The Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) will be coming into effect on March 15, 2016. This travel requirement (see previous blog post) is being imposed on visa-exempt foreign nationals flying into Canada. All Airlines will be checking travelers and any passengers who do not have an eTA or do not qualify for an exemption will not be permitted to board the aircraft.
- Foreign nationals who require a temporary resident visa to enter Canada are exempt
- Citizens of the United States are exempt – however, US permanent residents / Green Card holders do require an eTA
- According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”), foreign nationals who hold a study or work permit issued on or after August 1, 2015 have automatically been issued an eTA
- Visitor record holders must apply for a separate eTA, regardless of when it was issued
- Permanent residents who hold a valid permanent resident card do not require an eTA
- The eTA is not required for travel to Canada by sea or land
eTA Application process
The eTA application process is fully electronic and costs CAD $7.00. The eTA will be issued for up to five years and will be electronically linked to the traveller’s passport. No physical document will be issued so it will be wise to print and carry the CIC confirmation acceptance email.
Permanent Residents of Canada
The eTA air travel requirement will affect permanent residents of Canada in a brand new way. On March 15, Canadian permanent residents without valid permanent resident cards will not be permitted to board flights to Canada. They must apply for a separate “travel document” from a Canadian visa office abroad to confirm their status with airlines prior to boarding.
Permanent residents who need to renew their permanent resident cards should send in their applications as early as possible. All travelers should confirm their status with air carriers prior to travel to ensure they will be permitted to board flights back to Canada. Otherwise, the only other option is to travel back by land or sea.
Employers should review current immigration documentation held by non-US foreign workers and permanent residents required to travel for business. Those individuals who require an eTA or permanent resident card to enter Canada should apply as early as possible; these eTA requirements will increase the immigration-related administration and could impact operations.