If you are a citizen of one of the visa-exempt countries, you almost certainly qualify to visit Canada with an eTA. Getting one of these is much quicker and easier than applying for a visa.
In total, there are 53 countries on the visa-exempt list. Citizens of these countries can enter Canada for business, tourism, or transit purposes, provided they have a valid eTA. Fortunately, one can apply online, so visiting a Canadian consulate or embassy in person is unnecessary.
Keep reading to find out how you could speed up the eTA application process even more in an emergency.
How does one apply for a Canadian eTA?
In order to submit a successful eTA application, you should have the following ready:
- a valid passport from one of the countries on the visa-exempt list
- a working email address
- a valid Paypal account or debit/credit card
The cost is 7 CAD, and the application process should not take longer than a couple of minutes. The good news is that once you have an approved eTA, it stays valid for 5 years, provided your passport does not expire during this time.
Are there different kinds of Canadian eTA?
There are 4 types of Canadian eTA, or to put it differently, you can apply for a Canadian eTA if the reason for your trip to that country is any of the following 4:
For business-related purposes. These can include conducting business, attending business meetings, attending a scientific, professional, or educational convention or conference, or if you have to settle the affairs of a deceased estate.
Sightseeing, tourism, visiting friends or family members, attending a short study course where no credits are awarded, or going on a school trip.
A layover or transit during which you will only stop at a Canadian city or airport for a short period of time until the flight leaves for your next destination.
You have to undergo medical treatment at a hospital in Canada.
What type of information do I have to provide when I apply for a Canadian eTA?
Applicants have to provide this information when completing the eTA application form:
- Passport number, date when it was issued, date when it expires
- Personal info such as your name, city of birth, and date of birth
- Valid contact info, for example, a working email address and a physical address
- Information about your current job
If my circumstances require that, can I submit an urgent eTA application?
You should always apply for an eTA at least 72 hours before your departure. These authorizations are often approved (or rejected) in a matter of minutes – but if there are issues with your application, it can take longer than 72 hours to resolve.
If you feel that your application warrants expedited processing, provide all the necessary information about the matter on the application form. The authorities will consider these when they process the application. Some third-party companies promise an eTA decision within a very short time, provided you pay their fees. Before following this route, do your homework and try to confirm if the firm is legit before parting with your money.
What would be a good reason for my eTA application to be processed more quickly?
Here are a few of the scenarios the authorities might consider favourably:
- Your family in Canada has a medical emergency
- You have to attend a business meeting that was arranged in a hurry
- There was an unplanned change in your itinerary
- You would like to make use of a special airline deal
- Your transport plans to Canada didn’t work out as planned, and you now have to catch a flight much earlier
I will be travelling to Canada without my husband or wife but with a minor child. What documents should I have ready?
You will be requested to present these documents:
- A letter of authorization that the other parent has signed. It should contain his or her telephone number and address.
- The kid’s birth certificate or a legitimate copy.
- A copy of the other parent’s national identity card or passport. If you and your spouse are divorced or separated but have shared custody of the kid, you should also be ready to present copies of the custody papers. If only one of you has been granted custody of your child, only the one who has custody has to sign the letter of authorization, and he or she should carry a copy.
- If the other parent is deceased, you will be asked to present a copy of his or her death certificate at the border.
Should I apply for an eTA if I will only be passing through Canada while on the way to a second country?
If you are from a visa-wavier country, you will still have to apply for an eTA when transiting through Canada by air. You do, however, not need to apply for an eTA if you will be travelling by bus, train, cruise ship, or boat. You still need to carry valid travel documents, e.g. your passport.
If you do not qualify for an eTA, you will have to apply for a visitor visa if you are travelling by airplane – even if you will be in Canada for less than 48 hours. If you are travelling by car, bus, train, cruise ship, or boat, this requirement only applies if you will be in Canada for longer than 48 hours.
If you don’t qualify for an eTA, you will have to apply for a transit visa in the following cases:
- You do not hold a valid visitor visa.
- You are onboard an international flight that will stop at an airport in Canada on the way to somewhere else.
- You have to connect with more than one international flight at Canadian airports.
- You will transit through the country in 48 hours or less.
Do I need to submit an eTA application every time I visit Canada?
Here the answer is no. Once you have an approved eTA, it will remain valid for a period of 5 years unless your passport expires before then. During that time, you will be allowed to visit Canada as often as you want.
What should I put on my checklist before applying for an eTA for Canada?
- Your passport has to be valid not only until the date on which you plan to leave Canada again but for at least three months beyond that.
- Your passport must have at least 1 blank page where the customs officer can stamp it. An ordinary passport qualifies, as well as a diplomatic, official, or service passport.
- A working email address. The reason for this is that you will get your eTA via email.
- A valid payment method. Because the eTA application form can only be submitted online, you need a valid debit or credit card or an active Paypal account to pay the necessary fee.
You might be asked to present any of the following documents at the Canadian border:
- Proof that you will be able to support yourself financially during the time you are in Canada
- Return or onward flight tickets or proof of sufficient funds to buy such a ticket.