Why is my Canada eTA taking so long to process?

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Why is my Canada eTA taking so long to process?

Although the vast majority of eTA applications are approved in a matter of a few minutes, it can sometimes take a few days or longer for an application to be processed. In most of these cases, it’s because the authorities need more information about something before they can approve your application.

In these cases, the Canadian IRCC will send you an email to let you know what exactly you should do next. When you have applied for a Canadian eTA, therefore, it’s important to check your email regularly. If you don’t get approval within a day or two, also check your spam/junk mail folder and make sure that the email address you provided on the application form is correct. A simple typo can cause havoc in cases like this. Also, make sure that you don’t have a spam filter that is blocking automated emails coming from IRCC.

If there is some or other issue with your application, you may be requested to:

  • provide additional documentation or information.
  • go for a personal interview at the Canadian visa office nearest to you.

In case you don’t receive an email confirmation (complete with your application number) within 3 days (72 hours) after you have applied for a Canadian eTA, you will have to fill out this online form.

This will require you to do the following:

  • Enter your personal information again.
  • In the ‘Type of application’ field, choose ‘Electronic Travel Authorization”.
  • Next, choose ‘Case Specific Enquiries”.

Enter as much information as possible about the issue you are having. It could add several days to the whole procedure if the authorities have to email you back to ask for an explanation.

Important: In case you applied for a Canadian eTA when you arrived at the airport for your flight, and by the time you have to check in, your eTA has not yet been approved, you will have no other choice than to reschedule the flight.

I applied for a Canadian eTA, and my application was refused. What should I do?

If you apply for a Canadian eTA and the Canadian authorities reject your application, you must first decide whether you still want to continue with your travel plans to that country. If the answer is yes, you might be successful with applying for a conventional visa. It depends on why your eTA application was unsuccessful.

The most common reasons why an eTA application is denied

  • Security issues such as subversive actions on your part, spying, terrorism, violence, or being part of an organization that has been implicated in criminal actions.
  • Violating other people’s human rights
  • Actions that contravened international law, including crimes against humanity or war crimes. This includes senior government officials who have made themselves guilty of such acts and/or who are currently being sanctioned internationally for such actions.
  • Criminal offenses of a serious nature that carry a maximum jail sentence of 10 years or more in Canada.
  • Being convicted by a court, even for relatively minor offenses such as driving while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Taking part in organized criminal activities and/or being part of any criminal organization.
  • Being involved in money laundering or human trafficking.
  • Health issues. An example includes where you suffer from a transmittable disease that is viewed as a danger to public safety and health or you depend on health services/social services (except for a couple of exceptions).
  • Financial issues. These could include when you are unable to sustain yourself and your family.
  • When the authorities verified the information you provided in the application form, they found that you made one or more false statements.
  • You are in some or other way related to an individual who is inadmissible in Canada.
  • You made a simple mistake in the application form because you failed to double-check the information you provided before hitting the ‘Submit’ button.

In cases where your eTA application was rejected for one of the reasons mentioned above, there is not a significant chance that any visa application you submit from here on will be successful. The reason is simple: the same legislation also applies to visa applications.

There are, however, certain exceptions to this general rule. If you made a simple mistake on the eTA application, and you can prove that it was a mistake, you should be successful with a visa application. The same applies if you are from a country that does not form part of the eTA program.

Applying for a Canadian visa

To apply for a Canadian visa, you will have to visit the Canadian consulate or embassy in the country where you live and go through the standard visa application process. Please note that applying for a visa will require you to present additional documentation and answer more questions than is the case with an eTA application.

A visa application typically also takes significantly longer to finalize than its eTA counterpart. You should, therefore, allow for enough time so you can gather all the necessary documentation and information. As part of the visa application procedure, you could also be asked to undergo a medical examination.

I have a minor child. Does he or she also have to apply for an eTA to visit Canada?

In terms of Canadian legislation, the same entry requirements apply to adults and children. Your child must, therefore, have a passport and an eTA or visa in order to visit Canada – just like you. The child’s age does not make any difference.

The eTA application process for a child is the same as for an adult and can also be completed online. As the parent or legal guardian of a minor child, you will be responsible for completing this procedure on his or her behalf. If the child’s eTA application is rejected, he or she might also be able to apply for a visa – depending on the reason for the rejection.

Are there any different procedures when I apply on behalf of my minor child?

Since a minor child cannot on their own apply for an eTA, his or her parents have to do it on their behalf using the eTA application form, there are some differences in the case of a child though. These include:

  • When responding to the question “Are you applying for another person?’ you should answer “yes”.
  • Also answer “yes” where it is asked “Are you applying on behalf of a minor child?”
  • Where the form asks for the information of the child’s parent or guardian, enter your own personal info.
  • Afterwards, you will be taken to the next section where you will be able to enter more information about your child. Please make sure that you enter the correct information here, particularly regarding the child’s identity and passport numbers.
  • Provide a valid email address where you can be sure to receive a response.
  • Enter the child’s name in the form’s signature field.

Once you have provided all the necessary information on the eTA form, you should proceed with paying the relevant application fee. This is the same as the amount you would pay for yourself.

Does a minor child who travels to Canada need to carry additional documentation?

Apart from a visa or eTA, a minor child that will be travelling to Canada should also have various other legal papers with him or her.

  • They should have a valid passport with them since they can’t use your passport, regardless of whether or not their personal details are on it.
  • In case the minor child is travelling to Canada alone, he or she should also carry a copy of their birth certificate.
  • Another document that is compulsory is a letter in which the child’s legal guardian or (both) parents authorize the trip to Canada.

When a child will be visiting Canada with only one of his or her parents, they should also bring a letter in which the second parent authorizes the trip. It should contain that parent’s telephone number and address, plus a copy of their ID card or passport – and that other parent should sign it.

In the case where parents are divorced and have alternating custody of the child, the one who is travelling with the child should also carry a copy of the original custody order with him or her.

A minor child who travels with his or her adoptive parents or a legal guardian should also carry a copy of the adoption or legal guardianship papers.

In cases where a minor child is travelling with someone who is not their legal guardian or parent, that individual should be able to show a letter of authorization that has been signed by both parents or the child’s guardian. Such a letter should also contain the telephone numbers and addresses of the child’s legal guardians or parents and copies of their ID cards must be attached.