Immigration

eTA Canada: Electronic Travel Authorization

Applying for a Visa in most countries requires you to go to the embassy of the country you intend traveling to which might even be quite a distance from where you are. Sometimes you might be required to send your passport to a consulate office not mentioning other travel-related hassles you might face.  This process you have to undergo can be very cumbersome and tiring, hence, a couple of countries Canada included have adopted the idea of eTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation).

eta canada

With the advent of this, the hassle of travel processes will be reduced to the minimum. Travelers from a visa-exempt country are eligible to apply for this thereby reducing the crowd of people applying for visas daily. A lot of people are still not familiar with the term eTA, therefore, this post would cover some detailed information about the term ETA,  what it means, how it works, what it entails, requirements, eligibility and how to apply. Read more below.

What is eTA?

ETA stands for Electronic Travel Authorisation. It is a requirement for visa-exempted foreign nationals who are traveling to a country by air. The eTA enables the destination country to screen travelers before they get to their country and is linked to your passport electronically.

This System Was first introduced by the United States Of America in the year 2007 and was adopted in Canada from the year 2015.  Travelers were given the opportunity to register from the 1st of August 2015. It is for travelers who do not require a Visa to enter Canada and Citizens of Canada also do not require an eTA.

If you plan to enter Canada by land, or you have a Canadian visa or Canadian permanent residence then you do not need an eTA travel document to enter the country.

Requirements to Apply for eTA (Canada)

Below is a list of what is required if you wish to apply or a Canadian ETA:

  • A valid passport
  • A credit or debit card
  • CAD $7 fee
  • A functioning email address

Eligibility for eTA in Canada

Everyone Can apply for eTA irrespective of age, size,  and gender so long as you are from a visa-exempt country.  Just ensure you have the requirements listed above, be in good health, no criminal convictions, and certainly do not have immigration issues. If all these checks positively then you are good to go. Citizens of Canada do not need an eTA.

How Long is an eTA Valid For?

An eTA is valid for five years after application or when your passport expires depending on which one comes first as it is linked to your passport. If your passport expires before the five years duration your eTA becomes invalid. Whichever case comes first, in any of these scenarios and eTA is rendered null and void.

How to Apply for eTA in Canada

The application process for Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) is usually done online. For a Canadian eTA, filling the form online does not take up too much time.  Apply ONLY on the Official Government Of Canada website. No other site has the authorization to register travelers for eTA. It is also important to note that you can only apply for one person at a time.

  • Go to the official government of Canada application website
  • Fill the form online
  • Add your credit or debit card details from which a fee of CAD $7 will be deducted.
  • To submit your application for processing, click submit i.e after filling in your correct details.

If all requirement is met, you should receive a mail through the email address you provided when applying in less than ten minutes confirming approval of your application. If after that time, you still have not gotten the confirmation mail, do not panic, first check your junk mail. Most times automated emails are blocked and would be in the junk mail folder. 

Next, you check if your passport number is entered correctly, if not then you won’t get a mail. If you encounter a situation like this, apply for a new eTA immediately. When filling an eTA form online, be very cautious when imputing your passport number to avoid mistakes. Your passport number is the number at the top of your passport information page which is the page containing your photo.

After receiving a confirmation email containing your eTA number, ensure you save the number as it would be of importance when you need to know your status. You should note that being approved for eTA does not guarantee your entry into Canada. After booking your flight on arrival at the airport, your passport would be presented and scanned to confirm your identity. If you pass this security check you’re good to continue your trip, else, you might be going back to your country.

There are 10 major airports in Canada. If you arrive in any of these, you would be greeted by an officer from the Canada Border Service Agency. Your fingerprint will automatically be checked at the primary inspection kiosk and your identity will be automatically compared to the information you provided in your application. But if you arrive through any smaller airports, your fingerprint will not outrightly be checked, and you may or may not undergo the process. You only need to undergo the process if you are referred for a secondary inspection.

If you pass this inspection the border service officer will stamp your passport and tell you how long to stay. It is usually not more than six months. Your stay can be limited or extended depending on your reason for visit (for non-citizens). If your stay is limited due to some reasons you have rights to a fair hearing to review your case.

How do I Check my eTA Status?

Since you applied online you can check your status in your account.  Sign in to your account, click on “view my submitted applications or profiles” , click on “check status and messages” and your status will be displayed.

How Long Does eTA Processing Take?

The duration between submission and approval is barely 10 minutes as you get your confirmation mail almost immediately after submission. However, some approval may take up to 72 hours, this happens if you are asked for additional documents then the processing might take a while longer. Nevertheless, if you do not get an approval message after 72 hours, then you’re advised to reapply.

Benefit of eTA

  • The application process is fast
  • The process for applying is not cumbersome
  • It reduces security breach

Problems of eTA

  • It doesn’t encompass everybody. It is only for citizens from A visa-exempt country.
  • Processing can take a while longer than normal if you are asked for additional document

This is a guide for people looking to know more about eTA. All foreign nationals from Visa-Exempted countries can use this path for travel authorization to enter Canada without query. Do well to ask a question in the comment section if you have to, ad we will be glad to reply to you.

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