Only days before the electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
requirement was to become mandatory for all visa-exempt foreign
nationals* the Government of Canada announced its decision to
extend the leniency period to November 9, 2016. This extension also
applies to the new requirement that Canadian citizens, including
those with dual citizenship, may only board a plane destined to
Canada using their valid Canadian passport. For more
information on eTAs, please see the previous edition of
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John
McCallum, stated: "In consultation with airline partners,
we're taking further steps to minimize any travel
disruptions...We are extending the leniency period and doing
another major information blitz in Canada and abroad to encourage
affected travellers, including dual Canadian citizens, to plan
ahead and get the necessary travel documents before they book a
flight to Canada."
The decision to extend the leniency period comes as no surprise,
in light of the short time frame between the original
implementation date and Canadian Thanksgiving, and considering the
logistical nightmare that airlines and Canada Border Services
Agency Officers would have faced in trying to implement these new
changes so close to a national holiday.
While many individuals obtain their eTA within hours or days of
submitting their online application, certain complications, errors
and delays can occur that increase processing times substantially.
Since an eTA is generally valid for five years, it is best to apply
as far in advance of travel as possible.
* Visa-exempt foreign nationals include citizens of countries
that do not need a visitor visa to enter Canada. U.S. citizens are
unique in that they are both visa-exempt and also exempt from the
requirement of obtaining an eTA. See IRCC's website to find out
if you need a visitor visa or eTA.
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