Starting March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). To find out whether you need an eTA, please go to the Government of Canada interactive web-site. The Government of Canada has prepared a video about eTA requirements.
What is the eTA Program? The eTA Program is a product of the joint U.S.-Canada Border Action Plan in which Canada and the U.S. have agreed to cooperate on pre-screening of travelers in order to identify national security threats. Canada’s eTA Program is similar to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) for visa-waiver nationals traveling to the United States.
All foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries (such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia) and U.S. permanent residents (not U.S. citizens), traveling to Canada by air must obtain an eTA prior to boarding their flight. All travelers requiring a visa must obtain a visa and the eTA Program does not apply to such persons. To determine whether you need to obtain a visa or an eTA, please go to the Government of Canada’s entry requirements web-site. The following persons will need an eTA:
The following foreign nationals will need an eTA before boarding their flight to Canada as of March 15, 2016:
- Persons who have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence (United States Permanent Residents);
- Holder of a passport or travel document issued by the Holy See;
- Holder of a national Israeli passport;
- Holder of a passport issued by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.
- Holder of a passport issued by the United Kingdom to a British National (Overseas), as a person born, naturalized or registered in Hong Kong;
- Holder of a passport issued by the United Kingdom to a British Subject which contains the observation that the holder has the right of abode in the United Kingdom; and
- Holder of an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes the personal identification number of the individual. Note: Taiwanese citizens who hold a passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that does not include their personal identification number need a visa to come to Canada.
The following foreign nationals are exempt from the eTA requirements:
The following foreign nationals will be exempt from the eTA requirement:
- Nationals of the United States;
- Her Majesty the Queen of Canada and any member of the Royal Family;
- Citizens of France who are residents of St. Pierre and Miquelon who seek to enter Canada directly from St. Pierre and Miquelon;
- Visitors, students and workers, who seek to re-enter Canada after solely visiting either the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon, providing that they return to Canada by the end of the period initially authorized for their stay or any extension to it;
- Foreign nationals who are passengers on a flight stopping in Canada for the sole purpose of refuelling and
- possess proper documents to enter the United States and their flight is bound for that country, or
- they were lawfully admitted to the United States and their flight originated in that country;
- Foreign nationals who are passengers on a flight that, owing to an emergency or other unforeseen circumstances, makes an unscheduled stop in Canada;
- Foreign nationals seeking to transit through Canada under Transit Without Visa or China Transit Program;
- Foreign nationals who hold a passport that contains a diplomatic acceptance, a consular acceptance or an official acceptance issued by the Chief of Protocol for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on behalf of the Government of Canada and are properly accredited diplomats, consular officers, representatives or officials of a country other than Canada, of the United Nations or any of its agencies, or of any international organization of which Canada is a member;
- Foreign nationals seeking to enter and remain in Canada solely:
- As a crew member of a means of transportation that may be used for transportation by air or to become a member of such a crew; or
- To transit through Canada after working, or to work, as a crew member of a means of transportation that may be used for transportation by air, if they possess a ticket for departure from Canada within 24 hours after their arrival in Canada;
- Foreign nationals seeking to enter and remain in Canada solely to carry 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, unless they have been designated under that Act as a civilian component of those armed forces;
- Foreign nationals seeking to enter and remain in Canada solely to conduct inspections of the flight operation procedures or cabin safety of a commercial air carrier operating international flights, if they are a civil aviation inspector of a national aeronautical authority and possess valid documentation to that effect; and
- Foreign nationals seeking to enter and remain in Canada solely to participate as an accredited representative or as an adviser to an aviation accident or incident investigation conducted under the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act, if they possess valid documentation to that effect.
It is important to determine whether you require an eTA as you may not be allowed to board your flight without it. If you have travel plans after March 15, 2016, apply now. Since this is a new requirement, the Canadian processing of eTA applications may encounter glitches. Avoid complications. Apply online.