Listen up folks! There have been some major changes in the way in which you are allowed to enter Canada and all travelers will be affected. Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) have introduced a new mandatory system that will be implemented from the 29th September 2016 effectively. The system was initially supposed to be set for implementation in March 2016, however a leniency period was allowed and the date was shifted to September instead.
What is an ETA?
The Electronic Travel Authorization is a pre-screening system that provides stress-free travel for visa-exempt individuals by requiring them to complete an online form before departure. Previously, visa-exempt nationals entering Canada were not systematically screened for admissibility until they arrived at a Canadian Port of Entry. With the implementation of this system, they can now enter Canada hassle-free. This documents will be valid for a five-year period and will ideally contain the applicant’s name, date and place of birth, gender, address, nationality, and passport and/or travel document information.
Visa-exempt individuals who require an eTA will need to fill out an online form. Below are the requirements:
- a valid passport from a visa-exempt country,
- a credit card to pay the $7.00 CAD fee,
- a valid email address
- access to the internet and time to spare
There are a few exceptions who will be allowed to travel to Canada without the eTA and these include:
- nationals of the United States,
- individuals already in possession of a Canadian temporary resident visa,
- certain foreign diplomats,
- commercial air crew,
- citizens of France who are residents of St. Pierre and Miquelon,
- individuals in possession of a visa to enter the United States on a flight bound for that country in transit through Canada, where the sole purpose of the flight stopping in Canada is for purpose of refuelling,
- individuals transiting through Canada as a passenger on a flight who are in possession of any visa required to enter the country of destination;
- individuals carrying out official duties as a member of the armed forces of a country that is a designated state for the purposes of the Visiting Forces Act,
- study or work permit holders re-entering Canada following a visit solely to the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon, and
- Her Majesty in right of Canada and any member of the Royal Family.
If you are not one of the above, then we suggest you check your eligibility and apply for your eTA soon! After the 29th of September 2016, travelers who do not have an eTA will not be able to board their flight, as only those who have the appropriate travel documents, such as a valid passport or eTA will be allowed.