Frequents Asked Questions on eTA Canada Visa

By: Tiasha Chatterjee

Frequently Asked Questions about the eTA Canada Visa. Get answers to the most common questions about the requirements, important information and documents required to travel to Canada.

Visiting Canada has never been easier since the Government of Canada has introduced the simplified and streamlined process of obtaining electronic travel authorisation or Canada Visa Online. Canada Visa Online is an electronic travel authorization or travel permit to visit Canada for a period of time less than 6 months. International visitors must have a Canadian eTA to be able to enter Canada and explore this amazing country. Foreign citizens can apply for an Canada Visa Application in a matter of minutes. Canada Visa Application process is automated, simple, and completely online.

The Basics of eTA

Why do you need to receive authorization to travel to Canada?

If an individual wish to visit Canada for travel purposes and belongs to the list of the 52 countries that have been designated as visa exempted by the government of Canada, they will be needing to first apply for the electronic System for Travel Authorization (eTA) before they travel to the country. 

The eTA basically lets travellers who belong to countries that have been declared visa exempted apply online for their travel authorization, without having to apply for a travel visa at a Canadian Embassy. If the traveller is given approval, they will be allowed to visit Canada for a span of 180 days or less.

Canada requires some kind of proper authorization to grant permission to visitors who wish to come to the country. In some cases, this may mean that the individual has to apply for a visa as well, but if you are a citizen of the visa-exempt country, you can utilize the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (eTA) to use a simpler and faster process.

What are the basic details that everyone needs to know about the electronic travel authorisation (eTA) program?

The Government of Canada started the eTA program in order to prescreen Travelers who wish to visit Canada but belong to the countries which have been declared visa-exempt. Before this program was launched, travellers who had arrived in Canada but did not meet some of the entry requirements would not be given entry to the country. 

But now with the help of the eTA program, the authorities of Canada are able to prescreen travellers in order to make sure that they meet all the entry requirements of the country. This eTA system allows travellers to apply for it online from the comfort of their homes and avoid the hassle of visiting the Embassy or consulate.

To be approved for an eTA, you will have to be a citizen of the 52 listed visa-exempt countries, arrive by means of air transport, and possess the economic means to cover your cost to stay in Canada. However, keep in mind that having an approved eTA does not mean that you have been guaranteed admission to the country. The final say on whether an individual is given admission to Canada or not is of the passport control officer who shall be taking your interview on your arrival in the country.

What are the basic requirements to apply for the Canadian eTA?

The traveller must meet the following requirements to be approved for the eTA -

  1. They have to be a citizen of the 52 countries that have been listed by the Canada visa-exempt program.
  2. They must be visiting Canada for business, tourism, or travelling purposes and their travel span shall not exceed 180 days.
  3. They must not have a criminal history or any kind of immigration violation charges made against them.
  4. They must be in good health.
  5. They must have a proper employment status, financial instruments, and home in their home country.
  6. They will have to prove to the immigration officer their plans to return to their home country after their brief visit to Canada.

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Who needs an eTA for their trip to Canada?

Every individual who plans to travel by air to Canada, and belongs to one of the 52 countries that have been declared visa-exempt by the government needs to apply for the eTA before they schedule their trip to Canada. 

The approved eTA is essential for all passengers to carry, including children. However, if an individual wish to enter Canada through an automobile or via the designated land borders shared with the United States, then they shall not need to apply for the eTA. 

Individuals who belong to countries that have not been declared visa-exempt will have to apply for a regular visa through a Canadian Embassy or consulate.

Why did Canada establish the eTA system?

Even before the eTA system was established, Canada had a visa policy that exempted a few selected countries from the need to apply for a visa if they wished to travel to the country. 

The eTA system was put into place to ensure the secure analysis policy of the country, which includes visa overstay rates, asylum claims, security issues, as well as other factors that determine whether the individual is true to his claims or not.

What are the countries that fall on the visa-exempt list of Canada?

The following countries have been declared visa-exempt by the government of Canada and their eligible to apply for the eTA -

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

How does the eTA system work?

To go through the Canada eTA application process you will be required to provide some personal and background details in an online application form. This includes -

  1. Contact information such as your home address and phone number.
  2. Passport Information such as your passport number, date of issue, and date of expiration.
  3. Your employment status and the name of your employer.
  4. Your email address.
  5. Credit card or debit card information for payment purposes.

Once you have filled out the eTA application form and made the payments, the eTA agents shall review the information to look for errors or omissions. When the application is successfully submitted you can monitor your status, and upon approval, you will get an email with the approval document. This will work as your official eTA detail document.

What information shall I have to provide in the eTA application form?

