eTA application if you lived in Canada
Making an eTA application is usually mandatory for British travellers who want to travel to Canada. But first check if you have ever lived in Canada, because this can cause problems with your eTA application.
Registration does not expire
If you have ever lived in Canada, chances are that you are registered in the Canadian Civil Registry. A registration in the Canadian Civil Registry never expires automatically. It does not matter if you lived in Canada decades ago and all your other Canadian documents have since expired. Officially, you are still registered as a Canadian citizen or resident (permanent resident / landed immigrant / immigrant reçu). This is also the case if you have ever had a Canadian Permanent Resident Card (PR-card) or a Canadian passport.
The problem here is that residents and citizens of Canada do not meet the requirements to apply for an eTA Canada, even if they have not lived in Canada for a long time. Travellers who can travel with a Canadian passport or other travel document do not need to apply for an eTA or visa.
How do I travel to Canada?
Normally, an eTA application makes it very easy to travel to Canada. An eTA can be applied for online in minutes. If you are registered in Canadaʼs Civil Registry, this complicates the process. You will not be able to apply for an eTA. To travel to Canada, you have one of the following options:
- Travel with your Canadian passport. It may be that, after all these years, you have lost your Canadian passport. In this case, you can apply for a new passport at the embassy. If you are travelling at short notice, you can apply for an emergency passport; these are issued more quickly.
- Travel with a PR Card. If you are registered in the Canadian Civil Registry and are currently in Canada, you can apply for a new Permanent Resident Card (PR Card). This allows you to return after leaving Canada.
- Travel with a Permanent Resident Travel Document. If you are registered in the Canadian Civil Registry and are not currently in Canada, you may be able to apply for a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD). This requires you to have been in Canada for at least two of the past five years.
- Travel via the USA with an ESTA. You can also travel to Canada via the United States. If you travel to Canada by bus, train, boat or car, you will not need an eTA or visa. However, you do need to apply for an ESTA before travelling to the USA. Without an ESTA, you will not be allowed to enter the USA.
Travelling with an eTA or visa
If you still want to travel with an eTA or visa, you can deregister from the Canadian Civil Registry. This is a time-consuming process, so do this well in advance. There are also disadvantages to doing this. You may lose rights accrued in Canada, such as benefits or pensions. Be sure to read up on the pros and cons of deregistering from Canadaʼs Civil Registry. Once you have officially withdrawn your status as a resident or citizen, you may apply for an eTA or visa for your trip to Canada.