Important Information for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens travelling to Canada on or after December 1, 2017

Backgrounder

Starting at 4 p.m. EET (9 a.m. ET) on December 1, 2017, Canada intends to lift the visa requirements for all Romanians and Bulgarians. At that point, all citizens of Romania and Bulgaria would no longer need a visa to travel to Canada.

However, similar to other visa-exempt travellers, they would need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to board a flight to Canada. Applying for an eTA is a simple, inexpensive online process that takes minutes to complete.

Romanians and Bulgarians who already have a valid Canadian visa can continue to travel to or transit through a Canadian airport with that visa until it expires. You do not need to apply for a new eTA. As well, those who already have an eTA can continue to fly to Canada with that eTA until it expires or they get a new passport.

Note:

  • Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, cannot apply for an eTA and need a valid Canadian passport to fly to Canada.
  • Canadian permanent residents (PR) need to travel with a valid Canadian PR card or PR travel document and valid passport.
  • Important – former residents of Canada: PR status does not expire. If you once lived in Canada, you could still have PR status. See options available to avoid travel delays.

Would citizens of Romania and Bulgaria be able to apply for an eTA ahead of the planned visa lifts on December 1?

Eligible Romanian and Bulgarian citizens can apply right now for an eTA to fly to or transit through a Canadian airport.

Those not eligible to apply right now will need to wait until 4 p.m. EET (9 a.m. ET) on December 1 to apply.

Note: Romanian and Bulgarian citizens who are also lawful permanent residents of the United States (U.S.) can apply for an eTA to fly to Canada.

Many travellers are booking their flights for the December holidays. Would there be enough time to obtain an eTA for those who have to wait until December 1 to apply?

It is always best to get the appropriate travel documents before booking a flight to Canada.

If you are not eligible to apply for an eTA, you can either apply for a visa, or wait until December 1 to apply for an eTA. Here is some information to help you determine whether to wait to apply for an eTA.

  • Applying for an eTA is a simple, inexpensive (CAN$ 7) online process. All a traveller needs is a passport, a credit or debit card and an email address.
  • Most eTAs are approved within minutes.
  • However, some requests can take several days or even longer to process if applicants need to submit supporting documents. That’s why it is best to apply before booking a flight to Canada.

What about those travelling to Canada by land or sea (car, bus, train or boat, including a cruise ship)? Would they need an eTA on or after December 1?

No, an eTA is an entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. After the planned visa lifts, you would not need an eTA or visa when arriving by car, bus, train or boat.

Would travellers need an eTA to transit through a Canadian airport on or after December 1?

Yes, starting at 4 p.m. EET (9 a.m. ET) on December 1, Canada intends to lift the visa requirements for all Romanians and Bulgarians.

At that point, all citizens of Romania and Bulgaria would need an eTA to fly to or transit through a Canadian airport. Exceptions include those who already have a valid Canadian visa.


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