Canada's New Electronic Travel Authorization Program
Launches August 1, 2015: Affected Foreign Nationals Require an eTA
to Enter Canada as of March 15, 2016
Back in February 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada
announced an incoming Electronic Travel Authorization
(eTA) program that mirrors the existing US
Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
The eTA program is part of a joint US-Canada border action plan to
increase pre-screening of travelers and to better identify
potential threats. CIC is opening up its eTA application system
online on August 1, 2015, but affected foreign nationals will not
require an eTA to enter Canada until March 15, 2016.
Canada's eTA program will require Canadian-bound travelers
from countries whose citizens do not require visas to obtain an eTA
before they can enter the country by air. This includes US
permanent residents. US citizens and visa-exempt foreign nationals
traveling by land or sea will not need an eTA to enter the country.
Affected foreign nationals already in Canada as workers, students
or visitors will also need to get an eTA if they plan to leave
Canada and return on or after March 15, 2016. However, CIC is
automatically issuing eTAs to foreign nationals who apply for a
study or work permit from inside Canada, and are approved, starting
on August 1, 2015.
CIC is launching the application process early, on August 1,
2015, to give foreign nationals a head start before the rush once
the eTA is required on March 15, 2016. Most applications will be
processed within minutes online and can be valid for up to five
years at a time (or until the applicant's passport expires,
whichever comes first), so it is a good idea to apply early if your
passport is valid for several years.
Canadian citizens, permanent residents and temporary residents
are also encouraged to let any friends and family know about the
new requirements in case they are planning a visit to Canada.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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