As of March 15, 2016, the expectation is that all visa-exempt foreign nationals will have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada. Exceptions include U.S. citizens, and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. Even though this is the expectation, CIC has announced a NEW Leniency Period. From March 15, 2016 until fall 2016, your business travellers and global assignees inbound to Canada who do not have an eTA may board their flight, as long as they have appropriate travel documents, such as a valid passport. During this time, border services officers can let travellers arriving without an eTA into the country, as long as they meet the other requirements to enter Canada.
What are the basic requirements to visit Canada?
– Have a valid travel document, such as a passport
– Be in good health
– Have no criminal or immigration-related convictions
– Convince an immigration officer that you have ties-such as a job, home, financial assets or family-that will take you back to your home country
– Convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit
– Have enough money for your stay. (The amount of money you will need can vary. It depends on things such as how long you will stay, and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives.)
You may also need:
– Medical exam
– Letter of invitation from someone who lives in Canada
Oh no, my eTA application was refused!
If your application was refused, you should not plan or undertake any travel to Canada, even during the leniency period. Anyone that travels to Canada with a refused eTA during the leniency period, should expect to experience delays or even be prevented from entering Canada. Carefully review the email from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) with the reasons for your refusal. It is possible to reapply for an eTA only once you have addressed the reason(s) leading to the refusal of your application. Most likely you have been requested to provide additional documentation by a deadline date. In this case, you should not plan or undertake any travel to Canada, even during the leniency period. Once you have an approved eTA, travel may resume.
Regardless of the leniency period that is available, All Points recommends that HR encourage its business travellers and expatriates bound for Canada to still apply for their eTA before their next flight to Canada. The eTA is linked to your passport and is valid for 5 years or the date your passport expires, whichever is sooner. Possessing a valid eTA should make the customs clearance process smoother and will be a firm requirement once the leniency period is over. Travellers with a valid eTA can make multiple visits to Canada.
For those travelling without an eTA, you may experience delays in the customs clearance process, as border officials assess your case against the basic requirements for entry.
Before you travel to Canada, apply for your eTA using any device with an internet connection, including a mobile phone. The application process is quick and simple. Remember all that you need to apply is a passport, a credit card, and an email address. In most cases, the eTA will be granted within minutes of applying and will be electronically linked to your passport. You will receive notice of the approval and eTA via email. Once approved, an eTA is valid for five years, or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
Apply now in case you are advised you must provide additional documentation (such as police or medical records). In these cases, this documentation will have a due date to process your eTA and it is best to wait before you schedule any further travel to Canada. It is always best to deal with an immigration issue before you travel to Canada since these documents were requested to determine whether you are admissible to Canada. As long as you have not been officially refused, you may travel to Canada even during the leniency period with the appropriate documentations; however, you should expect delays in the Customs Clearance process.