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Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) required for travellers to Canada effective March 15, 2016

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has established a new entry requirement for visa-exempt, non-U.S. foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air called the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). The purpose of an eTA is to allow Canada to pre-screen eTA-required travellers to ensure that they are admissible to Canada. An eTA must be obtained by all foreign nationals who meet certain criteria prior to flying into Canada, effective March 15, 2016.

Who Needs an eTA?

An eTA is required by all foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air on or after March 15, 2016 who do not require a visa to travel to Canada.
However, there are some exceptions to this requirement. An eTA is not required by the following individuals:

  1. Individuals who hold a valid Canadian temporary resident visa or temporary resident permit;
  2. Citizens of the United States (permanent residents of the United States will require an eTA);
  3. Citizens of France who are residents of St. Pierre and Miquelon who seek to enter Canada directly from St. Pierre and Miquelon;
  4. Certain foreign nationals transiting through Canada as a passenger;
  5. Foreign nationals seeking to enter and remain in Canada solely to re-enter Canada following a visit solely to the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon, if they:
    • Held a study permit or a work permit that was issued before they left Canada on such a visit or were authorized to enter and remain in Canada as a temporary resident, and
    • Return to Canada by the end of the period initially authorized for their stay or any extension to it;
  6. Certain diplomats, visiting forces, or aviation crew or inspectors.

How Long is an eTA Valid?

An eTA is valid for a period of five (5) years, or until the foreign national’s passport expires, whichever occurs first.

How Does the eTA Work?

An eTA application is submitted online and collects the following information from applicants:

  • Passport details;
  • Personal details;
  • Occupation and previous travel;
  • Responses to background questions (to assess for health, criminality and immigration-related concerns); and
  • Contact information.

There is also a free-text field at the end of the application form which asks the applicant to indicate if there are additional details pertinent to the application. This allows an applicant to express an urgent need to travel to Canada, if necessary. No supporting documents are required at the time of the initial application.

Once submitted, the applicant will receive an automated e-mail confirming receipt of the application. If successful, an e-mail notifying the applicant of the approval will be sent. If further information is required, the applicant will receive an e-mail requesting additional documents. If the application is refused, the applicant will receive an e-mail noting the reasons for the refusal.

In most cases, the eTA will be approved within minutes of applying. In cases where additional processing time is required, the applicant will receive an e-mail from IRCC within 72 hours advising of next steps.

What to do After the eTA is Approved

Once the applicant has received the approval e-mail, no additional action is required by the applicant. The eTA is directly linked to the passport used in the eTA application, and this passport is the only document that needs to be presented at the time of boarding the flight to Canada.
If you meet the above criteria and require an eTA to fly into Canada after March 15, 2016, please contact our office for more information.


Law Firm Announcements

  • Jacqueline Bart has been nominated by her colleagues and peers as one of the world’s leading lawyers in the field of corporate immigration and citizenship law and was listed in Who’s Who Legal: Corporate Immigration 2016
  • BartLAW is the winner of the 2016 Corporate Intl Magazine Global Award: IMMIGRATION LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR IN CANADA
  • BartLAW won the ACQ Global Awards 2016: CANADA – IMMIGRATION LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR
  • Jacqueline Bart won inclusion in the Global Law Experts legal directory 2016
  • Jacqueline Bart won inclusion in the Immigration Law Experts directory 2016
  • BartLAW is also the ACQ5 Law Awards 2016 Category Winner: CANADA – LEADING CUSTOMER SERVICE LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR