Canada’s Electronic Travel Authorization

Under Canada’s Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) program, citizens from countries other than the United States (U.S.) who do not need a visa to enter Canada will need to obtain an online authorization before flying to Canada, unless otherwise exempted.

This new entry requirement is not mandatory until March 15, 2016. However, beginning on August 1, 2015, eligible travellers will have the opportunity to go online and apply for their eTA ahead of time. The earlier travellers get their eTA, the sooner they will benefit from knowing whether they have been pre-screened to enter Canada and their eTA will remain valid for up to five years.

eTA is not a new concept: both the U.S. and Australia have implemented similar programs, so many travellers are already familiar with this type of entry requirement.

Travellers will apply online, providing basic personal information similar to what is currently collected when they arrive in Canada. The only difference now is that Canada will know the answers to these questions before their arrival. The answers to a few simple questions given in the eTA application will be used to pre-screen travellers to ensure that they are not inadmissible to Canada.

eTA is a convenient authorization that that is electronically linked to a traveller’s passport, which means travellers will need to travel with the same passport they used when they applied for and obtained their eTA.

eTA will improve the safety and security of Canadians and protect the integrity of our immigration system by preventing inadmissible visa-exempt foreign nationals from travelling to Canada, while facilitating travel for those who are low-risk.

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