Effective November 10, 2016, visa-exempt travellers will be required to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) prior to boarding their flight to Canada. The only exception is for U.S. citizens who will not need an eTA.
In addition, Canadian citizens, including those who hold dual citizenship, will only be able to travel to or transit through Canada with their valid Canadian passport. A short-term solution has been made available for dual citizens whose second citizenship is from a visa-exempt country. These individuals will be able to apply for a special authorization in order to be allowed to travel to Canada using their valid non-Canadian passport.
This alternative measure has been put in place in order to help minimize travel disruptions for these specific travelers. However, the measure will only be available until January 31, 2017. The special authorization can be obtained if the flight to Canada is for less than 10 days, and Canadian citizenship can be verified by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The approved authorization remains valid for 4 days from the date of travel indicated in the application.
Note that if your country of second citizenship requires you to enter and exit that country using its own passport, you will still be required to have your valid Canadian passport to board a flight to Canada. Always ensure to carry both passports with you when you travel if this is the case.
Canada’s Minister of Immigration explained that the “eTA improves the safety of Canadians by allowing [Canada] to check that travellers are admissible before they board their flight, preventing those who are inadmissible from travelling to Canada in the first place.”
The requirement for an eTA for visa-exempt travellers to Canada became mandatory on March 15, 2016; however, those without an eTA were able to continue travels to Canada until November 9 as a leniency period was put in place. As of November 10, this leniency period will terminate and all visa-exempt foreign nationals, with the exception of U.S. citizens, are required to obtain an eTA prior to travelling to or through Canada.
While U.S. citizens are exempt from obtaining an eTA, U.S. lawful permanent residents need an eTA. They must also present their valid U.S. Green Card and valid passport when boarding a flight to Canada.
Individuals travelling to Canada can obtain their eTA through a simple online application. All that is required for the application is a valid passport, a credit card, and an e-mail address. The eTA processing fee is only CAD$7.
Usually, the eTA application is processed within minutes of applying and will be electronically linked to your passport. However, some eTA applications can take up to a few days to process. It is therefore advised to apply for the eTA at least a few days before your planned flight, or as soon as possible. An approved eTA remains valid for five years, or until your passport expires. Multiple visits can be made to Canada with a valid eTA.
Need an eTA? You can apply for one on the Government of Canada website, the only valid site where you can apply for an eTA: Canada.ca/eTA
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