Before you make any arrangements for visiting Canada, you need to find out what documentation you need in order to be admitted into the country. Most visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to gain entry by air. Other rules apply if you are driving, going by train or sailing. The eTA is valid for five years or until your passport expires, as it is electronically linked to your passport, and with this, you can visit Canada as often as you like for short stays of up to six months.
The eTA will not guarantee you entry into Canada—the Border Services Officer will determine that after inspecting your travel documents and asking a few questions. You may be refused entry if the information doesn’t match or it transpires that the information provided was incorrect or false.
It normally only takes a few days to get your eTA but you should apply before you finalise your travel arrangements just in case something goes wrong.
Below is an FAQ that will help you understand more about the Canada eTA.
Canada eTA Eligibility
Do I need an eTA if I’m transiting through Canada?
Yes, if you are a passenger transiting through Canada, you will need an eTA or a visa, no matter how much time you plan to be in the country. However, you won’t need a visa or eTA if your plane is refuelling in Canada as it travels back and forth from the United States. Likewise, if you are in the China Transit Program or the Travel Without a Visa Program, you can transit through Canada without an eTA or visa.
If I am a permanent resident of Canada, do I need an eTA to leave and return by air?
If you are a permanent resident of Canada, you don’t need an eTA. But, to travel, you must have a valid Permanent Resident Card or a Permanent Resident Travel Document. If you don’t have either of these items, you may be delayed or prevented from boarding the flight to Canada.
Can I apply for an eTA if I’m a permanent resident of Canada?
The law states that a permanent resident of Canada cannot apply for an eTA. Residents of Canada must present a valid Canadian a valid permanent resident travel document or permanent resident card anytime they travel to Canada. As a permanent resident of Canada, you should also have a valid passport with you anytime you travel internationally, which also includes your return to Canada.
If I’m an American citizen, what documentation do I need to enter Canada?
If you are an American or Canadian-American citizen, you’ll need to have proper identification, which includes a United States passport. If you’re American, you should also expect to meet certain requirements to enter Canada. You won’t need a Canadian eTA or Canadian passport if you have a valid United States passport.
Do I need an eTA to fly into Canada if I’m a member of NEXUS or CANPASS and hold a United States green card?
All permanent residents of the United States who are green card holders must have an eTA to fly into or transit through Canada. If you come to Canada via boat, cruise ship, bus, car or train, you won’t need your eTA, but must be able to produce your proof of lawful United States citizenship, which is either your green card or a valid Alien Documentation Identification and Telecommunications stamp.
Do I need an eTA to enter Canada by car if I’m a lawful United States green card holder?
You do not need an eTA if you come into Canada by sea or land. You will need an eTA if you plan to enter Canada by air. No matter your method of travel, when you enter Canada, make sure you have valid proof of your permanent resident status and be able to produce it. This includes your green card or Alien Documentation Identification and Telecommunications stamp
If I am a lawful permanent resident of the United States, what documents do I need for my eTA application?
To complete an eTA application, the following documents are required:
- A valid passport issued by the country of your nationality
- Proof of permanent U.S. citizenship (Alien Documentation Identification and Telecommunications stamp or green card)
Enter your Alien Documentation Identification and Telecommunications stamp or green card number in the appropriate field on the application in the field marked “United States lawful permanent resident alien registration card (Green Card) number.”
If I have a temporary resident permit or visa, do I also need an eTA to enter Canada?
You do not. If you are planning to travel to Canada, you only need a valid eTA or a valid visitor visa. Which one you need depends on the following factors:
- The kind of travel document you travel with
- Which country granted you the travel document
- Your nationality
- Your method of travel into Canada
Do I need an eTA if I’m travelling to the United States and want to also visit Canada?
Nearly all travellers will need either a visitor visa or eTA to transit through or travel to Canada. Factors influencing which you need are as follows:
- The kind of travel document you’re travelling with
- Which country granted you the travel document
- Your nationality
- Your method of travel into Canada
I am using an ESTA to travel to the United States. Can I also use it to travel to Canada?
