An Air Canada plane in flight

Certain citizens of Brazil, Bulgaria, and Romania are now able to fly to Canada without first obtaining a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV, also known as a visitor visa). Instead, these individuals must apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), a quicker and cheaper process, before boarding their flight.

Effective as of May 1, the measure applies to citizens of one of the three countries who have held a Canadian visa in the last 10 years or who currently hold a valid United States (U.S.) nonimmigrant (visitor) visa.

Individuals who do not meet these criteria, or are travelling to Canada by car, bus, train, or boat, will still need a TRV.

Furthermore, Canada intends to lift the visa requirements for all Romanian and Bulgarian citizens on December 1, 2017. The government has not stated if or when the same policy may be implemented for Brazilians.

More than 3.6 million eTAs have been issued to visa-exempt travelers since the system was launched on August 1, 2015. In November, 2016, the system became mandatory for visa-exempt travelers. Before the eTA system was introduced, visa-exempt foreign nationals seeking entry to Canada were not systematically screened for admissibility until they arrived at a Canadian Port of Entry.

“This initiative will make it easier for eligible travelers to come to Canada and to transit through a Canadian airport. It will also encourage them to make repeat visits. The end result will be more travel and tourism and more economic benefits for Canadians," said Canada's Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen.

Individuals requiring an eTA in order to visit Canada are asked to fill out some personal information and answer a few basic questions relating to criminality or medical issues.

To complete the online form, you need:

  • a valid passport from a visa-exempt country,
  • a credit card to pay the $7.00 CAD fee,
  • a valid email address, and
  • access to the internet and a few minutes of your time.

The eTA will be valid for a period of five years from the day on which it is issued to the applicant or until the earliest of the following days, if they occur before the end of that period:

  • the day on which the applicant’s passport or other travel document expires,
  • the day on which the electronic travel authorization is cancelled, or
  • the day on which a new electronic travel authorization is issued to the applicant.

The eTA includes the applicant’s name, date and place of birth, gender, address, nationality, and passport and/or travel document information. If the applicant is unable to make the application by means of the electronic system because of a physical or mental disability, it may be made by another means, including a paper application form.