Canada Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

What is a Canada eTA?

The Canada Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is a mandatory entry requirement set by the Government of Canada for visa-exempt nationals arriving by air. Visa-exempt nationals coming to Canada by other means, such as road, rail, or ship (including cruising), do not need to organise an eTA—a valid passport will do.

The eTA is significantly cheaper, faster, and easier to obtain than any visa for Canada, including the Visitor Visa. The Department automatically links an eTA to the applicant’s passport. Therefore, no physical paper visa or print-out is required.

The term “visa-exempt nationals” refers to citizens of specific countries that don’t need a visa to enter Canada (an eTA is required instead when arriving by air). The list of visa-exempt countries has been determined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the Department responsible for issuing entry visas.

Most travellers from countries the Department doesn’t provide a visa exemption (also known as visa-required countries) cannot apply for an eTA. These foreign visitors will usually need to obtain a Canada Visitor Visa instead. However, some arrivals from visa-required countries can apply for an eTA under certain conditions.

Who can apply for a Canada eTA?

Visa-exempt nationals arriving in Canada by air must apply for an eTA. The current list of visa-exempt (also known as eTA-eligible) nations includes:

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech, Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong (Hong Kong SAR passport), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vatican City State

Some British overseas nationals and citizens are also eligible for an eTA, including:

  • British National (Overseas)
  • British overseas citizens (who can re-enter the United Kinsgdom)
  • British subjects with the right to live in the United Kingdom
  • British overseas territory citizens with eligible citizenship (through naturalisation, descent, birth, or registration) in one of the following British Overseas Territories: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Island, Saint Helena, and Turks and Caicos Islands

Travellers from most other countries are considered “visa-required nationals”. That means they may not be eligible for an eTA and must obtain a Visitor Visa (or another suitable visa) to enter Canada.

However, some visa-required nationals are eligible for an eTA, provided they comply with three conditions:

  • The traveller has held a Canada Visitor Visa in the previous ten years or presently holds a valid United States non-immigrant visa.
  • The traveller is visiting Canada for a short period, typically less than six months.
  • The traveller is transiting through or flying to a Canadian airport with a passport from an eTA-eligible visa-required country.

All three conditions must be met for an eTA-eligible visa-required national to enter Canada using an eTA instead of a Visitor Visa. If one or more conditions aren’t satisfied, the traveller will need a Visitor Visa instead.

Note this exemption applies to air travel only. Travellers from eTA-eligible visa-required countries who arrive by road, rail, or sea must apply for a Visitor Visa.

eTA-eligible visa-required countries whose citizens may obtain an eTA under the above conditions include:

Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Morocco, Panama, Philippines, Kitts and Nevis, Lucia, Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay

In summary, applying for an eTA is best if you hold a passport from one of these countries, have visited Canada in the last ten years on a Visitor Visa, and will arrive by air using your home country’s passport.

Who is exempt from a Canada eTA?

Canadian citizens do not need an eTA and can enter the country via any means with a valid Canadian passport. Canadian permanent residents are also eTA exempt. These arrivals must provide a permanent resident card or travel document to enter Canada.

American citizens with a valid passport or NEXUS card can enter Canada without an eTA. Permanent residents of the United States can also enter Canada without an eTA, provided they carry a valid passport from their home country and a valid green card.

Visa-exempt foreign nationals do not need an eTA or Visitor Visa when arriving in Canada by road, rail, or sea, including cruise ships. A passport is the only document required.

Visa-required foreign nationals with a valid Canadian visa do not require an eTA—there’s no need to get both a visa and an eTA. Likewise, foreign nationals with a valid visa (student, work, visitor, etc.) who re-enter Canada after only visiting the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon do not require an eTA.

eTA exemptions also apply to certain travel industry professionals working in Canada. These include civil aviation inspectors, flight crew, and accident investigators. Foreign representatives, such as Armed Forces personnel and accredited diplomats, are also exempt.

Required documents for Canada eTA application

Most eligible nationals only require three things to apply for an eTA:

Valid Passport

While the minimum requirement is that your passport remains valid for at least six months beyond your intended date of arrival in Canada, it's recommended to maintain the longest possible passport validity. This practice ensures that you can fully benefit from the extended validity period of your Canada eTA.

Bank Card

To cover the processing fees associated with the eTA application, you will need a valid credit or debit card that is accepted for online transactions. The payment will be securely processed as part of the application.

Email Address

A current and functional email address is necessary for communication throughout the eTA application process. Important notifications, including the eTA approval or any updates, will be sent to this email address.

