Effective August 1, 2015, the electronic travel
authorization program will be implemented in Canada. This
program will require foreign nationals who currently do not need a
visa to enter Canada to obtain an electronic travel authorization
(eTA) prior to entering Canada by air. The eTA program is similar
to the digital travel verification program implemented in the
United States and Australia.
The first stage of the program will run from August 1, 2015, to
March 14, 2016. During this period, the online eTA application will
be available for eTA-required foreign nationals to obtain, but it
will not be mandatory. Starting on March 15, 2016, all eTA-required
travelers will be obligated to have an eTA before entering
With limited exceptions, the eTA program will only apply to
travelers from visa-exempt countries entering Canada by air.
Visa-exempt countries include France, Britain, Germany, Spain,
Italy, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea. A
complete list of countries can be found at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp.
The current eTA regulations will only apply to eTA-required
travelers flying to Canada. Foreign nationals from visa-exempt
countries who are entering Canada at land or sea ports will not be
required to submit an eTA application before arriving in
Citizens of the United States will be exempt from the eTA
program. As a result, American passport holders will not need to
submit an electronic travel authorization application prior to
entering Canada. Similarly, Canadian citizens currently do not have
to register with the Electronic System for Travel Authorization,
also known as ESTA, prior to entering the United States.
Furthermore, an application for a work permit or study permit will
be deemed to constitute an application for an eTA. Hence, those
foreign nationals who will be applying for a work or study permit
will not need to submit a separate electronic travel authorization
Diplomats, members of flight crews and residents of St. Pierre and
Miquelon will also be exempt from the eTA.
The eTA requirement will not apply to foreign nationals who are
from countries whose citizens require a visa to enter Canada. These
foreign nationals still must obtain a temporary resident visa at a
Canadian visa office.
The eTA application will be available online, through the CIC
website (www.cic.gc.ca). Before entering Canada, the applicant will
be required to submit his or her biographic, passport and
background information, in addition to a processing fee of $7
Those unable to apply electronically due to a physical or mental
disability can submit a paper application form.
The eTA will be valid for five years from the day of its
issuance or until expiration of the applicant's passport or
Of note, the Canadian government will have the discretion to
cancel an eTA based on inadmissibility factors and public policy
considerations. This will include instances where a foreign
national provides false information in an eTA application, where
evidence indicates that a foreign national is inadmissible to
Canada or where permitting the foreign national to travel to Canada
presents a security risk.
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