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Canada eTA Visa Frequently Asked Questions

The Most Important eTA Canada Questions Visiting Canada has never been easier with the new eTA visa system. However, those who are not as tech confident may be intimidated by the new process. That’s where we come in to help you along the way.

To enter the country you will need either a visa or an electronic travel authorization – eTA. You no longer have to visit the Canadian embassy for tourism or short business trips, which makes entry into Canada and business opportunities more convenient than ever. Let’s see exactly what you need before your flight to Canada.


What is an eTA?

An eTA is an electronic travel authorisation. This is different from a standard visa. It is simply permission for you to visit the country. There are many countries that did not require a visa to visit the country and an eTA is an electronic form to help screen visa-exempt countries. A valid eTA remains valid for up to five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.  If you get a new passport, you need to get a new eTA. You need an eTA to fly to or transit through a Canadian airport. These travellers do not need an eTA when arriving by car, bus, train or boat (including a cruise ship). Here is a link to the eTA Application Form for further information.

Differences Between a Canadian eTA and a Canadian visa

A Canadian eTA is not the same thing as a Canadian visa. A visa is a physical authorization, such as a stamp or a sticker that is placed in your passport so that you are allowed to enter a foreign country. Usually, you either request an advance visa from an embassy or obtain one at the border. Both require time filling out paperwork and approval from an immigration officer. Canada requires citizens of many countries to obtain visas to enter Canada.

Travel Authorization to Canada

Planning to visit Canada? You must have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if you are a citizen of a visa-exempt country.The beauty of the eTA is that travelers do not have to go through the sometimes-lengthy process of applying for a visa at a Canadian embassy. Instead, if they are citizens of a visa-exempt country, they may simply apply online for a travel authorization. Once granted the eTA, travelers may visit Canada for 180 days or less.

About the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) Program

The eTA program came about as an attempt by the Canadian government to pre-screen travelers coming from visa-exempt countries. Before the eTA program was in effect, a traveler arriving in Canada who did not meet entry requirements would not be allowed in to the country. Then followed the task of returning that person to his or her country.The eTA program circumvents that situation by ensuring that travelers meet entry requirements before they leave home.

Who Can Apply for an eTA?

Anyone may apply for an eTA if:He or she is a citizen of a country belonging to Canada’s visa-exempt programThe purpose of their visit is business, tourism, or transitThe planned trip is 180 days or lessThe person is not a criminalThe person has not violated immigration regulationsHe or she is in good healthHe or she has employment back home, owns a house there, or has financial assets thereHe or she can confirm their intentions to return home

Who Needs a Canada eTA?

Anyone who comes from a visa-exempt country and plans to travel to Canada by air needs to have an eTA before boarding the plane.All air passengers, including children, must have the eTA. Ground travelers going into Canada from the United States do not need to have an eTA.Travelers coming from countries that are not part of the visa exempt program must secure regular visas at a Canadian embassy or consulate.

The Visa History of Canada

For several years, Canada has exempted travelers from certain countries from the need to have a visa. Currently, over 50 countries are part of the visa-exempt program.Canada is selective about the visitors that it allows to enter its borders. In determining if a country may qualify for visa-exempt status, Canadian authorities look at visa overstay rates, security factors, and asylum claims.

Countries in the Visa-Exempt Program

Fifty-two countries have been granted visa-exempt status. Citizens of these countries must secure an eTA for travel to Canada.The visa-exempt countries include: Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Britain, British overseas territories, Brunei, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United States, and Vatican City.

How The eTA Works

To apply for a Canada eTA, travelers must supply certain information on the online form. The information includes:Home address and phone numberPassport number, issue date, and expiration dateEmployer and employment addressValid email address Form of payment (credit or debit card)


When An eTA is Denied

We don’t always know why an eTA gets denied. It can be denied if a passport is submitted that has been reported as lost or stolen.

How Long is an eTA Valid?

From the date of its issue, an eTA is valid for two years. If there are changes in your passport (i.e. it expires or is lost), you must apply for another travel authorization.

Approved Reasons for Travel with an eTA

Vacation/tourismVisiting friends or relativesObtaining medical care or treatmentAmateur participation in sporting, musical, or cultural eventsBusiness meetingsAttending a professional conferenceReceiving short-term trainingContract negotiation

Do Children Need an eTA?

Yes. Children from visa-exempt countries must receive travel authorization.About Visa-Exempt CountriesFifty-two countries are exempt from the visa requirement for Canada. Instead, their citizens may enter Canada with an Electronic Travel Authorization. These 52 countries are economically and politically stable and do not pose any threat to Canada’s security.


When to Apply

Travelers to Canada should apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization at least three days before departure.

The eTA Application Process

After an eTA application has been submitted, the proper authorities review the application. At that point, one of three outcomes is communicated to the applicant:Travel authorization has been grantedTravel authorization has been deniedTravel authorization is pending (further review of the application is necessary)

If You Have Multiple Passports

Do you possess citizenship of more than one country? For the eTA application, you must select one passport to use.


When is the eTA First Used?

The first time your eTA is viewed is at the check-in counter at the airline when you depart your country.

Traveling Through Canada

When Canada is not your destination and you are simply traveling through the country to get somewhere else, you still must have a valid Electronic Travel Authorization for your transit through Canada.

