Millions of visitors make their way to Canada, every year, to explore its vast natural beauty, bustling cities, and incredible attractions. In 2019, Canada saw a record-breaking 22.1 million tourists. 2021 saw a decline due to pandemic restrictions however saw 1 million visitors in just one week in April 2022, the first time since the pandemic started.
To travel to Canada, most travellers will need a visitor’s visa, however, not in all cases.
Certain nationalities will only need what is known as an Electronic Travel Authorization or eTA.
What Is an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)?
An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is an electronic document that is linked to your travel document or passport and allows visa-exempt travellers to come to Canada for a short period of time. An eTA will allow you to enter Canada by air, or transit through a Canadian airport. Visa exempt travellers who are entering Canada by road or sea do not need an eTA.
Am I Eligible?
You need an eTA if you’re a:
- Visa-exempt foreign national and you’re flying to or transiting through a Canadian airport
- As a visa-exempt foreign national, you do not need an eTA (or a visitor visa) when arriving by car, bus, train or boat (including a cruise ship).
You may be eligible to apply for an eTA (instead of a visitor visa) if you’re a:
- Citizen from select visa-required countries and you’re travelling to Canada by air.
- However, you still need a visitor visa (not an eTA) when arriving by car, bus, train, or boat, including a cruise ship.
Travellers That Don’t Need an eTA
U.S. citizens don’t need an eTA or Visitor’s Visa but must carry identification like a valid U.S. passport.
If you’re a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., you’ll need to present a valid green card and the valid passport.
Canadian permanent residents and citizens don’t need an eTA. Canadian permanent residents must have a permanent resident card or permanent resident travel document. Canadian citizens and dual Canadian citizens, can travel with a valid Canadian passport.
American-Canadians can travel with a valid Canadian or U.S. passport.
You don’t need an eTA if you’re visa-required, however you will need a Visitor’s Visa to enter Canada.
You may be eligible to apply for an eTA (instead of a visitor visa) if you’re a citizen from select visa-required countries and you’re travelling to Canada by air.
However, you still need a visitor visa (not an eTA) when arriving by car, bus, train, or boat, including a cruise ship.
Below is a list of visa-exempt national that will need an eTA if travelling by air or transit through an airport in Canada:
|Countries That Qualify for an Electronic Travel Authorization|
|Israel (passport holders)|
|Turks and Caicos|
|United Arab Emirates|
How to Apply for an eTA
Applying for an eTA is a simple online process. You should apply for an eTA before you book your flight.
Get your passport, credit or debit card ready, and read the application help document, which is available in several languages.
Use the online form to apply.
Pay $7 CAD for your eTA right after you complete the form.
Get an email about your eTA application.
Most applications are approved within minutes but some can take longer. You may need to submit additional documents before your application can be approved. If this happens to you, an email will be sent with instructions within 72 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions About Canada’s eTA
1. How long it takes to get an eTA
It’s best to get an eTA before you book your flight to Canada. Most applicants get their eTA approval (via an email) within minutes. However, some requests can take several days to process if you're asked to submit supporting documents.
Confirm your passport number is correct. Once your eTA is approved, check that the passport number in your eTA approval email matches the number in your passport. If they don’t match, you need to apply for a new eTA.
2. Is an eTA the same as an eVisa?
No, and eTA is not the same as a visa. An eTA can only be obtained by citizens of countries that participate in Canada's Visa Waiver Program. eVisas, on the other hand, are often available to inhabitants of almost all nations and territories.
3. How long can I stay in Canada with an eTA?
You can usually stay in Canada for up to six months with an eTA. The length of time you can stay in Canada, however, will be determined by the border services officer at the Canadian port of entry.
4. Do I need an eTA for Canada if I have a visa?
You do not need an eTA if you are visiting Canada by land from a visa-exempt nation. Anyone entering Canada with a Canadian visa, permanent residence, or citizenship does not require an eTA travel document.
5. What is the difference between eTA and visa Canada?
Foreign nationals who require visas to enter Canada must get Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs), often known as entry visas, whereas Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) permits foreign citizens from visa-exempt countries to enter Canada without a visa.