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Why Do You Need an eTA for Travel to Canada?

An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is a process that becomes a requirement for foreign nationals who have been exempted from having a visa. It is linked electronically to a foreign national’s passport and is valid for five years from the acceptance date. It is also valid until the passport expires, so its validity depends on those two factors. When you renew your passport, you’d have to get a new eTA. So, it’s advisable to get an eTA when the expiry date of your passport is still far ahead. But if it’s a matter of urgency, you can get an eTA even if your passport would expire in the next year. All you’ll have to do is get a new eTA.

What can I do with an eTA?

With an eTA, you can travel to Canada whenever you want. However, there’s a limitation. You can only travel for up to six months at a time. So, if you’ve spent a total of six months there, you have to move back to your home country before travelling again. For trips within Canada, you don’t need an eTA.

An eTA, however, doesn’t solely give you the assurance of entry into Canada. Border services will demand to check your travel documents and proof that you’re eligible to enter Canada. Need an eTA? You can apply here.

What kind of traveller needs an eTA?

When considering the kind of people who need an eTA to travel, it’s best to divide them into four categories for better understanding. Here are four kinds of travellers who need an eTA:

Those travellers who need an eTA

Some foreign nationals would need an eTA to fly to Canada by air. Whenever they’re arriving by bus, boat, or car, they won’t breed an eTA. As long as they’re arriving or transiting through a Canadian airport, they need an eTA. U.S. Permanent residents are also considered under this category. However, they must have their Green card for proof that they’re eligible to travel.

Travellers from visa-selected countries

Canada requires travellers of some selected countries to apply for a visa before travelling. They are also eligible to apply for an eTA. This can be used in place of a visa to travel to Canada by air. But when using a boat, car, or train, these travellers would need a visitor visa.

Travellers who need another identification document

Canadians would need a Canadian passport, even those who hold dual citizenship would need it. Also, American-Canadians are eligible to travel using their valid U.S. or Canadian passport. For permanent residents in Canada, they would need their valid permanent resident travel document or permanent resident card. For former Canadian residents, PR (permanent resident) status doesn’t expire, so still have a PR status if you lived in Canada sometime in the past.

Exempted travellers from the eTA requirement

A U.S. citizen is exempt from having an eTA. Though, you must have your valid identification documents ready. This could include a valid U.S. passport or any related document.

How to apply for an eTA


If there are some additional concerns that you have, read more to have your questions answered.  It’s a simple process, and it takes a few minutes to complete. An eTA approval email could come in within minutes after applying. If you’re applying by using accompanying documents, it could take so many days to process. In uncertain situations like this, it’s best to ensure that you get your eTA before booking a flight to Canada.

Warnings and Airport requirements

Anybody applying for a documentation-based application needs to be careful with every detail entered into the application. Once the system reads wrong information, it may or may not be amendable. So, it’s best for applicants to always cross-check that information entered is correct. For instance, you will have issues travelling to Canada if you enter the wrong passport number. Ensure to check that your passport number is correct in the eTA email.

To identify your passport, it is the number at the top of your passport right beside your photo.

At the airport, you’ll be required to provide your contact and travel information. Also, your quarantine plan and COVID-19 symptoms assessment would be required.

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