No, you cannot use an ESTA to gain entry into Canada. The Canadian eTA requires separate authorization and you must have it to travel to Canada by air.
If I am from a visa exempt country, do I need an eTA to apply for a work or study permit?
If you apply for your study or work permit prior to travelling to Canada, you will get an eTA automatically when the application is approved. You won’t need to pay an extra fee or apply for the eTA separately. When you get your letter of introduction, your eTA number will be included when your permit is approved. You will need this number if you need to contact us regarding your eTA. However, if you plan to apply for your work or study permit at a Canadian port of entry, the process differs as follows:
- If you enter Canada by air: you will need to have an eTA before you board your flight to Canada
- If you enter by land or sea: you do not need an eTA
If I want to study in Canada for less than 6 months and am from a visa exempt country, do I need an eTA?
If you plan to travel to Canada by air, you will need to have an eTA, even if you are from a visa exempt country. If you plan to travel to Canada via land or sea, you won’t need an eTA. If you only plan to study for 6 months or less, you don’t need a study permit.
Do I need an eTA if I’m a dual citizen of the United States and another country?
If you are travelling with a valid U.S. passport, you don’t need an eTA. Both American and American-Canadian citizens must have proper identification to travel and must be able to meet the requirements for travelling to Canada. If you are travelling with a United States passport, you don’t need an eTA, Canadian visa or Canadian passport.
Do I need an eTA to enter Canada if I’m a Canadian citizen?
You cannot apply to get an eTA if you are a Canadian citizen, which includes dual citizens. There are some special circumstances to this, and they are as follows:
- If you plan to fly in a few days or are trying to enter a Canadian airport without your passport
- You will need to apply for a special authorization, which lets you board the airplane with a non-Canadian passport, but it must be approved first.
- If you have a valid United States passport, you can enter Canada without an eTA, Canadian passport or Canadian visa.
All American citizens, which includes American-Canadian citizens, must be travelling with proper identification and meet the guidelines for entering Canada.
Applying for a Canada eTA
What does the term ‘visa-exempt foreign national’ mean?
A visa-exempt foreign national is an individual who is neither a Canadian citizen, nor a permanent resident of Canada, but who does under normal circumstances not need a visa to visit the country.
How do I apply for an eTA
You can apply on this website and follow the instructions on the screen. Have your passport, credit or debit card and email address to hand when you go online, as the form cannot be saved, and it may time-out.
Beware, some websites look official and claim to process your application quickly and with less fuss for a fee, but they have to go through the same process as you would and you provide the same information.
What happens after I submit my eTA application?
You will receive an email stating one of the following:
- Confirmation of receipt/pending: In this case, sit back and wait.
- Request for documents: the email will tell you what other documents they need.
- Government of Canada
Normally, you will get an immediate response, but you should allow 72 hours.
What documentation do I need when applying for an Electronic Travel Authorization to Canada?
Travellers who need an Electronic Travel Authorization to Canada must have a must have an up to date email address, a passport, and a credit or debit card. The application process takes several minutes. The new eTA will serve you for five years before expiry.
What information will I need to make an Electronic Travel Authorization application?
Applicants must provide their biographic information such as their name, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, gender, nationality, and address and passport number. The process will also involve answering some background questions to evaluate whether you are eligible to visit Canada. Another common question is about your employment status and health status.
Can Parents apply an Electronic Travel Authorization for their children?
Yes. You are only required to submit a different form for every child. Follow the below guide when filling your child’s application form.
- At the start of the application form, answer “yes” for the question “are you applying for another person?”
- Also, answer yes for the part that asks if you are applying for a minor.
- The next screen is about the parent /guardian or representative’s details. Here you provide the required information about yourself.
- After the parent detail’s section, you will proceed to the child’s details form, where you enter the required information about your child. Ensure that you the information correctly (especially the child’s passport number). You should also provide your active email or that of your child in the contacts field. The email address should be active because IRCC) will use for any communication about the application. You can enter the child’s name where a signature is required.
