Canada visa rules for air passengers have been changed. Here’s what you need to know about the Canadian eTA requirement.
Passengers travelling to Canada by air may be required to make an online application before they’ll be allowed enter the country, under new security rules that are now in force.
The new ‘Electronic Travel Authorization’ (eTA) requirement means Canada visa-exempt foreign nationals arriving by plane into Canada will need to complete an online form and pay CA$7 fee in advance of their flight. The eTA will last for five years, or until the expiration date of the visitor’s passport if this is sooner.
It’s a similar requirement to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (Esta) in use by the USA, which became mandatory there in 2009.
Visitors have been able to apply for an eTA since August 1, 2015 on a voluntary basis, to help get familiar with the system. It became mandatory for many air passengers from March 15, 2016.
A leniency period, which was in operation after this date, ended on November 9, 2016.
There are a number of exemptions where an eTA will not be required. These include:
- Visitors arriving by land or sea.
- Those with permanent residency – however, they will need to travel with their permanent resident card.
- Citizens of the USA.
- Travellers with a valid Canada visa.
- Passengers on a flight that, because of an emergency or other unforeseen circumstances, makes an unscheduled stop in Canada.