Do I have to apply for a visa or an eTA?
If you are travelling to Canada, you require an eTA or a visa. Which of the two travel authorisations you need, depends on a number of things. On this page, you can read more about both travel permits. This way, you prevent any problems during your trip to Canada and you know for sure you have the right travel authorisation for your travel purpose.
Sometimes a visa or eTA is not required
Some travellers are exempt from the Canadian visa requirement and therefore do not have to apply for a visa or eTA Canada. Some other travellers always require a visa if they travel to Canada. In addition, some other travellers do not have to apply for a visa, but do require an eTA. Regarding the latter category of travellers, it depends on how they arrive in Canada and whether eTA is required. You can find more information about this below.
Travellers with a Canadian or US passport
Holders of a valid standard Canadian or US passport do not require a visa or eTA to travel to Canada. If you are travelling with a US passport, you have to meet the same rules and requirements as travellers who do have to apply for an eTA. For example, US travellers can also not stay in Canada for longer than six months.
Ever lived in Canada?
If you have ever lived in Canada and never officially renounced your status as a resident of this country, it is possible that you may still have the status of Canadian citizen, permanent resident or landed immigrant without realising it. If you are still registered as a resident of Canada, you cannot apply for an eTA. You can read more about this on the page with information about the eTA requirements.
Arrival by water or land
In addition, the requirement for having an eTA depends on the way you arrive in Canada. Travellers who arrive in Canada by boat or ship or by land from the United States, do not need a visa or an eTA. Keep in mind that this only applies to travellers from one of the visa-exempt countries. Travellers from these countries who arrive by plane always require a travel authorisation. An exception is made for travellers who travel onwards to the United States and do not leave the plane in Canada. There is another exception for the inhabitants of the Saint-Pierre and Miquelon archipelago with a French passport. They can travel to Canada without an eTA or visa.
When to apply for a visa?
In several situations, an eTA is not sufficient, and you have to apply for a Canada visa. There are different types of visas for Canada. In the following situations, you require a visa:
- You want to stay in Canada for more than six months.
- You want to study in Canada, unless this study is shorter than six months.
- You want to work in Canada for a Canadian employer.*
- You do not meet the requirements for applying for an eTA.
*A business trip as part of your work in the employment of a non-Canadian company is an example of a travel purpose that is allowed with the eTA. In this case, your work-related trip with the eTA Canada also has to meet all other requirements of the travel authorisation.
Work permit required for working for a Canadian employer
If you want to work for a Canadian employer, you need a Canadian work permit. This is a work visa whereby you will also automatically receive an eTA after it is approved. Once you receive this work permit from the Canadian government, you do not have to apply for an eTA separately.
Study permit for studying in Canada
If you want to study in Canada for a longer period of time, you have to apply for a study permit. An eTA application is included in the application for this Canadian study permit. Upon receiving a valid study permit, it is not necessary to submit an additional eTA application. For shorter studies, an eTA often does suffice.
When to apply for an eTA Canada?
If, according to the information on this page, you do not require a Canada visa but do have to apply for an eTA for a trip to Canada, the purpose of your trip is probably:
- a holiday or other tourist trip to Canada for less than six months,
- a business trip to Canada lasting less than six months,
- family visit and/or visit friends with a stay in Canada of up to six months,
- a transit in Canada on a flight to a destination in another country,
- a short study or exchange (of up to six months).
The aforementioned travel purposes are allowed with an eTA Canada. Not only the travel purpose, but also the traveller in question has to meet all the requirements for travelling with an eTA. Only in that case, can you travel to Canada with an eTA. Your eTA already has to be approved before checking in your luggage for a flight to Canada. You only get access to a flight to Canada if you have a valid eTA or visa. If you are transiting in Canada and do not leave the airport but do leave the aircraft, an eTA Canada is also required.
Applying for an eTA Canada
Do you have to apply for an eTA Canada for your trip according to the information on this page? You can submit your eTA application quickly and easily with an online application form. Click on the button below to open the application page of the eTA Canada.