A bird's eye view of Toronto, taken from an aircraft coming in to land

The leniency period leading up to full implementation of Canada's new pre-screening system for visa-exempt visitors has been been extended until November 9, 2016. The Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) system was due to become mandatory for visitors to Canada from certain countries on September 29, but this has now been delayed in order to give travelers and airlines more time to prepare for changes when flying to or transiting through Canada.

"In consultation with airline partners, we’re taking further steps to minimize any travel disruptions,” said John McCallum, Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “We are extending the leniency period and doing another major information blitz in Canada and abroad to encourage affected travelers, including dual Canadian citizens, to plan ahead and get the necessary travel documents before they book a flight to Canada."

The eTA is a pre-screening process for travellers entering Canada by air. The eTA is intended to make air travel to Canada safer and more efficient for foreign nationals who do not require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada. The screening process allows Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to assess visa-exempt travelers who may be inadmissible to Canada for reasons such as having a criminal record, or posing a potential health threat.

Citizens of visa-exempt countries

The current pre-clearance process — whereby visa-exempt visitors to Canada may board an aircraft without an eTA and be screened upon landing in Canada — will now remain until November 9, 2016, when the leniency period is scheduled to end. As of November 10, visa-exempt visitors to Canada must have completed the online eTA form and been approved before boarding a Canada-bound aircraft.

To obtain an eTA, individuals complete an online form, in which they provide some personal information and answer a few basic questions relating to criminality or medical issues, as well as questions about their immigration history. Most applications are processed within minutes. Some applications may take longer to process, in which case individuals may expect to receive an email from IRCC within 72 hours outlining the next steps.

To learn more about the eTA system, click here.

Citizens of countries whose citizens require a visa to visit Canada

Unless otherwise exempt from the requirement based on nationality or immigration status, foreign visitors to Canada require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) before traveling to Canada.

U.S. lawful permanent residents who are citizens of another country need an eTA to visit Canada by air. These travelers must present a valid U.S. permanent resident card (Green Card) and a valid passport when they check in for their flight to Canada.

Canadian citizens

Starting November 10, 2016, Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, will need a valid Canadian passport to board their flight to Canada otherwise they will experience delays. Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, cannot apply for an eTA.

Citizens of the United States

Citizens of the U.S. do not require either an eTA or a TRV in order to visit Canada.

 

To use the Visiting Canada Tool and determine what you need to do to visit Canada, click here.

If you have any questions or concerns about the process of obtaining an eTA and gaining entry to Canada, please send a detailed email to eta@canadavisa.com.