Electronic travel authorization: Client service

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Electronic travel authorization (eTA) client service options

In order to adhere to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s service excellence goals, the eTA program is leveraging many available client service channels and has developed some eTA-specific client service options. These include the following:

Online support

IRCC’s external website contains many useful tools for clients seeking more information on eTA:

  • the online Help Centre, which provides information on eTA as well as answers to frequently asked questions;
  • the Help with eTA page for clients;
  • how-to videos on eTA, which educate clients on the new requirement;
  • the eTA check status tool, which provides clients with up-to-date information on the status and expiry of their application;

Descriptions of each of the fields on the eTA application form are available to clients in the Canadian official language of their choice (English or French), as well as in Arabic, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, and Spanish.

Visa application centres (VACs)

VACs can respond to general eTA-related enquiries by providing in-person and phone assistance and information to current and prospective clients.

VACs are also equipped with Internet-enabled self-serve computers on which eTA clients who do not have access to the Internet at home or elsewhere can apply for an eTA. VACs also have scanners that clients can use to help facilitate the process of providing documents to IRCC.


Anyone who has questions on the Government of Canada’s services and programs, including the eTA, can call 1-800-O-Canada to obtain information and answers. Service Canada, who owns this call centre, has been provided with detailed information on the eTA program to permit agents to respond to enquiries about the eTA.

IRCC National Call Centre

Clients may call the National Call Centre with questions regarding eTA. Agents have detailed information on the eTA program and specific info-client scripts to use when answering an eTA question over the phone.

Web notices

If a major technical issue occurs, such as a system outage, the Communications Branch will post real-time notices to the external IRCC website as well as to social media to inform clients of the problem. The messaging will be removed as soon as the issue is resolved.

Issues encountered at airports

Air carriers have procedures and scripts to use in various client service scenarios.

For example, if an eTA-required traveller has not applied for an eTA before checking in for their flight, the air carrier may direct them to the eTA website to apply for their eTA.

If the eTA cannot be issued in advance of the departure of the flight, the traveller will not be permitted to board.

Types of enquiries

Clients applying for an eTA may require assistance at many stages of the application processes. Some examples include

  • understanding whether or not they require an eTA to come to Canada;
  • technical issues while completing the application form or thereafter;
  • accessing the eTA application and correctly responding to the questions;
  • providing additional documents or information;
  • obtaining the status of their application;
  • obtaining a copy of lost or misplaced eTA correspondence via email;
  • understanding the outcome of their eTA request and what other options are available to them;
  • obtaining their eTA number.

Common case status enquiries include the following:

  • processing times have passed (72 hours) and no decision has been made or request for additional documents received;
  • the client forgot to include some information on the application;
  • the client made an error and wants to correct the information;
  • some personal information has changed since the application was submitted;
  • the client is requesting a reconsideration of a negative decision.
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