Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

Travelling with the right type of document is vital. You need a passport. You must have a visa. As well, you will need some pieces of identification in some cases.

This is certainly the case if you are travelling to Canada. In almost all cases, travellers need a visa to enter Canada. Nevertheless, some do not need one to fly to the country.

Instead, what is required is something on a traveller’s passport that indicates visa exemption. For some foreign nationals, this document is all that is required to travel to Canada by air.

This particular travel document is none other than the electronic travel authorization or eTA for short.

What Is An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)?

An electronic travel authorization or eTA is an entry document for Canada. Other countries like Australia have a version of this as well.

It is a document that is included in a foreign national’s passport. It allows a foreign national to travel to Canada by air for short visits. An electronic travel authorization (eTA) allows a foreign national to stay in Canada for less than six months.

From its date of issue, the eTA is valid for five years. Within this time, a foreign national will not need a visa unless he or she will be arriving in Canada by other means. If a foreign national comes to Canada by any other means other than air, he or she might need a visa along with other pieces of identification.

The eTA is a requirement for entry to Canada by air. With that said, travellers do not need to present this when they travel within the country.

Who Needs An eTA To Enter Canada?

Generally, visa-exempt foreign nationals and temporary residents have the option of using an eTA.

Visa-Exempt Foreign Nationals

At the time of writing, 54 nationalities do not need a visa to enter Canada. Travellers from these nationalities have to apply for an eTA if their purpose for coming to Canada is to make a short visit. As mentioned earlier, when we say “short visit”, this means a period of no more than six months.

The Canadian government has a list of nationalities that only need an eTA and not a visitor visa. You could check out the main site of the government of Canada to see if your country is on the list of visa-exempt countries.

The eTA is an alternative to a visitor visa for those who wish to visit Canada on a flight.

Temporary Residents

Temporary foreign residents in Canada like students and temporary foreign workers also need an eTA. This is especially necessary if a foreign resident sees the need to leave Canada and return within the duration of his or her work or study permit.

In most cases, temporary residents will automatically receive an eTA. Upon returning to Canada, the temporary worker or student needs to present the following at the airport:

  • The letter of introduction
  • His or her valid passport to which the eTA is linked
  • A valid study or work permit

Is Anyone Exempt From An eTA Or Visa?

Some groups of travellers do not need an eTA or a visa to fly to Canada.

Canadian Citizens

Exempt from eTA

Canadian citizens do not need to present an eTA at the airport. All that is needed is the citizen’s valid Canadian passport upon arrival. This is also true for travellers with dual citizenship. Of course, one of the citizenships needs to be Canadian citizenship.

Permanent Residents of Canada

A permanent resident of Canada also does not need to get or apply for an eTA.  Although a permanent resident does not have a Canadian passport, he or she may re-enter Canada by presenting a number of documents. These are:

  • His or her valid passport
  • Permanent resident card (PR card)
  • Permanent resident travel document (in the absence of a PR card)

Citizens Of The United States

Like Canadian citizens, citizens of the United States will be granted entry into Canada by presenting their valid U.S. passports.

Besides a U.S. passport, a valid Green Card is also a useful and acceptable piece of identification for entry to Canada.

It is important to distinguish between citizens of the United States and permanent residents of the United States. While citizens can enter Canada without an eTA or visa, lawful permanent residents of the United States (though visa-exempt) still need an eTA to enter Canada. Also, lawful permanent residents of the U.S. need to present a valid passport or Green Card upon entry.

Foreign Nationals From St. Pierre And Miquelon

St. Pierre and Miquelon is an overseas territory of France. It has its own government, making it a self-governing territory of the country. It is located very close to Newfoundland.

Foreign nationals flying from St, Pierre and Miquelon may travel to Canada by air without a visa or eTA.

Foreign Nationals On Connecting Flights (In Canada)

At times, flights to the United States need to transit through a Canadian airport. In these situations, there is no need for passengers to have an eTA or visa when they board their connecting flights in Canada.

However, in the event of a long layover (more than 24 hours), a traveller needs to go to the Canadian airport’s CBSA office or desk.

How To Apply For An eTA

Applying for an eTA has been known to be a very easy and straightforward process. In fact, for most people, applying for an eTA takes no more than a few minutes. It may take several days but this is rare.

It is also inexpensive at about 7.00 Canadian dollars. Payment is made online so you will need a valid credit card or a debit card. You may also need to provide information like your email address at some point in the application.

You do not need to go through another application portal or agent to apply for an eTA.

Here are the steps to apply for an eTA:

Step 1: Apply Online

To make an online application for an eTA, you can visit the Canadian government’s main site. Here, you will be redirected to an online form where you must provide accurate and honest information.

It takes no more than a few minutes to complete this online form.

Step 2: Complete The Online Application Form

You will be asked questions about your passport number and your email address. You must answer as accurately and honestly as possible. It is best to be ready with your answers or information since the form does not come with an autosave feature.

Step 3: Pay The Necessary Fee/s

As mentioned earlier, applying for an eTA costs 7.00 CAD. This is the price for one eTA application. If you are applying for other people besides yourself, you must pay a separate fee of also 7.00 CAD.

Since the application is online, you must use a valid credit or debit card to pay the necessary fee.

Step 4: Wait For An Email

This is why your email address is part of the application process. If your application is approved, you will receive an email notification.

application for eTA

In most cases, approval occurs in a matter of minutes. Sometimes, you may be asked for other documents before your eTA application is approved. If this happens, you need to submit the required documents. You will be instructed on the required documents and steps to take within 72 hours after applying.

Conclusion

An eTA or electronic travel authorization is an entry requirement for foreign nationals to come to Canada. Foreign nationals who are visa-exempt need an eTA to visit Canada on a short-term basis.

It is easy and cheap to apply for an eTA. It only takes a few minutes and less than 10 Canadian dollars. After following a few easy steps, you can get your eTA.

With it, you can travel in and out of Canada as you please.

Choose Canada Magazine

Each member of our team at Choose Canada Magazine has been in Canada for over five years, and has helped dozens of people worldwide find their life in Canada.

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