If you wish to travel to Canada by air for business or tourism purposes, you may need to apply for the electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) only if you’re a citizen of one of the 54 nations exempted from getting a visa. It’s an entry requirement in Canada that is electronically linked into your passport and allows you to stay in the country for up to six months. It is valid for five years or until your passport’s expiry day, and it’s good to know that it doesn’t guarantee entry to Canada. Therefore, the border officers will seek to see your documents to assess your entry eligibility.

eTA Eligible Travellers

If you are a student from a visa-exempt country and you have obtained a study or work permit, you will automatically receive your eTA when your application gets approved. The US permanent residents will also require eTA to travel to Canada as well as their green cards. However, the eTA requirements exempt US citizens who can visit Canada with a valid US passport.

If you are a dual Canadian citizen, you don’t need eTA, and you can travel throughout the country by air using a Canadian passport. For the Canadian permanent residents, you only need your permanent residence card or a permanent resident travel document. Note that if you are a citizen of a country that doesn’t hold visa exemption from Canada, you need a transit visa to travel through Canada. You may need a Canadian visitor’s visa while travelling to the country for more than 48 hours or less.

eTA Eligible Countries

There are 54 eTA eligible countries whereby these citizens can apply for an online eTA to visit Canada. If approved for an eTA, these travelers will not need a Canadian visa:

  • Greece
  • Hong Kong (Hong Kong SAR passport)
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States (lawful permanent residents)
  • Vatican City State

eTA Requirements

To apply for eTA, you must hold a valid passport from a visa-exempt country that should remain valid for at least six months from the day you enter Canada. Please note that if your passport expires before your eTA’s expiry date, then it becomes invalid and you need to apply for a new one in case you have a new passport. You will be using an online application process; thus, you must have a valid email address to access eTA related information and to receive your approval notifications.

The procedure is swift, but some application requests may take a few days to process where supporting documents are requested. Therefore, it would be best if you apply a few days before your travel date to avoid inconveniences. You also need a valid debit or credit card to pay your application fee by using Master Card, American Express, Visa, JCB cards. If you are planning to visit Canada, you must meet the following basic requirements before the application of your visa;

  • You should be in good health condition.
  • You need authentic travel documentation.
  • You should have a good moral character.
  • Have a clean criminal record.
  • You must be willing to leave Canada at the end of your visiting period.
  • You need sufficient money to sustain you throughout your stay.
  • You must present convincing ties like job and family that will make you go back to your country.

Travelling with Children to Canada

When visiting Canada with your child who is under 18 years, the Canadian immigration law subjects them to the same rules. Thus, you need to get them all the necessary documents to avoid disappointments. Apply for eTA on their behalf, and the system will prompt you to provide your personal information together with the child’s details and a passport.

In case your spouse is not coming along with you, provide documents to certify that both parents agree to the child’s travel. You need the birth certificate, the child’s passport, and a copy of the national identification card for the parent not accompanying the child. Also, have a consent letter signed by the non-travelling parent within the past 12 months with contact and home details of both parents. If there is a deceased parent, present a copy of the death certificate and a notarized copy or adoption papers if both are deceased.

Visiting your Children and Grandchildren in Canada

In 2011, Canada came up with the super visa program that allows parents and grandparents an extended stay to visit children and grandchildren. Unlike the regular visa that is valid for up to six months, a super visa grants you multiple entries up to two consecutive years for a maximum of ten years without any extension fee accrued.

Note that you are only eligible for the super visa if you are a parent or grandparent to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. During the visa application, you should submit relevant documents that are proof of family ties like birth certificates, purpose of your visit, economic and political stability of your home country. Additionally, you need to have a health cover for at least one year, excellent financial support during your stay, and a travel insurance cover by a Canadian insurer. Your child or grandchild also needs to present their financial documents as proof that the household meets the minimum necessary income.

Visiting Canada for Studies

Depending on your circumstances, you will probably need a visa, eTA, and a study permit to school in Canada. With eTA, you are allowed to stay in the country for a maximum of six months; therefore, you can only uptake short courses during this period. If you want to undertake a professional, academic or vocational training at a university in Canada beyond six months, you will need a study permit from the Canadian immigration authorities. However, you need to first apply for a temporary resident visa through the Canadian High Commission. To apply for the visa, you should be accepted by the designated learning institute and have enough funds for your expenses and tuition fee. You should be in good health with a medical certificate to certify and a clean criminal record backed by a police certificate.

After receiving the college acceptance letter, apply for the student visa with a valid passport effective for the full period and passport photographs. Additionally, you will carry out an English language proficiency exam and a credit card to pay your fees as the system doesn’t accept debit cards.

If you wish to earn some money while studying, you can’t solely rely on eTA; you need a study permit as well as a Canadian Social insurance number. Please note that you are only allowed to work under specific conditions; you may be restricted to jobs within your campus and 20 working hours per week. You can only start working once your study program commences and you meet the job requirements. However, if your study program has a co-op or internship placement, a work permit is needed, and if you have graduated, apply for a post-graduate work permit. Note that the validity of your eTA isn’t connected with your study permit, and you can still use it to travel to Canada once you complete your course.

Why you may be Inadmissible to Canada

Some people travelling to Canada may be deemed unacceptable as per Canada’s immigration law, thus are denied entry into the country. If you are found inadmissible, you might be denied an Electronic travel authorization, refused entry or even kicked out of Canada. You can be prohibited from entry due to security reasons such as terrorism, Subversion, or being a senior official whose government is subject to international sanctions.

Additionally, those that have violated human rights through crimes against humanity or other offences, including drunk driving and money laundering, may also be deemed inadmissible. You can also be denied entry if your health status might endanger public safety or cause high demand for medical services, although there are some exemptions. Other reasons include failure to comply with IRPA provisions, financial inability, or having an inadmissible family member.