As with any vacation abroad, it is important to research visa requirements beforehand to ensure a smooth arrival. In the case of a trip to Canada, if you are not required to obtain a visa, it is likely that you’ll need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).
What is an eTA for Canada?
As the name suggests, an eTA is a type of travel authorization that is electronically linked to your passport. It is not a visa, and most travelers will need an eTA in order to fly to Canada or transit through a Canadian airport.
Who Needs an eTA for Canada?
All visa-exempt foreign nationals need an eTA for Canada. A visa-exempt foreign national is someone who is not a citizen or a permanent resident of Canada and does not require a visa to enter the country. You can find a list of countries with visa-exempt travelers on the official website of the Government of Canada.
It is important to note that these travelers are only required to obtain an eTA if they are traveling to Canada by plane or transiting through a Canadian airport. If you are from a country on the visa-exempt list and entering Canada by land or sea, you will not be required to obtain an eTA.
If you are from a country that requires you to obtain a visa or you already hold a valid Canadian visa, you will not need an eTA to enter Canada.
US Citizens with proper identification, such as a valid US passport, are not required to obtain an eTA or a visa to visit Canada. However, lawful permanent residents of the United States will need to obtain an eTA and present their Green Card and a valid passport upon arrival.
Additional eTA exemptions include French citizens living in Saint Pierre and Miquelon who are flying directly from their home territory to Canada, passengers flying to or from the United States on a flight stopping in Canada to refuel, passengers on a flight that makes an unscheduled stop in Canada, and passengers transiting through Canada who are part of the Transit Without Visa or China Transit Program.
How to Apply for an eTA for Canada
Fortunately, it is fairly quick, easy, and affordable to apply for an eTA for Canada. Applicants can find the official instructions on the website of the Government of Canada and apply online.
All you’ll need to fill out the online form is a valid email address, your passport or other travel documentation, and a credit or debit card to pay the $7 CAD fee. It should take between 5 and 10 minutes to complete the form, and once you’ve finished, you will receive confirmation via email.
Most eTA applications are approved within minutes, although there are exceptions, and it is recommended that you receive your eTA before booking your flight. Some applicants may be required to submit additional documentation before their eTA can be approved. In this case, instructions will be sent to your email within 72 hours. Be sure to fill out the form carefully and double check all of your information before submitting. Any errors could delay the approval of your eTA.
How Long is an eTA for Canada Valid?
An eTA is valid for five years or until the passport it is linked to expires, whichever comes first. During this time you can travel to Canada as often as you’d like for periods of up to six months.
Hopefully this guide has helped answer some of your questions and brought you one step closer to your Canadian vacation! For more information about an eTA for Canada and answers to frequently asked questions, check out the Visit Canada page on the official website for the Government of Canada.