If your travel plans have you travelling to Canada by plane, you will need to apply for an eTA or a visa. In most cases it is faster, easier and cheaper to apply for an eTA Canada instead of a visa. Find out what an eTA is, what the requirements are for using an eTA and in which cases you are not allowed to travel with an eTA and need a Canadian visa. The eTA is much handier to apply for because there is no need to visit an embassy or consulate.
What is an eTA?
The abbreviation eTA stands for Electronic Travel Authorization. An eTA is a digital travel authorisation which allows you to travel to Canada without a visa. You apply for an eTA by filling in an application form online. The Canadian Immigration Service then checks the information you enter in the form for any security risks. Once it is determined that you are not a threat to Canadian society (and that you meet certain additional criteria), your eTA application is approved, and you will receive a confirmation email. You do not need to print this confirmation and take it with you on your trip, as both your airline and Canadian Immigration Services will automatically be notified that you have a valid eTA.
Requirements for an eTA
Travelling with an eTA Canada is subject to certain conditions, including your nationality, the reason for your trip and the length of your stay in Canada.
In most cases, UK and European citizens can use the eTA to travel to Canada. If your passport is from another country outside of the UK or the EU, you should check first if that country is part of the visa free countries that, thanks to this agreement with the Canadian authorities, are allowed to enter the country with an eTA.
An eTA is valid for five years. However, this does not mean that you can stay in Canada for five consecutive years. You may enter Canada more than once with an eTA, but you may not stay in Canada for more than six months at a time. If you intend to stay in Canada for more than six months, the eTA is not sufficient, and you will need a Canadian visa.
An eTA is suitable for the following travel purposes:
– Visiting friends or family
– Business trip
– Transit (stopover)
– Study or school visit (lasting less than six months)
An eTA is not sufficient for these purposes:
– Join a company in Canada
– Incorporating a business in Canada
– Studying or attending school (longer than six months)
Need an eTA or visa?
Planning to stay in Canada for more than six consecutive months or is the eTA not sufficient for your trip for any other reason? Then you need to apply for a visa to Canada. Canada offers many types of visas, including a tourist visa, a business visa, a study permit, a work permit and various permanent residence permits.
However, processing a visa application for Canada takes much longer than that of an eTA application. It can take several weeks or even months for a visa application to be approved, while an eTA is generally granted after a few hours.
A Canadian visa is also considerably more expensive (starting at $100) than an eTA and you will need to provide many more documents for the application. Therefore, it is much easier to apply for the eTA if your trip meets the eTA Canada requirements. Once you have your eTA, you will have an excuse to make another trip to Canada for a few years to come!