In 2019, Canada had at least 22.1 million visitors. Many of these travelers needed to possess an eTA.
Certain travelers are required to possess an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to transit through to or fly to a Canadian airport. This document is applicable for visa-exempt foreign nationals who travel to Canada via airplane. Your eTA is digitally linked to your passport.
Although a Canada eTA is an extremely important document, having one does not automatically guarantee that you will enter Canada. You are still required to prove to the immigration officer that you can enter the country.
What is an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)?
Visa-exempt foreign nationals who will travel to Canada by air are required to possess an electronic Travel Authorization or eTA. This document is digitally linked to your passport at the moment it is assigned to you. It has a validity of five years. However, if you change your password for whatever reason, you are required to obtain an eTA again.
An eTA allows you to travel to Canadian territory whenever you want or need it without restrictions, but only for short stays. This digital document is not required for trips within Canada.
Please remember that obtaining an eTA does not mean you will be granted immediate access to Canada. We recommend you check whether you are eligible for entry into Canadian territory on the official website for Canada.
Who needs an eTA?
There are different types of travelers who need an eTA to enter Canada. According to the government of Canada, an eTA is only available for visa-exempt foreign nationals. It will allow them to fly or transit through Canadian airports. An eTA will not be necessary if they travel to or through Canada by land or sea.
However, citizens from certain select-visa-required countries may obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization under certain conditions – but only if they require to travel through or to Canada by air. These travelers will require a visitor visa if they are entering Canada through land or sea.
Who CAN NOT apply for an eTA?
Not everyone needs an eTA. These travelers are required to have other types of identification. The situations where this rule is applicable are the following:
Canadian citizens and dual citizens need an authentic and current Canadian passport.
Canadian permanent residents must show a legitimate permanent resident card or travel document.
In addition to the cases mentioned above, visa-required (such as people with an alien’s passport or stateless persons) cannot apply for an eTA.
Who is exempt from requiring an eTA?
Some people are required to show another document rather than an eTA, while others are exempt from the requirement at all. In this case, the traveler is required to carry proper identification. Here are the situations where this norm applies:
U.S. citizens are not required to obtain an eTA but are required to show other means of identification. It can be a legitimate U.S. passport, for instance.
Permanent residents of the U.S. are not required to possess an eTA either, but they must carry official proof of status or an equivalent document, as well as a valid password from their origin country. You can check a list of all the requirements accepted for permanent residents of the U.S.
How to apply for a Canada eTA
At the moment, it is only possible to apply for an eTA through the official site of the Government of Canada. The eTA application form is not a complicated process and will only require a few minutes of your day. You may not have to wait several days to get approval, as it may be approved within a few minutes. However, there are instances where you may be required to submit extra documents.
The Canadian government recommends obtaining an eTA before booking your flight to prevent delays. The document has a cost of CAD $7. Since it is an individual document, paying for a single individual at a time is only possible.
Make sure you have your passport, a credit card, and a valid email address at hand before completing the form. It consists of a few questions. Once your eTA is approved, you will be notified via email.
Upon approval of your eTA, please ensure that the passport number the approval email specifies is the same number in your passport. If the numbers are different, you are required to apply for a new eTA, as the current one is invalid and cannot be used to enter Canada.
Other useful information
The Canadian government has made available an eTA help guide that you can use to complete the eTA process straightforwardly. Again, make sure to enter the valid passport number to prevent problems from happening in the future – if your eTA and passport numbers are different, the document is invalid, and you will have to apply for an eTA again.