However, in some situations, the Department may request further documentation to prove your identity or your intent to visit Canada for legitimate reasons. These additional supporting documents vary depending on your specific circumstances. Examples may include proof of onward travel, bank statements, and medical certificates.

How to apply for a Canada eTA?

The application process for a Canada eTA is fast, easy, and efficient. The entire process only takes a few minutes to complete and doesn’t require anything more than basic computer skills.

Given the eTA process is cheap and hassle-free, it is recommended to obtain an eTA before booking your flights and other travel arrangements.

You can only apply for one eTA for one person at a time. If you are travelling in a group, you must apply for each eTA separately.

  1. Fill out the Application Form

    The online eTA application form cannot be saved halfway through and will time out if you take too long to complete it. Should the online form time out, you must start the process again. Therefore, it’s best to have everything ready before commencing. Gather your documents and double-check that your passport and credit card are valid.
    Visit the Canada eTA application website and fill in the form to apply online. Double-check your details are correct before submitting the form. Many applicants enter the wrong passport number into the system. Use the number at the top of your passport information page, which contains your photo. Consult the eTA Application Help Guide if you are unsure.
    The online form itself is only available in English or French. However, the Application Help Guide provides useful translations in multiple languages.

  2. Pay the fees

    The eTA Canada price is CAD$7, which you can pay via an approved payment method. Most credit cards will work with the system.
    After filling out the application and paying the fees, most applicants receive an email confirmation within minutes. Once it arrives, print a copy or save the email so you can find it again.
    If you don’t receive a confirmation email within an hour, check the junk or spam folder in your email application. If you still can’t see any relevant emails, the Department may require more documentation to process your eTA. In this situation, you can expect to receive an email with further instructions in the next 72 hours.

  3. Check your details again

    Triple-check all your details again to ensure they are correct. If you entered your name, passport number, or other essential information incorrectly, you must apply again—no refunds are provided. It’s possible to re-apply immediately.

If you try to visit Canada with an eTA with incorrect information, you will most likely be denied entry.

Canada Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

Electronic Travel Authorization Canada processing time

Most applicants receive their eTA via email a few minutes after lodging their application.

However, in some cases, the applicant may have to send more supporting documents, which could delay the eTA application process by several days or possibly even weeks. In this situation, the Department will email further instructions within 72 hours of receiving your application.

Electronic Travel Authorization Canada fees and payment methods

The Canada eTA costs just CAD$7. Payment must be made when you submit your eTA Canada online application, and no refunds are provided.

The Department accepts the following payment methods:

  • Visa, MasterCard, and American Express credit or debit cards, including pre-paid cards
  • UnionPay
  • JCB Card

Canada eTA validity and duration of stay

A eTA of Canada is valid for up to five years from the date of issue or the expiration date of your passport, whichever comes first. If your eTA or passport is due to expire at any point during your trip to Canada, you should renew the document before you leave. Allow plenty of time for processing.

The Canada eTA typically has a maximum duration of stay up to six months. However, the maximum duration provided is at the discretion of the border officer at your port of entry. Some may apply a shorter or longer duration depending on the schedule and purpose of your visit.

The Canada eTA is a multi-entry, meaning you can use it to enter Canada as often as you like (provided the eTA and your passport are still valid). Nonetheless, it’s worth noting multiple consecutive entries into Canada may raise questions from border personnel.

The eTA Canada visa doesn’t guarantee entry into the country. The border officer at your port of entry ultimately decides whether to let you into Canada.

Travelling to Canada with Canada eTA

The Canada eTA is linked to your passport electronically. Therefore, you won’t have to print out the document and bring it with you.

When presenting your passport to check-in staff at the airport, the airline representative will confirm your Canada eTA via their systems.

If you made a mistake when submitting your eTA, applying again at the airport may be possible. However, as some eTA applications can take several days or weeks to process, any delays could cause you to miss your flight.

Canada eTA Renewal or Extension

An eTA will expire five years after being issued. When this occurs, you must re-apply for a new eTA to enter Canada by air. There is no special process to extend or renew an existing eTA—you apply for a new one via the same process. It’s possible to apply for a new eTA while your current eTA is still valid.

If you’re unsure about the validity of your eTA, you can use the Government of Canada eTA Check Status Tool.

What happens if your Canada eTA application is refused?

In rare situations, the Department may deny your eTA application.

A denied application can occur for various reasons, including overstaying on a previous visit, providing lost or stolen passport information, violating the terms of a previous visa (such as working without authorization), previous denied entries, or having known criminal or terrorist connections.

You won’t be allowed entry into Canada if your eTA application has been refused. The Department may advise you of the reason for denying the application. If possible, attempt to rectify the issue, and then apply again.

Canada Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

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