Before we proceed, let’s make sure there is no misunderstanding: This beautiful French-speaking city is part of Canada, and all the visa and eTA requirements that apply to the rest of Canada also apply to Quebec City.
Suppose you plan to visit Quebec City in the foreseeable future. In that case, one of the very first things you should be aware of is that since 2016 visitors from countries that are exempt from applying for a visa are required to apply for an eTA or Electronic Travel Authorization before visiting Canada. This applies even if you will only be in Quebec (or anywhere else in Canada) while your flight is in transit to another destination.
This does, however, not apply to citizens of the United States who only need a passport or other form of identification.
What exactly is a Canadian eTA?
The term eTA refers to an electronic travel authorization that aims to streamline the process of visiting Canada for common purposes like business, tourism, or transit. It is issued to visitors from visa-exempt countries who want to travel to Canada for any of the above purposes.
You will find a complete and up-to-date list of visa-exempt countries that qualify for an eTA on the Canada eTA requirements page.
How does one apply for a Canadian eTA?
The process is fairly quick and easy – all you need is an internet connection and a web browser. In the majority of cases, the application will be approved before you’ve had time to drink a glass of French wine. Now and then, it could take a bit longer, though. In these cases, you will get an email to inform you of what needs to be done within three days. You will be able to check the status of the application online whenever you want.
For how long does a Canadian eTA remain valid?
Once you have an approved Canadian eTA, it will remain valid for six years. This means that you can visit the country unlimited times over a 6-year period, provided that no single visit is allowed to last longer than six months and your passport is valid.
Apart from applying for an eTA, all the other standard entry requirements still apply. You must e.g., be able to prove that you have sufficient funds to pay for your visit and that you genuinely plan to leave Canada before the six months expire.
If you do not qualify for an eTA because your country is not on the list, you will have to apply for a visa.
For what purposes can one use a Canadian eTA?
It is important to be aware of exactly what you can use a Canadian eTA for and what might cause your eTA to be revoked. Legitimate uses include tourism, being a guest speaker at a business conference, and attending a wedding of family members or friends.
You can also use a Canadian eTA to settle the estate of a deceased relative, have meetings with business associates, or negotiate a business deal. In the last two cases, you might be requested to furnish additional details and documentation during the application process or when you arrive at the border. You could also be asked for proof that your primary source of income is not in Canada and that you are employed outside the country.
It should be clear by now that an eTA is definitely not a work visa. You will be in hot water if you are caught working illegally in Canada while visiting the country with an eTA.
Visiting Canada as a tourist
Most applicants apply for an eTA because they want to visit the country as a tourist or visit family and friends. As long as you restrict your activities to sightseeing and meeting up with relatives and old friends, there will not be any issues.
For transit purposes
You can also use a Canadian eTA for transit purposes, i.e. when traveling to another country by airplane and changing flights in Canada.
What would constitute the illegal use of a Canadian eTA?
We have already emphasized that if you work in Canada while holding an eTA, it will be an illegal act. You can use an eTA to conduct business affairs but can not obtain or hold employment in that country. If that is your trip’s purpose, you must apply for a work visa beforehand. This applies to both full-time and part-time employment in Canada. You should not accept payment for any work in the country if you do not have a Canadian work visa.
An eTA also does not authorize you to study in Canada. For that, you should apply for a Canadian student visa.
Circumstances that could have an impact on your eligibility for a Canadian eTA
- You are only allowed to enter Canada via airplane
- You should not have a prior history of being deported from Canada
- You should have an electronic passport
- You should not suffer from an extremely infectious condition like tuberculosis
- You should not have previous criminal convictions related to causing serious bodily harm to other people or their property
What does the application process for a Canadian eTA involve?
You should have your employment information and passport with you when applying for a Canadian eTA. The application process should not take much longer than 15 to 20 minutes. More good news is that your application will normally also be processed in a matter of minutes.
Enhanced security screening could, however, sometimes result in an application being flagged for manual review. If this happens, you will be asked to provide more information or perhaps submit additional documentation before the application can be processed.
Please note that your application will be rejected if you do not provide the information or documents requested within a reasonable time.
Different Types Of Canadian Permits and Visas
As mentioned before, a Canadian eTA is only available to citizens of countries that do not need a visa to visit Canada. If you are not an American citizen or from one of the visa-exempt countries, you should apply for a visa if you want to visit anywhere in Canada, including Quebec City.
The Canadian tourist visa
If your country is not on the list of visa-exempt nations and you are not from the United States, you will need a visa to visit Canada. Like the eTA, you can apply for a Canadian tourist visa online. You can also submit a physical application form at your nearest American embassy or consulate. Please note that the application process for a visa involves supplying more information than with an eTA application, and the processing time is also longer.
A work permit for Quebec City or elsewhere in Canada
If you intend to take up employment in Quebec City or anywhere else in Canada, you will have to apply for a work permit and a visa or eTA. Before submitting a work permit application, you should typically get a job offer from an employer in Canada. Exceptions are sometimes made for certain categories of professionals and specific types of jobs.
As is the case with visas, you can also apply online for a work permit – but if you prefer, you can submit a paper application. During the application process, you will be required to state that you will not work for any other employer than the one from whom you received a job offer and that you intend to leave the country again once that employment contract ends.
A Canadian study permit – what it is and how to apply
Everyone intending to study in Canada must apply for a study permit. In many respects, the procedures are the same as when you apply for a work permit. You will also need an eTA or a visa. This includes any form of study, including attending a school, college, or university in Canada for more than six months. The only ones exempted are kids attending preschool.
Student visa applications can be submitted on paper or online. Here also you have to state that you intend to leave Canada when your studies come to an end. You must also deliver proof that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while in Canada.