eTA: meaning

What is an eTA?

To fly to Canada without a visa or Canadian passport, you need an eTA. But what does the abbreviation eTA actually mean?

The eTA for Canada

The abbreviation eTA stands for "Electronic Travel Authorization". This is a mandatory travel authorisation to travel to Canada by air without a visa, for example for a holiday, business trip or to study.

The eTA is linked electronically to the traveller's passport and is valid for a maximum of five years or until the passport with which the eTA was applied for expires. Therefore, when you acquire and start using a new passport, you must also apply for a new eTA to travel to Canada. With a valid eTA, you may fly to Canada as many times as you wish within the five-year validity period. Each stay in Canada may not exceed six months.

However, holding an eTA Canada does not automatically mean that you can enter the country; upon arrival, immigration authorities will always decide whether to grant you entry based on your passport and other documents.

Benefits of the eTA

The eTA is easier and faster to apply for than a Canada visa. For example, some visas require biometric data, which requires a visit to the Canadian Visa Application Centre in London. To apply for an eTA, simply fill in the online application form and the eTA will then be sent to you by e-mail within three days on average. Moreover, the eTA is cheaper than a Canada visa; the costs are £29,95 per person.

Introduction of the eTA travel authorisation

Since 10 November 2016, travellers of certain nationalities are required to apply for an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) in order to fly to Canada (this also applies to a transit in Canada). The Canadian government introduced this system, similar to the American Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), with the aim of establishing an approach to screening foreign travellers who are exempt from visa requirements.

Each application is assessed by Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC). If the IRCC concludes that the traveller poses no security or illegal immigration risk, the eTA application is approved. Then, at check-in, the airline checks, based on the passport number, whether the traveller has a valid eTA. This way, undesirable persons can be kept out even before departure for Canada, and air travel remains safe.

Who is eligible for an eTA Canada?

Travellers from the following countries can apply for an eTA to enter Canada:

• Andorra • Anguilla • Australia
• Bahamas • Barbados • Belgium
• British Overseas Territories • Brunei • Bulgaria
• Chile • Cyprus • Denmark
• Germany • Estonia • Finland
• France • Greece • Hungary
• Hong Kong SAR • Ireland • Iceland
• Israel • Italy • Japan
• Croatia • Latvia • Liechtenstein
• Lithuania • Luxembourg • Malta
• Mexico • Monaco • Netherlands
• New Zealand • Norway • Austria
• Papua New Guinea • Poland • Portugal
• South Korea • Romania (electronic passport) • Solomon Islands
• Samoa • San Marino • Singapore
• Slovenia • Slovakia • Spain
• Taiwan • Czech Republic • Vatican City
• United Arab Emirates • United Kingdom • Sweden
• Switzerland

eTA application

Since you don't have to know your arrival date yet, you can submit an eTA application even before booking your trip to Canada. Filling out the online application form takes only a few minutes. You will be asked for the personal details of the traveller(s) and several security questions. After filling out the application form, you pay the cost of the eTA (£29,95 per person) with Visa, MasterCard, American Express or PayPal. The eTA is then issued within three days on average (or 18 minutes in case of an urgent application). You will be notified by text message and e-mail. You can check in for your flight to Canada as soon as it has been issued.

Apply for an eTA now

The eTA is linked to your passport. It is therefore important that you enter the correct passport details in the eTA form, such as the correct passport number, the issue and expiry date of the passport, your first and last names, date and place of birth. You must carry this same passport with you on your trip. Once your eTA has been approved, check that the details in your passport match those on your eTA. This will avoid problems at the airport.