Whether traveling to Canada as a tourist, or for business,
foreign travellers will want to ensure they are up to speed on
Canada's new Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) requirement.
Beginning March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to
or transit through Canada will need an eTA. This means that foreign
travellers who currently do not need a visa to enter Canada, will
now need an eTA to fly or transit through Canada.
The eTA is meant to be a pre-travel screening process that is
completed online. Once received, the eTA functions as an entry
authorization that gets electronically linked to a person's
The requirement is being implemented by the Canadian government
pursuant to the Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness
Action Plan, which was made between the United States and Canada a
few years ago. The goal is to establish a common approach for
screening visa-exempt foreign travellers so that threats can be
identified before their arrival within the North American
perimeter. The United States has had a similar eTA program in place
How do you know if you need an eTA?
All visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through
Canada will require an eTA. It is important to note that the eTA
requirement is only for people flying or transiting through Canada;
if you are entering Canada by land or sea, then an eTA will not be
required. The Citizenship and Immigration Canada website provides a
list of countries whose citizens will require an eTA. For instance,
that list includes: Australia, British citizens, France, Japan,
Ireland, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Citizenship and Immigration Canada
There are some exceptions - the biggest one being for United
States citizens. They do not need an eTA. Citizenship and
Immigration Canada also provides eTA exceptions for various other
groups of people. Other exempted groups include:
foreign nationals who are on a flight
that makes an unscheduled stop in Canada due to an emergency or
some other unforeseen circumstance;
certain transportation crew
accredited diplomats; and
members of armed forces belonging to
certain designated countries.
An eTA is also not required for Canadian permanent residents who
are flying to Canada. But, they will need to have their Canadian
permanent resident card with them as they travel or they may be
denied entry. Permanent residents of the United States, on the
other hand, will need an eTA.
How is an eTA obtained?
An eTA is obtained by completing an online application, which is
available on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website. Once
approved, there is no need to print any physical documents, as the
eTA will simply be electronically linked to the applicant's
passport. According to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada
website, the processing time for most eTA applications will be
within minutes. However, they do advise that some applications may
take longer and, in some cases, the application may even require
further information before it can be processed. Once approved, the
eTA stays valid for five years or until the passport it is linked
to expires, whichever comes first.
Visa-exempt foreign nationals who are submitting a Canadian
study or work permit do not need to apply for an eTA. Study or work
permit applicants will automatically be considered for an eTA as
If you are a foreign national, who is visa exempt for entry into
Canada, and you are planning to fly to or transit through Canada,
then you will likely require an eTA beginning March 15, 2016. There
are exceptions to the eTA requirement so it is best to go to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website and
determine if you need one.
The eTA application process, for the most part, is quick and the
eTA may be issued within minutes. However, if you have forgotten to
apply for the eTA and have already flown to Canada, Citizenship and
Immigration Canada does indicate that an eTA may be obtained at the
last minute. Mobile phones can, apparently, be used to apply for
the eTA online. However, it goes without saying that travellers
should try to obtain the eTA well in advance, prior to flying to
Canada, and not leave it until the last minute.
Note: the eTA is linked to your passport, therefore you will
need to travel with the passport that was used for the eTA
Mackrell International – Canada - Lindsay Kenney
LLP is a full service business law firm with offices in Vancouver
and Langley, BC and a member of Mackrell International. Mackrell
International – Canada is comprised of four independent law
firms in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Each firm
is regionally based and well-connected in our communities, an
advantage shared with our clients. With close relations amongst our
Canadian member firms, we are committed to working with clients who
have legal needs in multiple jurisdictions within Canada.
This article is intended to be an overview and is for
informational purposes only.
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September 21st, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 20th round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 43rd overall, inviting 1288 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 483.
Canada received more than 320,000 immigrants in the last 12 months, approaching levels not seen since the early 20th century. The per capital immigration rate at .88%, is consistent with previous Liberal government policies.
October 12th, 2016 - Immigration authorities conducted the 21st round of invitations under Express Entry in 2016 and 44th overall, inviting 1518 applicants for permanent residence with a lowest CRS score of 484.
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