The Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) was introduced as a new entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals who wish to enter Canada by air and do not require a visa to enter Canada. In comparison with a visa (temporary resident visa TRV) , an eTA application is usually approved within minutes of applying and is a much faster process (maximum waiting period 72 hours). If you are travelling by land or sea, you do not require an eTA if you are a visa-exempt foreign national. This can become extremely beneficial if you are travelling to Canada on short notice. In this article, I will explain who needs an eTA, the cost of an eTA, the length of validity for an eTA, how to apply for an eTA and steps after applying for an eTA.
Whether you need an eTA or not strictly depends on how you intend on travelling to Canada. As previously mentioned, if you are planning on arriving in Canada by air and you are a foreign national from a visa-exempt country, then you will need an eTA prior to arriving. In order to find out whether your country of origin is a visa-exempt country, it is always best to go onto the government of Canada website and check. If your country is not a visa exempt country, then you will require a visa also known as Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) prior to entering Canada.
On the other hand, if you are arriving in Canada by land or sea, then you will not require a visa or an eTA prior to arriving. You must, however, provide your passport for valid entry. The immigration officer will ask to see your passport for valid entry because passports are the only reliable and universally-accepted travel identification document.
The cost of an eTA is $7 CDN. This is standard to the government of Canada’s official website in which you must apply for an eTA. The cost of an eTA will convert into your country’s currency if you are paying online. However, it is important to convert the cost from Canadian dollars to your currency before paying online. This way you will be aware of the cost in your own currency.
An eTA can be valid for a maximum of five years or until your passport expires. If you get issued a new passport, then you will also need to reapply for an eTA. The length of your travel periods can only be up to six months when travelling to Canada. However, with a valid eTA, you may travel to Canada as often as you’d like so long as it’s under the maximum six months.
There are important documents and steps you must take prior to applying for an eTA. First and foremost you must have a valid passport as your travel identification document. If your passport has expired, it is extremely important to renew it before applying for an eTA. Furthermore, you must have a credit or debit card available to make the online payment for the eTA. It’s essential to the application to have all of this information in front of you before filling out the online form as the form cannot be saved. Therefore, once you have your passport and credit or debit card ready, you may then apply using the online form. After you complete the form, you will then pay the $7 CAD fee for your eTA. After this, you must wait for a response from the government of Canada on whether your application is approved or refused. Most applications are approved within minutes; however, there are some circumstances where they may require further documentation from you. If you experience this, you will most likely receive an e-mail from the government of Canada within 72 hours of your application submission with detailed instructions on what they require from you to proceed.
An overview of the specific documents that you should have on you when applying for an eTA are:
Your e-mail address, and
One of the following methods of payment for the $7 CAD fee
- A credit card, such as a Visa, Mastercard or American Express
- A pre-paid credit card, such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express
- A Visa-Debit
In most cases, you will receive a response within minutes of applying for an eTA. However, if you do not, and you are worried about the application, please remember that the government of Canada might need more documentation from you. If this is the case, then they will respond to you within 72 hours with a response or with detailed instructions on the further documentation they need from you. If, by any chance, you do not receive a response within 72 hours, I suggest you complete an enquiry form on the government of Canada website. You would select your type of application which is an Electronic Travel Authorization and then submit a case specific enquiry. When you submit the enquiry it is very important to give as many details of the application as possible in order for the government of Canada to investigate further into your application. Once you have submitted the enquiry, it can take them several days to respond.
It is essential that you research whether your country of origin is a visa exempt country before applying for an eTA. Also, if you are travelling by land or sea, remember that you do not need to apply for an eTA. Many immigration applications are difficult to pursue on your own, if you are unfamiliar, and it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to apply. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients travel to Canada with an eTA and they are now happily enjoying their visit in Canada. If you believe that you may be eligible for an eTA, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advise.
With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!