Canada eTA Requirements

Entry requirements for Canada are changing

From mid-March 2016 you will need to have your Canadian Permanent residents card or Permanent Residents Travel Documents whenever flying to Canada otherwise you may not be permitted to board the flight.

If you don’t have a Permanent Residents card at the moment then find out how to go about applying for a Permanent Resident Travel Document.

Canada eTA Requirements

When visiting Canada, it is necessary for you to always carry proper travel documentation and identification for both yourself and any children who may be travelling with you.

It is the responsibility of transport companies, including airlines, to ensure that you have all the proper, valid travel documentation you need. If not, then you may be delayed or will not be allowed to board the plane.

The following travel documents are not considered reliable and cannot be used to enter Canada:

  • passports supposedly issued by Somalia,
  • non-machine readable passports issued by the Czech Republic,
  • temporary passports issued by the Republic of South Africa and
  • provisional passports issued by Venezuela.

How long am I welcome in Canada as a visitor?

The Border Services Officer at the Canadian port of entry (POE) will determine how long you are allowed to stay in the country. Most visitors are welcome for a duration of six months from their date of entry, however if the officer only authorizes a shorter period, the date that you must leave Canada by will be indicated in your passport.

If you would like to stay for longer than the period that was authorized then you will need to apply for an extension no less than 30 days BEFORE you are required to depart.

What is an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)?

eTA is a new entry requirement for foreign nationals with visa exempt status who are planning to travel to Canada by air. The authorization is linked electronically to your passport and is valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

Do I need an eTA or visa for Canadian travel?

Depending on which country you are a citizen of you may not need a visa, however you will probably need an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization).

Transport companies such as airlines, are responsible for ensuring that you have all the proper, vaid travel documentation for entry to Canada. If you do not have these documents, including an eTA or visitor visa, you may be delayed or not allowed to board.

Visitors of following countries do not need a visa to visit Canada (but will need an eTA) :

  • Citizens of Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium,Brunei, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holy See (holders of a passport or travel document issued by the Holy See), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel (holders of national Israeli passport), Italy, Japan, Korea (Republic of), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania (holders of a biometric passport/e-passport issued by Lithuania), Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland (holders of a biometric passport/e-passport issued by Poland), Portugal, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan (holders of the ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes their personal identification number).
  • British citizens and British overseas citizens – A British citizen or a British overseas citizen who is allowed to return to the United Kingdom.
  • British overseas territories, citizens of – A citizen of a British overseas territory whose citizenship is derived through birth, descent, registration or naturalization in one of the British overseas territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena or the Turks and Caicos Islands.
  • British National (Overseas) – holder of a British National (Overseas) passport issued by the United Kingdom to persons born, naturalized or registered in Hong Kong.
  • British Subjects – holder of a British Subject passport issued by the United Kingdom which contains the observation that the holder has the right of abode in the United Kingdom.
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region – holder of a valid and subsisting Special Administrative Region passport issued by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.
  • United States citizens and permanent residents – A United States citizen or a person lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence who is in possession of their alien registration card (Green card) or can provide other evidence of permanent residence.

How do I apply for an eTA?

The application is a simple online process that takes just a few minutes. You will need your passport, a credit card (Visa or Mastercard) and an email address. A credit card as there is a cost to process the eTA application, which will be valid for up to five years after issuance.

The application form for an eTA is/will be available on this page.

Is a visa still required if I am simply passing through Canada without stopping?

If you’re a citizen of a country that doesn’t enjoy visa exempt status for Canada then you will need a transit visa in order to pass through Canada without stopping or visiting. This is required even if your transit will take less than 48 hours, however there is no fee for a transit visa. Fill out the application for a visitor visa (Temporary Resident Visa) and select transit visa from the list of options on the form.

If you enjoy visa exempt status and now require an eTA to visit Canada, then you will also need an eTA to pass through Canada.

You may not need either a transit visa or an eTA if you are travelling to or from the United States. If certain foreign nationals meet specific requirements then the Transit Without Visa Program (TWOV) and the China Transit Program (CTP) allows them to transit through Canada on their way to and from the United States without a Canadian transit visa.

Permanent residents of Canada

If you are a Canadian Permanent Resident then you will need to show your permanent resident card when you return to Canada via commercial vehicle such as airplane, boat, train, or bus. If you are returning with a private vehicle such as a car registered in your name, then there is other documentation that would be valid.

If you’re planning on leaving Canada for any reason then check to make sure that your permanent residency card won’t expire before you return. Most cards are valid for five years but still check and avoid any hassles when you try to come back.

Inadmissibility

Some people who want to travel to Canada are considered inadmissible, in other words they are not allowed to enter the country. There are a number of things that may result in you being ‘undesirable’ including involvement in criminal activity, human rights violations and participation in organized crime.

You can also be declined entry based on security, health or financial reasons.