You will be required to enter the following information in your eTA application form -

  1. Occupational details - You will be required to enter your current occupation, along with your employer details, such as their name, address, telephone number, as well as the time period that you have working under them.
  2. Reasons for previous visit refusals - You will be required to answer whether you have previously been denied entry into Canada. If the answer that you have entered is found to be incorrect, it may lead to an eTA denial. 
  3. Arrest records - The Government of Canada is very strict regarding the previous arrest records of its visitors, and if you have ever been arrested for any kind of crime, you will have to explain it in the form in detail. 
  4. Health disclosure - You will have to answer in the eTA form whether you are receiving any ongoing treatment for a medical condition and whether you have met a person who has been diagnosed with tuberculosis. If the answer that you have entered is found to be incorrect, it may lead to an eTA denial.

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International visitors travelling to Canada need to carry proper documentation in order to be able to enter the country. Canada exempts certain foreign nationals from carrying a proper travel Visa when visiting the country via air through commercial or chartered flights. Learn more at Types of Visa or eTA for Canada.

Specifics of eTA

What are the factors that can lead to the denial of an eTA application?

There can be many causes for an eTA rejection. Some of the causes may include -

  1. Giving a passport number that has been reported as lost or stolen.
  2. If the individual has a history of overstaying in Canada on previous visits.
  3. Has had a history of visa denial. 
  4. Has engaged in unauthorized work on their previous visits.
  5. Has been previously denied entry to Canada.
  6. The immigration officials have rejected the reasons that you have given for your visit to Canada.
  7. If you have been found to have connections with a criminal or terrorist organisation.

In case any issue arises in the process of your eTA application, the agency shall be contacting you as soon as possible. If your application gets denied, you shall be given a refund by your company.

What is the validity period of the Canada eTA?

The travel authorisation is supposed to be valid for a span of 2 years from the date of issue. However, if your passport expires or if you make some changes in your passport during this period, you will have to be issued a new travel authorization with the renewed Passport information.

What are the acceptable eTA travel purposes?

The eTA shall be accepting vacation as well as business reasons for your visit to Canada. We have listed the valid travel reasons for travelling with an eTA to Canada below -

  1. Tourism purposes.
  2. Vacation or holiday purposes.
  3. A visit to relatives or friends.
  4. For medical treatments.
  5. To participate in social events that have been hosted by a service, social, or fraternal group.
  6. To meet with business Associates.
  7. To participate in a business, professional, or educational conference or convention.
  8. To participate in a short-term training course.
  9. To negotiate a business contract.

Please keep in mind that if you are travelling to Canada as we have stated below you will need to apply for a visa at the Canadian consulate or Embassy -

  1. For employment purposes.
  2. For studying purposes.
  3. To work as a foreign journalist, or participate in press, radio, film, or other information media.
  4. To permanently reside in Canada.

Do children need to apply for the Canadian eTA?

Yes, travel authorisation is essential for children who are travelling to Canada and belong to a visa-exempt country. The child must have a valid passport in order to apply for the eTA.

What are the details of the visa-exempt countries? 

In 2017, Canada declared 52 countries that have been exempted from requiring a visa to visit the country. These 52 countries that have been declared eligible for Visa-free travel and for an eTA are all stable, developed, and high-income countries that do not pose any threat to the country. 

The countries that are visa exempted in Canada all have a very small percentage of travellers who have overstayed their 6 months' maximum stay period in the country. Moreover, the number of asylum claimants from these countries has to be very small in order for the Canadian authorities to approve them as visa-exempt.

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The eTA Application Process

When does a person need to complete their eTA application?

It is recommended that the individual must submit their application form at least 72 hours or three days before their departure to the destination country. However, there are many options of expedited services for visitors with extreme circumstances.

What are the outcomes of the eTA application procedure?

Once the individual has submitted their eTA form online, the eTA agency officials will process the data. Once the information is submitted, he/ she will be able to monitor their eTA status online. There are basically three outcomes to the eTA application process -

  1. Authorisation approved - This means that the individual has been authorized to their travel to Canada under the eTA program.
  2. Travel not authorized - This means that the individual has not been given permission to travel to Canada under the eTA program. If this occurs, the individual can further contact their nearest Canadian embassy or consulate and apply for a regular visitor visa.
  3. Authorisation pending - You are in the authorisation pending status, you will have to go through an additional review process before you get your eTA.

The eTA application will remain at the pending status for a maximum of 72 hours before the final statement is given.

What to do if I have multiple passports?

In the eTA application, you will have to provide the information from a single passport. If an individual possesses more than one single citizenship, then they will be eligible to apply for an eTA through the passport of their own choice.

Using the eTA

When will I use my eTA?