Entering Canada by Auto from the U.S.

If you’re from a visa-exempt country and are entering Canada from a U.S. land border, you do not need an eTA.

Using Your eTA Multiple Times

Canadian immigration authorities have the final say in allowed visit times, however, visits are usually approved for up to six months.

Changing Immigration Status

Consider your plans before you leave for Canada. You may not change your immigration status once in the country. If you decide to stay long-term, you’ll have to exit the country and apply for a regular visa before re-entering.

Leave Canada on Time

Be sure to leave Canada before your allowed period of stay expires.

If you Exceed Your Stay Limit

You will lose your eTA and not be able to use it again in the future if you stay in Canada longer than six months (and the extension has not been approved by the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration departments).

eTA Expiry in Canada

If an eTA expires while you are in Canada, you will not have to reapply for a new eTA until subsequent trips back to Canada. However, your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay in the country.


Is an eTA Visa a Real Thing?

No.  An eTA and a Visa are two separate documents with two different applications processes. The term “eTA Visa” is often used but there is no such thing as an eTA Visa.

What if My Passport Expires or Changes?

If your passport expires or changes, you’ll need a new eTA. The old one, with the old passport, is invalid.

My eTA Was Denied. Now What?

We will make every effort to make sure your eTA is approved. In the unlikely event that it is denied, the next course of action is to go through the regular visa application channels at a Canadian embassy or consulate.

Why was My eTA Denied?

If an eTA is denied, no reason for the denial is given by the Canadian immigration authority. In our experience, eTAs are denied because either entry requirements aren’t met, or the applicant poses a security threat.

What If I Drive into Canada?

If you’re a citizen of a visa-exempt country, you may enter Canada by car through a United States land border without an eTA.

What If I Fly into Canada on a Private Airplane?

The same regulations apply to the traveler entering Canada by private plane as the traveler entering by commercial airliner. You must have an eTA.

What If I Enter Canada by Boat?

You will not need an eTA for entry to Canada if you arrive by boat from the United States.

Passport Expiry and Entry into Canada

We recommend that you do not enter Canada with a passport that is about to expire. While Canada, unlike some countries, does not require that a traveler’s passport be valid for six months prior to their entry into the country, we still recommend coming with a passport that has been valid for at least six months.

What Do You Do with My Personal Information?

We only use your personal information to decide if you’re eligible for the eTA program.


Questions on the Application

We understand that filling out the application can be confusing. We’ve supplied helpful information to aid in the process.

What If I Make a Mistake?

If you realize you’ve made a mistake on your application after you’ve submitted it, please contact us immediately via chat or email, or by using the contact form. We will correct your information before your application is fully processed.

No Internet Access

If you have no internet access, a third party can fill out the eTA application for you. You are still responsible for the truth and accuracy of all supplied information, however. A third party may also pay application fees.

About Non-English Characters

If you have non-English characters in your name, look in your passport near the bottom of the ID page in the machine-readable area. You should be able to find the corresponding characters there to use in the eTA application.

Gender Marked “X” in Passport

If your gender is designated with an “X” in your passport, please select “other” in the gender area of the application.

Visitors With HIV

Canada allows entry to visitors with HIV. Note in your application if you’re taking medications for HIV or are under medical care for HIV.

Green Card Holders (U.S. Permanent Residence) and the eTA

If you have Permanent Resident status in the U.S. and are from a visa-required country, you may apply for an eTA. You do not have to apply for a visitor visa if you have a Green Card.

How Can I Update/Change Information on the Application?

If you’ve submitted your eTA application to us and need to make changes, contact us immediately. We will be able to edit it if it has not been sent to the Canadian travel authorities.

Employment Questions on the eTA Application

The Canadian authorities want to know your employment information. This helps them determine if you are eligible for an eTA approval. If you are unemployed, state that in the employment information section.

Fill Out All Fields in the Application

Do not leave any required fields blank. Be sure to provide accurate information.

The Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) makes it easier for travelers to enter Canada. If a traveler is a citizen of a country that belongs to Canada’s visa-exempt program, that person does not have to obtain a regular visa. He or she may simply apply for an eTA and enter the country with that authorization.

I Have a Visa Already

If you already have a Canadian visa, you do not need an eTA. The visa is all you need to enter Canada.

My Visa Application Has Been Denied Before

Be prepared for your eTA application to be denied if you have been denied a regular Visa in the past. If your eTA application is accepted, be prepared to speak with immigration officials in Canada and demonstrate that you meet all entry criteria.

ETA Denial and Subsequent Visa Request

We recommend applying for an eTA as soon as you know you’ll be traveling to Canada. If your eTA is denied, you will have to go the route of applying for a regular visa. Visa applications can sometimes be expedited, but not always.


What Happens in a Customs Inspection?

Going through Customs in Canada involves completing a Declaration Card, speaking with an immigration officer and showing him or her your travel documents, and sometimes having your baggage checked.

Denial of Entry into Canada

Even if a traveler has an approved eTA, a Canadian Border Services Agency officer can prevent the person from entering the country. If this happens, the traveler is sent back home or to another country that he or she has a ticket to travel to.