Program delivery update – November 24, 2016

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Pre-boarding enforcement of the electronic travel authorization began November 10, 2016

Summary

On March 15, 2016, Canada changed its entry rules and introduced a new entry requirement, the electronic travel authorization (eTA), for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. A leniency period was put in place over the busy summer travel season to ensure travellers were not inconvenienced if they were caught unaware of this new requirement. This period ended on November 9, 2016.

This means that, since November 10, 2016, the eTA requirement has been enforced through the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Interactive Advance Passenger Information (IAPI) system at the time of check-in (for commercial flights to Canada) or upon arrival in Canada (for foreign nationals who travel on a general aviation flight).

The eTA program delivery instructions have been updated to remove reference to the leniency period.

Context

The CBSA IAPI system went live at midnight, Eastern standard time, on November 10, 2016. The IAPI initiative is a key commitment, intended to push the border out to detect potential threats to Canada's security before those threats arrive at the border. The IAPI initiative builds on the existing Advance Passenger Information / Passenger Name Record (API/PNR) Program and will improve pre-departure screening of all Canada-bound travellers.

Air carriers are obligated by Canadian law to confirm that all passengers provide valid documentation to board an aircraft destined for Canada. The IAPI initiative allows air carriers to provide passenger travel document information prior to a flight’s departure to Canada and permits the CBSA to validate passenger information against travel document data to confirm that every passenger has the appropriate prescribed document—if one is required—to travel to Canada by air. Depending on the result of the IAPI system’s document validation, the system sends a “board” or “no-board” message to air carriers, indicating whether or not the passenger may board a flight destined for Canada.

Updated instructions

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