Once the individual has been authorized to travel to the eTA process, they will be eligible to make use of the same. The eTA document will first be checked at the check-in counter at the airport when he or she is about to board the plane to Canada. Your career shall not receive the details of your eTA form, but they shall be receiving a confirmation of your eTA status. 

You will be needing this authorisation before you are issued the boarding pass to travel to Canada. Next, your eTA form shall once again be checked when you have reached Canada, by the border service officers. It is advisable to carry a printout of your eTA approval form.

Will I need an eTA if I am travelling in transit to another country?

Yes, even if you are travelling to another country via Canada, you will still be required to have a valid eTA approval form.

Will I need an eTA if I am visiting the United States and travelling via Canada by car?

No, if you are travelling to Canada via a land border that is shared with the United States, and are a citizen of the listed 52 visa-exempted countries, then you shall not be required to have the eTA. 

Can I make multiple visits to Canada with a single eTA?

Yes, you can make multiple visits to Canada with a single eTA, but it has to be within the allotted time period. Keep in mind that your visit to Canada will usually be approved for up to a period of six months at one time, and the final allotted visit time will be determined by the Canadian immigration officer at the point of entry. If you leave Canada and travel to the United States and then try to re-enter Canada, this shall not reset your six-month visit period. 

Will I be able to change my immigration status during my stay in Canada?

No, you will not be able to change your immigration status once you have entered Canada. If you wish to stay in Canada for long-term purposes such as for work, study, marriage and so on, you will have to leave the country and then apply for the particular visa through the Canadian Embassy or consulate, or Visa processing centres.

Can I stay in Canada for more than the allotted 6 months?

No, it is illegal to stay in Canada once the validity of your status in Canada has been exceeded. If your stay is not extended by Citizenship and Immigration Canada due to some emergency reasons, you will be losing your travel authorization and be banned from using your eTA for future travel purposes. 

What are the rules for departing from Canada?

You will have to make sure that you depart from Canada before your allotted stay period gets over. If you have been allotted a six-month stay, then you must make sure that you leave the country before those six months are over. However, if You wish to stay longer than your allotted 6 months, then you can apply for an extension of at least 30 days before the end of your stay period.

What if my eTA expires during my stay in Canada?

If your eTA is valid on the date of your arrival in the country, you shall not need to reapply for a new eTA. Having your eTA expire after your entry to Canada is still accepted, but you must ensure that you apply for a new eTA before your next trip to Canada. Your passport should still be valid throughout your entire stay period. It is recommended to apply for the extension of your eTA document for a minimum of 30 days before its expiry date.

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Certain foreign nationals are allowed by Canada to visit the country without having to go through the lengthy process of applying for the Canadian Visa. Instead, these foreign nationals can travel to the country by applying for the Canada Electronic Travel Authorization or Canada eTA Learn more at Canada eTA Requirements.

Common eTA Questions

Is there a thing called an eTA visa?

No, no there is nothing like an eTA visa. The term is misleading since the eTA is different from the visa in a number of ways.

Will my eTA still be valid after my passport expires or changes?

No, if you are issued a new passport, then the old eTA that you have is no longer valid. In case your passport changes, you must reapply for a new eTA using your new passport details.

What can I do if my eTA application is denied?

Travel authorisation through the eTA process getting denied is very rare. However, on the rare occasion that you are given a “travel not authorized” eTA status, you can obtain a travel visa to visit Canada through a nearby Canadian Embassy or consulate.

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Is it possible to know why my travel authorization was denied?

The Canadian immigration authority does not give permission to release any details why an eTA has been denied. However, the common reasons for the denial of an eTA are -

  1. You have failed to fulfil all the eTA entry requirements.
  2. You are a threat to Canadian security or law enforcement.

Will I need an eTA if I am entering Canada in my car?

No, if you are entering Canada via the land borders that it shares with the USA and are a citizen of the listed 52 visa-exempted countries, then you shall not be needing an eTA to enter Canada.

Will I need an eTA if I am entering Canada on my private plane?

Yes, if you are arriving in Canada using air transport, you will need an eTA.

Will I need an eTA if I am entering Canada in my private boat?

No, if you are entering Canada by any means other than air, then you will not need an eTA. Keep in my mind that you will still be required to be a citizen of the listed 52 visa-exempted countries.

What will happen to the personal information that I have written down in the eTA application form?

The personal information that you have provided in the eTA application form is only used for determining whether you fall under the eTA program admissibility criteria and nothing else. 

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Check your eligibility for eTA Canada Visa and apply for eTA Canada Visa 72 hours in advance of your flight. British citizens, Italian citizens, Spanish citizens, French citizens, Israeli citizens, South Korean citizens, Portuguese citizens, and Chilean citizens can apply online for eTA Canada Visa. Should you need any help or require any clarifications you should contact our helpdesk for support and guidance.