Can I help another adult apply for the Electronic Travel Authorization?
Yes, it is possible to apply for another person. The only requirement is that you should indicate that you are completing the form for a friend or family member at the start of the form. The procedure is as follows:
- Answer yes for the part that asks if you are applying for another person.
- If the person is below 18 years of age, answer yes for the question “are you are applying for a minor?”
- The next step is to enter the parent/guardian or representative details. Here you enter some information about yourself.
- After the parent/guardian details, the next page is the form, here you enter some information about the person you are helping apply.
- Make sure that you enter all the detail’s correctly (especially the person’s passport number) and provide the person’s active email address. The last step is the Consent section, where you enter the applicant’s name details in the signature field.
Can one include several people in an application?
No. every person must submit a single application with their personal information only. You should also submit separate applications for each of your children if they appear on your passport.
What happens in case of an error on the passport number or email address provided in my application?
Applicants who make mistakes in their eTA applications must apply again. Ensure that you go through the whole form and correct all the errors. The email address must be correct because you will receive information about the approval or denial of your application through the email.
You should also provide the right passport information because the Electronic Travel Authorization must have details that are similar to what is in your passport. You may have challenges boarding a flight to Canada if you entered a wrong passport number.
Can I use another document apart from the passport when applying for my Electronic Travel Authorization?
No. The Electronic Travel Authorization application only accepts a valid passport issued by your country of citizenship. The only exception is for permanent residents of the U.S without a passport from their country of birth because it does not give passports to people with a permanent residency of another country. Applicants in such a situation can use their United States alternative travel documents like the I-571 or I-327.
Because of technical problems (e.g. with the application form or payment) I haven’t been able to send in an eTA application. Will I still be allowed to fly to Canada?
No. To be allowed entry into Canada, you have to send in this application. If you have been unable to get an eTA, for whatever reason, you should neither plan nor embark on any journey to Canada. If you opt to travel to Canada without an eTA, you should either expect delays, or you will not be allowed to board the flight at all.
Must I apply for the Electronic Travel Authorization whenever I need to visit Canada?
No. All the Electronic Travel Authorizations are valid for five years or up to when your passport expires if it expires before the elapse of the five years. You can visit Canada at your pleasure as long as you have an approved Electronic Travel Authorization.
Canada eTA Payment
What methods can I use to pay for the application?
You can use the following payment methods:
- Credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American express
- Pre-paid Visa, American Express and MasterCard
- Visa Debit and Debit MasterCard
- JCB card
Canada eTA Notifications from IRCC
Can I get my Electronic Travel Authorization urgently if I want to travel to Canada in case of an emergency?
Most applicants receive a confirmation within a minute but ensure that your application is processed fast by indicating the urgent or compelling reasons for your travel in detail.
I sent in an eTA application, but so far I have received no email confirmation from IRCC. Will I be able to travel to Canada?
The answer is no. Possession of a valid eTA is a mandatory requirement for entry into Canada. You should not start a journey to Canada before a decision has been made about your eTA application.
In the majority of cases, applicants will get a confirmation message from IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) within a couple of minutes after submitting an eTA application. Under certain circumstances, however, an application could take a few days to process.
If you are departing for Canada soon and you haven’t yet received your eTA confirmation, you should consider rescheduling your flight. Also, check the spam/junk email folder for the email address you used on your eTA application. Sometimes a spam filter might block automated email responses from IRCC.
How do I submit documents for my eTA application
If you are requested to provide further documentation, just follow this simple procedure. You only have a few days to do this so you need to act quickly:
- Create a GCKey. This is a secure credential service used by the IRCC.
- Create a secure account with IRCC. You will automatically be directed to the registration page.
- Link your eTA application to your secure account.
- Check the message section and read the letter that says what documents you need to submit.
- Get together the documents requested. If you need more time for this, request an extension before the deadline. If you miss the deadline, your application may be refused.
- Prepare, upload, and submit your documents. Note the file formats and file size indicated on the instruction. Do not send anything by email—use the secure account only.
