The Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is a program that came into effect in November 2016, and allows the Canadian government to pre-screen individuals who would not normally be vetted prior to entering Canada because they are not required to go through the visa process. If you are from one of the visa-exempt countries and are travelling to Canada by air, you now need to apply for and obtain an eTA before travelling to Canada. An eTA is not required when entering Canada by land or sea.
United States citizens are exempt from this requirement, but U.S. permanent residents need an eTA in addition to their American Green Card when travelling to Canada. Canadian permanent residents do not require an eTA, but they must travel with their permanent resident card or permanent resident travel document. It is important to note that if you are a dual citizen, you must now use your Canadian passport to travel to Canada. As a Canadian citizen you are ineligible to apply for an eTA and the online system will not allow you to obtain one; nonetheless, you will be flagged as a person who needs to obtain an eTA if you try to travel to Canada with your foreign passport. Therefore, you must travel with your valid Canadian Passport when entering Canada to avoid any issues.
You can apply for an eTA online on the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. It costs $7 CAD and is valid for 5 years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. You will receive an email from IRCC within a few minutes of your online application. However, if your application is one of the few cases that take longer to process, you can expect an email from the IRCC within 72 hours of applying that tells you the next step in your application and whether you need to provide the IRCC with more details. Once your application is approved, the eTA will be electronically linked to your passport, so make sure to travel with the passport with which you applied for an eTA.
We can answer any questions you have about the eTA. Contact us for a consultation by emailing us at [email protected] or by calling 416-847-3347.