for Canada Electronic Travel Authorization

Upon approval, you will receive an email notification mentioning your eTA number. If you change your email after applying for an eTA, it’s essential to update your mail address online using the provided web form.

Verify Your Passport Information

Check if the passport number provided in the eTA approval email matches with your passport. If there’s any discrepancy, you need to reapply with the correct passport number.

Boarding Requirements for eTA Holders

Your eTA will be linked with the passport used during the application process. You must present this passport during check-in for your flight to Canada; there’s no need to print any additional documents.

Airline staff will scan your passport to verify the validity of your eTA. Failure to have a valid eTA will result in being unable to board your flight.

Situations Requiring Additional Documents Upon Arrival

If you or a companion fall into either of the scenarios outlined below, you need to have the specified documents readily accessible:

Travelling with a Minor Child :

In Canada, a child under the age of 18 is classified as a minor. You may be asked to present:

  • A letter from one or both parents or a legal guardian granting permission for the minor child to travel to Canada.
  • Additional documents, such as adoption papers or a custody decree, depending on whether the minor child is travelling alone or not.

Check further details here minors travelling to Canada.

Invitation to Canada:

  • If you have received a letter from a person or organization to visit Canada, it’s advisable to bring the invitation letter with you. A border services officer may request to review it.

Learn more about letters of invitation for travelling to Canada.

Arriving in Canada With eTA

The officer will assess whether you fulfill all entry criteria. Upon your arrival, a border services officer will request to view your passport and other travel documents. They will verify your identity to confirm that you are the same individual approved for travel to Canada.

If you enter at 1 of the 10 major Canadian airports

Your fingerprints will be checked at a primary inspection kiosk. The system will compare your identity with the information collected during your application submission.

If you enter at smaller airports and all land ports of entry

Your fingerprints may undergo verification if you are directed to a secondary inspection. Here, a border services officer will utilize a fingerprint verification device to authenticate your fingerprints.

Entering Canada with eTA Authorization

If you successfully clear the identity check, health assessment, and satisfy the entry requirements, the border services officer may either stamp your passport or inform you of the permitted duration of your stay in Canada, typically up to 6 months. At times, the officer may adjust the duration of your stay to align with the intended purpose of your visit. 

Providing false or incomplete information will result in denial of entry into Canada. You must demonstrate to the officer that:

  • You meet the entry requirements
  • You will depart Canada after your authorized stay

If you fail to comply with the conditions of your temporary resident status, you will be asked to leave Canada. Most individuals asked to depart have the right to a fair hearing to review the decision.

How Long Can I Stay With eTA Authorization?

Typically, visitors are permitted to stay in Canada for a maximum of 6 months.

Upon arrival at the port of entry, a border services officer may authorize a stay of fewer or more than 6 months. In such cases, they will indicate the departure date in your passport. They may also issue a document called a Visitor Record specifying the departure date.

If you didn’t receive a stamp in your passport, you are allowed to stay in Canada for 6 months from the date of entry or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. Additionally, if you require a stamp, you can request one from a border services officer. If you arrive at an airport equipped with primary inspection kiosks, you need to approach the border officer after completing the kiosk process.

FAQs on eTA Canada

Below are commonly asked questions along with their corresponding answers regarding eTA Canada:

Q. What is the eTA for Canada?
A. An eTA or Electronic Travel Authorization is a prerequisite for visa-exempt foreign nationals flying to Canada. It’s digitally connected to the traveller’s passport.

Q. How long does a Canadian ETA last?
A. The Canadian eTA remains valid for up to 5 years or until the passport expires (whichever ever comes first). 

Q. How long does it take to get an eTA for Canada?
A. Most applicants who meet the eligibility criteria and admissibility requirements are typically approved for an eTA within minutes of submission.

Q. Who is eligible for Canada eTA?
A. You qualify to apply for an eTA if you meet three conditions: you have previously held a Canadian visitor visa (temporary resident visa) within the last decade or currently have a valid United States nonimmigrant visa. You are travelling to Canada for a short visit, business, or tourist activity, typically for stays of up to 6 months. You are either transiting through or flying to a Canadian airport using a valid passport from one of the eligible visa-required countries.

Q. What is the difference between eTA and visa?
A. Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs) are necessary for foreign nationals who need visas to enter Canada. On the other hand, Electronic Travel Authorization Canada permits foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries to enter Canada without a visa.

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