Canada eTA

What is it and why do I need it?

Canada eTA

As of March 15, 2016 it is mandatory for many people entering Canada to have an eTA. This article will help you understand what an eTA is, why it exists, who has to get one and how. If you are planning on moving to Canada, and are entering before obtaining a residency permit, you may need to apply for an eTA.


The Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is a travel document for visitors from visa-exempt foreign countries wishing to enter any Canadian territory. Once approved, an eTA allows for multiple entries and is valid for 5 years or until your passport expires. Keep in mind that an eTA does not guarantee entry, the Canadian border officials will ultimately decide whether they allow you to enter the country.e you entrance into Canada; it is possible to be denied entry upon arrival at a Canadian airport.

A granted eTA is valid for up to 5 years or until your passport expires.

Why does it exist?

The eTA was created to give Canadian authorities the capacity to preemptively screen visitors flying into Canada from countries that are visa-exempt. A full list of those countries can be found below. Before the introduction of the eTA, the large number of passengers from those countries could not be screened until they landed in Canada.

Do you need one?

You need an eTA if you are a citizen of one of these visa-exempt countries . Citizens of countries not on the visa-exempt list may need to apply for a visitor’s visa.

How do I get an eTA?

You can get an eTA if you meet all the following requirements:

  • You are a citizen of a country that is exempt from having to obtain a visa to travel to Canada, or are a lawful permanent resident of the United States with a valid alien registration card (Green Card)
  • You are traveling by air to Canada (note that it is not necessary to apply for an eTA if traveling by land or sea)
  • You have sufficient funds to cover your stay in Canada
  • You have a valid passport
  • You have no criminal or immigration-related convictions

How to apply

The application process is relatively straightforward, simply requiring you to complete an online form  and pay a small fee ($7 CAD). Travelers will need to enter basic personal details and a valid passport number. If approved, you will receive a confirmation email within minutes. However, it can take up to several days to process applications, so it is advisable to submit an application several weeks before your planned arrival date.


  • Only travel to Canada with the passport used to apply for the eTA, as this is the only one that authorities will accept to enter the country.
  • There are many websites that attempt to mislead applicants into thinking they are official government sites. Make sure you apply through the official website  to avoid overpaying.

Further reading

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