Did you know that you now may need a visa to visit Canada?
Last November the Canadian Government mandated that formerly visa exempt travelers obtain an eTA (electronic Travel Authorization) prior to travel to Canada by air. This includes transit. Although this has been in effect for a few months, I just learned about it and have not seen it covered elsewhere. Avoid hassle and potential denied boarding on your next trip to Canada by taking care of your eTA before you arrive at the airport.
Who is exempt from an eTA?
U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa are exempt. Obviously, Canadian passport holders and permanent residents do not need a visa and cannot even apply for one.
If you are visa-exempt and entering Canada by land or sea, you do not require an eTA at this time.
Who needs an eTA?
Travelers from the following visa-exempt countries now require an eTA if arriving or transiting by air in Canada:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- San Marino
- Solomon Islands
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
Where do I apply for an eTA?
You can apply online on the official Canadian government website here. The cost is 7CAD. Watch out for scam websites that look official but charge a handling fee to “assist” you obtain the visa. You’ll just need a valid passport, credit card, and email address to request the eTA. Most authorizations are granted within minutes.
If you need are heading to Canada soon and from one of the countries listed above, take care of your eTA now. While it is possible to do it at the airport, why risk it? If the system is down or there is a delay in processing your request, you will be denied boarding.
What about traveling by land or water? Are there different eTAs for that?
@Aleks – If you are travelling by land or water, you don’t need an eTA if you are a US Permanent resident. If you are not, you can check if you need a visa here http://www.cic.gc.ca/ENGLISH/visit/visas.asp.