Published on: Jul 31, 2018
A Canadian eTA, or Electronic Travel Authorization, is a digital travel document. It is a straightforward process to apply for an eTA online, and once granted, the travel authorization will be electronically connected to your passport and remain valid for up to five years. If you are a visa-exempt foreign national or a permanent resident of the U.S., you will need this document to fly into Canada.
If you are planning to apply for an eTA, you likely wonder how long this process takes. If so, you are in the right place. Read on to learn about the length of time you can expect to wait between starting your application and receiving approval for a Canadian eTA.
Applying for an eTA online often takes under an hour. In fact, you may only have to wait a few minutes after submitting to receive an email with the results of your application. While this is the case for most applicants, many applicants are required to send additional documentation, which can add several days to the time you need for application. In other words, don’t procrastinate. Even if you theoretically could have your eTA done and approved within the hour, it’s best to plan for the worst-case scenario and allow yourself a couple of weeks (or even several months) to complete the process.
If you have all the documents you need to submit your Canadian eTA, the application should only take 20 to 45 minutes to complete. However, it may take longer if you need to gather your documents. You need two documents for your eTA: a passport and your travel itinerary, if you have already purchased airline tickets. It’s a good idea to keep a file of your airline ticket on your computer so you can find it quickly.
However, getting your passport may take longer. While it can be annoying to dig through your closet to find where you stashed it, it’s much more stressful to discover that you must apply for a passport or passport renewal. Depending on your country of citizenship, it can take many weeks or months to receive a passport. Most countries require four to six weeks for passport processing times, while others take even longer. Fortunately, there are countries that do offer an expediting service, which allows you to receive your passport within a couple of weeks for an extra fee.
Ideally, you should be able to receive the results of your application in your inbox within minutes. However, it’s always best to plan for delays and complications. If your application doesn’t pass security checks and gets flagged, you will have to provide additional documentation. Depending on the issue, this could take up to several months. If you think you might have a security-related problem, such as a criminal record, a previous application rejection, or a tuberculosis concern, then you should file for your eTA several months before you plan to visit Canada.
Canadian eTA applications are usually quick and easy. If you don’t have any complications, it should only take an hour or so to receive your approval. However, there are many factors that could lengthen the time it takes to apply and receive an answer. It’s always best to plan ahead and be prepared so that your wait time is as short as possible.
If you hold a passport from a country that is eligible for the Canada eTA such as the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, or many other eTA eligible countries, you will need to obtain an approved eTA before your tourism, business or medical visit to Canada. Get started on your application, otherwise, visit the eTA requirements to learn more about the Canada eTA