Travel to Canada for United States Green Card Holders

eTA for US Green Card holders

  • Green card holders can apply for Canada eTA
  • US was a launch member of the Canada eTA program
  • Green Card holders enjoy fast entry using the Canada eTA program

eTA for US Green Card holders to Canada

As part of recent changes to Canada eTA program, U.S. green card holders or lawful permanent resident of the United States (U.S.), no longer  need Canada eTA.

Documents you'll need when you travel

Air travel

At check-in, you'll need to show airline staff proof of your valid status as a permanent resident of the U.S. 

All methods of travel

When you arrive in Canada, a border services officer will ask to see your passport and proof of your valid status as a permanent resident of the U.S. or other documents.

When you travel, make sure to bring
- a valid passport from your country of nationality
- proof of your status as a permanent resident of the U.S., such as a valid green card (officially known as a permanent resident card)

United States green card holders are considered lawful permanent residents of US and require eTA Canada Visa (Electronic Travel Authorization) to travel to Canada, if coming by plane. While you do no need traditional tourist or visitor visa to enter Canada as a green card holder, you will still need travel documents like US Green Card and passport from your country of citizenship to cross the border into Canada. You will need eTA Canada Visa if you are flying to Canada for visit or tranisting through Canada.

The Canada eTA performs the same function as the Canada Visa which can be applied for and obtained online without having to go to Canadian Embassy or Consulate. Canada eTA is valid for business, touristic or transit purposes only.

Citizens of United States do not require Canada Electronic Travel Authorization. US citizens do not need a Canada Visa or Canada eTA to travel to Canada.

Traveling to Canada by Land (car, bus, train) or sea (boat including cruise ship)

If you are planning to enter Canada on road or a cruise ship, then you do not need to apply for eTA Canada Visa. The only documents you need to carry is proof of your United States lawful permanent resident status such as

  • a valid Green Card
  • a valid Alien Documentation Identification and elecommunications System (ADIT) stamp.

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What is eTA Canada Visa (or Electronic Travel Authorization)

Canada eTA is an official document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) which allows passport holders of visa-exempt countries to travel to Canada by air or sea. In that sense, its similar to traditional Canada Visa with big advantage that it can be completed entirely online in a matter of few minutes.

Once you have applied for Canada eTA and received it in email from IRCC, you can visit Canada and stay for upto 6 months. Please be mindful that eTA Canada Visa does not automatically guarantee entry into Canada. Green card holders need to present their green card and passport and answer any questions to Canada border officer at point of entry. You could be asked questions confirming you have sufficient funds to support your stay in Canada and you intend to leave Canada at the end of your visit.

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eTA Canada Visa requirement for US Green Card Holders

In order to apply for Canada eTA, ensure you have the following:

  • A passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the date of arrival in Canada
  • A valid Green Card
  • A valid form of online payment like a debit or credit card or PayPal account
  • A valid email address where IRCC can email eTA Canada Visa approval

Completing Canada eTA is fairly straightforward and easy, read about it at eTA Canada Visa Application Process here.

Documents to carry before you board flight to Canada

eTA Canada Visa is an online documents and is electronically linked to your passport, sso there is no need to print anything. You should apply for eTA Canada Visa 3 days ahead of your flight to Canada. Once you have received your eTA Canada Visa in the email, you should also arrange the the following before you board your flight to Canada:

  • the passport you used to apply for Canada eTA
  • proof of United States permanent resident status
    • your valid Green Card, or
    • your valid ADIT stamp in your passport

Travelling on a valid Green Card but expired passport

You cannot travel to Canada by air if you do not have an active passport. Since eTA Canada Visa is a mandatory requirement for Green Card holders to visit Canada if coming in by a plane, you will not be able to obtain Canada eTA on an expired passport. In such a scenario, you could enter Canada by land (car, bus or train) or sea (including cruises). You will need to provide your valid green card and a US government issued photo ID such as a driver's license or military ID.

Getting back into the United States

It is important to keep your identification documents and proof of United States residence status on person during your stay in Canada. You will need to provide the same documents to get back into United States. While most green card holders can stay for upto 6 months in Canada, you can apply to extend this period. This however may subject you to new immigration inspection procedures. As a green card holder who has been out of United States for more than one year, you will also need a reentry permit.

Please apply for a eTA Canada 72 hours in advance of your flight.