Immigration Info

What is an eTA Application for Canada?

Electronic travel authorization is a mandatory pre-screeing process that assesses the eligibility of travelers from certain countries to enter Canada. It is not a visa, but rather a digital authorization that is electronically linked to your passport and provides commercial airlines with assurance that you will be permitted to enter Canada upon arrival.

Who needs a Canada eTA?

All visa exempt foreign nationals, with the exception of American citizens, must apply for, and receive, an eTA before travelling to Canada on a commercial airline. Visa exempt countries are typically those who have a very similar standard of living to Canada – such as the United States, Great Britain, Japan, etc. When checking in for a flight to Canada, the airline will scan your passport to ensure that you have an approved eTA connected to your passport. If you do not have an approved eTA, you will not be permitted to board the airplane.

How much does a Canada eTA cost?

The electronic travel authorization for Canada costs CAD $7. Watch out, because there are all kinds of websites that have styled themselves to look like official Canadian government sites, and who will charge significantly more than the official $7 fee. It’s not just the extra expense that you need to be concerned about, but the fact that you are giving highly personal information to a website that is not the government of Canada.

How Do I Get My Canadian eTA?

You must apply online for an eTA, with the official application site for the Canadian eTA found here. When making your application, you will need a valid passport, a credit card and a valid email address. The instructions to apply for the eTA are available in several different languages.

It is really important to double check the passport number that you enter during the application process. If you input the wrong passport number, your eTA will not be linked to your actual passport and you won’t be able to board your flight at the airport.

How Long Does it Take for Canada eTA to be Approved?

Normally eTA’s are approved quickly – most within minutes – and the applicant is notified by email of the approval. When there is a delay in receiving your eTA, the first thing to do is check your junk mail folder, as the approval email may have landed in there. If you don’t find the approval email in there, it is likely there is a delay in issuing your eTA due to an issue with your application. There are several reasons that an eTA could be delayed, including incorrect information provided in the application or the existence of a criminal record. In those instances, a Canadian immigration official will contact you, within 72 hours, to verify the pertinent information before deciding whether or not to issue an eTA.

How long does eTA Canada Last?

Once approved, your eTA will be valid for up to five years, or until your current passport expires, whichever period is shorter. The eTA approval email will notify you of the expiration date for your eTA, so that you know when you will need to make a new application.

How Long Can I Stay in Canada with an eTA?

It’s important to note that an eTA simply allows you to board an aircraft to Canada, it doesn’t guarantee that you will be allowed to enter Canada and does not provide any specific permission in terms of your stay in Canada. If you have travelled to Canada using an eTA, and entered as a visitor, you are legally allowed to remain in Canada for a maximum period of 6 months or until the date that Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) imposed upon entry. If CBSA has given you a length of stay that is different than the standard 6 months, they will have written the date underneath the entry stamp in your passport, or they will have issued you a visitor record with an expiration date.

Do Canadians Need to Apply for an eTA?

Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents cannot receive an eTA. One of the application questions for the eTA asks whether the applicant is already a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident and if the answer is yes, the eTA process is halted at that point.

In some instances, Canadian Citizens who do not have a valid Canadian passport or Permanent Residents who do not have a valid PR card can be tempted to apply for an eTA using the passport from their country of origin. It’s important to note that it is considered misrepresentation to provide a false answer to a question when applying for an eTA – and the consequences of misrepresentation for a Permanent Resident can mean the loss of your Canadian status. It’s better to just obtain the proper documents in order to travel back to Canada, no matter how long it takes.

If you are a Permanent Resident overseas and have not met your residency requirement but want to be able to travel to Canada as a visitor, you will need to include an application to renounce your Canadian Permanent Residence status with the eTA application. If that is done, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will first revoke your PR status, and then proceed to issue an eTA that is electronically linked to your passport.


The Way Immigration is a leading Canadian Immigration firm, based in Calgary, Alberta. Since 2008, we have been assisting clients from all over the world to achieve their Canadian immigration goals. Contact our office today to determine how you can achieve the Canadian immigration result you need.

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