IRCC sent me an email confirmation that it has received the eTA application but since then I have received nothing else. Will I be able to travel to Canada?
No. an eTA is not an optional requirement, it is mandatory. You should not try to journey to Canada until you have received a positive response regarding your application. In some cases, an application can take a few days to process.
If you plan to depart for Canada soon, you should consider rescheduling your flight if your eTA approval hasn’t arrived in your mailbox yet. Also, check the spam/junk email folder for the email address you supplied on your eTA application form. Spam filters might sometimes block automated email responses from IRCC.
I am unable to send in the additional documents needed for my eTA application before the deadline. Will I be allowed to travel to Canada?
No. an eTA is not an optional requirement, it is mandatory. You should not try to travel to Canada before you have submitted all the necessary documents, and a decision has been made on your eTA application. If you will be leaving for Canada soon, you should seriously consider rescheduling your travel plans.
I sent in all the required documents for my eTA application, but so far I have not received a reply. Will I be able to travel to Canada?
No. eTA approval is not optional, it is a mandatory requirement for entry into Canada. You should not try to embark on a journey to Canada if you haven’t received an email confirmation that your eTA application has been approved. If you will be departing for Canada within a few days, you should rather reschedule your travel plans. If you try to board a plane for Canada while your application has not yet been approved, you will not be allowed on board.
What if my application is rejected?
There are occasions when an application is rejected and this can be because of spelling errors causing a mismatch of information or the information you provided is false or incorrect. In this case, you can apply for a visa, but success depends on the reason for refusal.
Anybody who is deemed to pose a threat is likely to be denied entry. This can be due to a specific criminal conviction, health reasons, or security breach. If you think the reasoning is unjustified you can appeal to the Federal Court of Canada and get a lawyer to apply for a judicial review. This will, however, take time.
Can my eTA be cancelled after I receive it?
Yes, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) can cancel your aTA if it becomes apparent that you have provided misleading or false information in your application, or if your situation changes, such as a fresh criminal conviction. You can reapply once the circumstances surrounding the cancellation have been addressed.
What if I am travelling to Canada by train, automobile or boat?
If you are visiting Canada by any means other than air, you will not need an eTA but you may need a visa. This will depend on:
- Your travel documentation (e.g. passport),
- Country of origin (this is the most important), and
- The purpose of your visit to Canada.
Unless you intend to work or study, if you are from a visa-exempt country you will only need your passport to visit Canada. As an example, if you are a British citizen on vacation in the U.S, and you want to drive into Canada to visit friends or simply to see the sites, you will only need your passport. However, if you decide to fly to a Canadian airport you will need an eTA.
What if I lose my passport after I get my eTA
If you lose it before you travel and you get a new passport you will have to apply again for an eTA. If you lose it during your travels, you will need to go to the nearest embassy or consulate and make an official report. You will only be able to reapply for your eTA once you get your new passport.
Canada eTA Admissibility
My eTA application was not approved. Will I be allowed to travel to Canada or not?
If your application for eTA is refused, you should cancel your plans to travel to Canada. If you attempt to fly to Canada without an approved eTA, you will not be allowed to board the flight. You should also not try to re-apply for an eTA until you have addressed the reason or reasons that led to your application be rejected in the first place.
Are certain people exempted from getting eTA approval?
No. Travellers that are eligible for an eTA, irrespective of their age, must produce an approved eTA in order to board a flight to Canada. There are no exceptions to this rule, unless the traveller has a Canadian visitor’s visa.
I know that I cannot enter Canada because I committed a crime or am a suspect, but can I still get an eTA?
You can apply for an eTA and use it to explain the situation. If the eTA is denied, you may be able to obtain a Temporary Resident Permit to enter Canada.
Will I be denied an eTA if I’ve ever been refused entry into Canada?
Your eTA will not always be denied based on a past refusal of entry into Canada. Applications are looked at individually and on a case by case basis and you can still apply, regardless of past decisions.