Starting March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa issued by a Canadian embassy, consulate, or high commission outside of Canada.
eTA is a new entry requirement for all visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. This entry requirement will become mandatory on March 15, 2016. Entry requirements for other methods of travel (land, sea) have not changed. Those in Human Resources, Global Mobility or Compensation and Benefits that are responsible for business travel to Canada or even for pre-relocation visits to Canada by assignees in process to obtain work permits need to be aware of this new entry requirement.
Why is this happening?
The eTA process will allow Canada to screen travellers before they arrive. The authorization is electronically linked to your passport and is valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. You can come to Canada as many times as you wish as long as your eTA remains valid. All eTA-required travellers, regardless of their age, will need an eTA when they fly to Canada.
When should an application be made for an eTA?
Anyone who visits Canada must apply from outside the country. We recommend that global assignees or business travellers submit their eTA application before they buy their airline tickets. This way, if they encounter any difficulties when they apply, they can resolve any issues before they book their flight. In most cases, the eTA will be issued in minutes, which will not delay flight booking. However, some requests may need more time to process.
How does someone apply?
Application can be made on line. To apply you must have a valid passport, credit card, and email address and a few minutes to complete the online form. In most cases, your eTA will be approved within minutes of applying.
What is the cost?
It costs $7 CAD to get an eTA. It will be valid for up to five years. Visa, MasterCard and American Express, including prepaid Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards, are the accepted forms of payment for the eTA fee.
What if I already have Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada?
It is especially important that those responsible for relocation and immigration communicate with assignees or permanent transfers who do not yet have permanent residence. Foreign workers already in Canada on a valid work permit will not need an eTA as long as they do not leave Canada and seek to return by air. If they plan to leave and return to Canada by air, they will need to get an eTA.
To find out if one needs an eTA or Visitor Visa to travel to Canada, click HERE.
General Website info on eTA.