Canada eTA FAQs

Canada eTA FAQs

What is a Canadian eTA?

An eTA confirms a foreign national’s eligibility to travel to Canada and is an official document. While it serves almost the same purpose as a visa, the method of obtaining one is much different from that for obtaining a visa. Applying for a standard visa is quite often a tedious process, but one an eTA application is filed, one can find out their acceptability for travelling to Canada within minutes.

Who needs a Canadian eTA?

An eTA is not necessary for all foreign nationals who decide to travel to Canada. Only those who are visiting from visa exempt countries such as certain European nations, as well as those from Australia and New Zealand will be affected by the new process. Any foreign national whose home country is not included in any visa waiver agreements with Canada will need to go through the same travel screening process as before.

How to apply for a Canadian eTA?

As the entire eTA process, from application all the way to receiving authorization, is web based, filing for one is relatively simple. Any visa exempt traveler will need to access the CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) website and submit their physical details such as name and date of birth. They may also need to supply their fingerprints so should be sure to use a computer that has a biometric scanner. Once the individual has been cleared for travel, the website will release the eTA which will need to br printed out and handed to the appropriate immigration officials before departing for Canada.

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.

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. The credit card is required because it costs $85 USD to get an eTA, and it will be valid for up to five years.

The application form for an eTA is/will be available on this site by clicking here.

Is a visa 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.

What are the advantages of the eTA system?

The main purpose of this system is to identify those individuals who are not eligible to enter Canada in a timely manner.  Because those people who are considered undesirable or inadmissible, such as those with criminal records or no fly orders can be quickly identified through this system - the screening and obviously the travelling for those who actually qualify can be made more effectual and effortless as well.

What will the eTA system cost the Canadian tax payers?

At the dollar’s current value it is estimated that the analysis period (2015 - 2024) of the eTA scheme will cost $167.74 million. The net impact of these new regulations is negligible so stakeholders will have no net costs either.

While calculating the costs above, the GoC assumed that it will collect an average of $23.1 million per year in eTA application fees and that they will be saving an anticipated $1.8 million per year in the costs associated with removing undesirable parties from Canada. According to the Gazette, the CBSA has estimated that it costs between $398.00 and $798.00 per inadmissible individual, depending on how long they are detained for.  In comparison the eTA system will cost $23.3 million to establish and just $19.5 million per year for administration.

The tourism industry may incur some marketing costs if they choose to advertise eTA requirements to any foreign nationals who may be interested in visiting Canada.

While the eTA does not fall within the scope of the CBA, it is conceded that visitors from visa exempt countries (besides certain exceptions) will need to pay a fee to obtain an eTA and also take the time to do so. For the vast majority though, this will take just minutes and the fee shouldn’t be a deterrent.

It is also conceded that tourism may experience some short term impact due to the transition to eTA, however it is not believed that these will result in any permanent implications for the tourism in Canada demand. The potential drop in tourism will be balanced by the uncomplicated nature of the eTA program, the fact that it is valid for five years and that it will cost just $85. Potential drops will be further allayed by more distinct and personal risk assessments than what was possible before.

Visitors entering Canada via land or sea ports will not require an eTA however it is not believed that there will be a surge in demand at these ports as it will be communicated that they will undergo the same thorough inspection regimes as before. It is also not believed that the $85 fee will result in potential visitors wanting to switch their mode of transportation. There will probably be an adjustment period though as visitors are made aware that inspection regimes for all ports of entry despite the eTA requirement.

However it has been noted that the GoC may not have considered the increased resources needed to process Temporary Resident Permits (TRP’s) for visa exempt foreign nationals who are inadmissible. Also, there will probably be a problem with visa exempt foreign nationals whose permanent resident cards have expired. Before they could board a plane and arrive in Canada without the CBS realizing they were permanent residents. This will lead to an increase with Canada’s residency requirements but also to increases Permanent Resident Travel Documents needing to be issued and Immigration Appeal Division cases.