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Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

Beginning November 10, 2016, under the guise of “safety” and “security”, Canada will add an extra layer of bureaucracy in the form of an Electronic Traval Authorization (eTA) certificate to all visa-exempt travelers entering the country via air. This includes all transit travelers as well, such as those connecting into China or Japan from an originating flight in the US, for example.

For now, exceptions include US citizens. (Americans will follow shortly, to be announced “later”). Travelers entering Canada by land or sea are also excluded from the requirement to obtain an eTA. Applicants who need a visa to Canada, such as a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) are excluded from the requirement of obtaining a separate eTA.

A sample list of visa-exempt countries that will necessitate an eTA when traveling by air, including transit travelers, is found in the table below.

Visa-exempt nationals who will require an eTA prior to obtaining a boarding pass:

For a complete list of visa-exempt countries, click below on the Citizenship Immigration Canada (CIC) web site click here.

For most, an eTA will take a few minutes to register. The process is done online. For others unlucky enough to have ever been arrested in their lifetime, a problem will occur. Other “problem” candidates will include those with an immigration violation in Canada, or who were previously removed, excluded or deported from Canada.

Out of the “problem applicants”, a few will be able to continue with their plans to travel to Canada, but will be referred to “secondary” upon their arrival for additional screening. For others, an eTA application will be refused and the traveler will not be able to travel to Canada, let alone obtain a boarding pass, until the matter is cleared before the Canadian consulate or embassy.

We suspect that the vast majority of denied, or “secondary referrals” will stem from a criminal conviction that occurred in the past (regardless of how long ago the offence occurred). Information about how an arrest or criminal conviction can render you “inadmissible” to Canada can be found here. Information about ways to overcome your inadmissibility, both temporarily or permanently, is also found on this website.

If you have a criminal record, or if you’ve ever been arrested (even if charges were subsequently dropped or dismissed), we urge you to consult an admissibility specialist such as our firm before applying for your eTA.

For more information on the eTA program, click on the Citizenship Immigration Canada (CIC) web page.

For assistance in completing your eTA request, you may contact our Head Office by calling +1 214-295-6051. If in the United States, you may dial toll free at 888-827-1089.