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CANADA – Government Allows Leniency Period for Electronic Travel Authorisation

, 09/03/2016

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has announced that, from 15 March 2016 to Autumn 2016, visa exempt foreign national travellers who do not yet have an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) can board their flight, as long as they have an appropriate travel document, such as a valid passport, and meet the other requirements to enter Canada.

What is the eTA?

From 15 March 2016, visa exempt foreign nationals are expected to have an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada. The eTA is an online registration system that travellers access online. eTAs are valid for five years, or until the expiration date of a passport, whichever comes first.

Who Needs an eTA?

The eTA requirement applies to travelers who do not need a visa to enter Canada and who are planning to arrive by air. Visa exempt countries include the UK, Japan, Australia, Korea, countries in the European Union and more.

The eTA requirement does not apply to citizens of the US and it is not required if a person is entering at a land or sea port of entry.

A list of nationalities requiring an eTA is available here.

From sometime after March 2016, nationals of Brazil, Bulgaria, Mexico or Romania who hold a current US non-immigrant visa, or who have held a Canadian visa in the past ten years, will be allowed to enter Canada with an eTA instead of a visa.

What is the eTA Application Process?

The eTA process involves entering a traveler’s personal details and passport information into an online portal and paying a fee of $7CAD. Every traveler must obtain an eTA – including children.

In most cases, CIC will approve the eTA within minutes of applying. In situations where an immediate decision is not given, CIC will follow up with applicants with requests to obtain more information.

Action Items

  • Visa-waiver nationals (other than US nationals) travelling to Canada should register for an eTA before travelling, as the leniency period is temporary.