Individuals planning to travel to Canada may soon have a new
hoop to jump through before they can enter the country. New
regulations passed by Citizenship and Immigration Canada require
foreign nationals who are currently exempt from the temporary
resident visa requirement to hold an electronic Travel
The eTA program will launch on August 1, 2015. At that time,
applications will be made available to travelers. The eTA will
become mandatory on March 15, 2016.
How does the eTA program work?
The new program mirrors the United States' Electronic System
for Travel Authorization (ESTA). Travelers flying into Canada from
visa-exempt countries will have to apply for an eTA before they
enter. Applications will be made online and will cost $7. Travelers
will have to submit biographical information from their passport
and answer questions that are currently posed by officers at the
Most applications will be approved automatically within minutes.
However, an in-Canada processing centre will be created to allow
officers to review non-routine applications. High-risk cases, which
are expected to be very few in number, will be referred to overseas
missions where more in-depth examinations or interviews may be
The eTA is valid for five years from the day on which it is
issued or until the applicant's passport or travel document
expires, whichever is sooner.
What are the eTA exemptions?
Those not required to apply for an eTA include:
Foreign Nationals who hold a Canadian Temporary Resident
Commercial air crew
French residents of St. Pierre and Miquelon arriving from St.
Pierre and Miquelon
Foreign military personnel carrying out duties under the
Visiting Forces Act
Visa-exempt foreign nationals presently in Canada on valid
temporary status that are solely traveling to the U.S., St. Pierre
or Miquelon and returning directly to Canada
Foreign nationals who are passengers on a flight stopping in
Canada for the sole purpose of refueling
This new program means the Canadian government will be
collecting more personal information from those wanting to visit
the country than they have in the past. The government says the eTA
requirement will also act as a deterrent to inadmissible travellers
subject to the eTA requirement as they will be required to undergo
screening prior to travel.
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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