Traveling to Canada can be incredibly exciting, but it can be daunting if you are not familiar with the processes required to get an eTA or related travel documents. There can be a great many questions and confusion.
Here is a detailed guide for you and travelers alike to apply for this most important document to cross Canadian borders. We have outlined the requirements for Canada eTA application in this in-depth guide below.
Applying for the Canada Electronic Travel Authorization is an easy online process. However, we believe it is better to be prepared.
We suggest you must read the Canada eTA application form carefully and type in accurate and error-free information. Before you click on the submit button, review your form and ensure to fill in all the mandatory fields. Even the slightest error can cause delays or, at times, denial of an eTA by immigration officials.
You can apply through the website of Canadian Immigration, and the information is given both in French and English, the official languages of the country. However, detailed instructions are available in other foreign languages like Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish.
Download the latest version of ArriveCAN, a platform introduced by the Canadian government for travelers in the wake of COVID-19. Travelers need to provide various information, including their vaccination status, through the platform.
Please note that the Canadian Government has made it optional for travelers in 2023. Our advice would be to check with your nearest Canadian embassy to know more.
Keep in handy all your required documents. Since the online eTA application form cannot be saved, it is important to have all your documents and information ready. The documents are as follows:
A valid passport: This is applicable if you are from a visa-exempt country. If you are a citizen and permanent resident of the United States of America, you need not apply for an eTA. Your passport and legal proof of permanent residence are enough.
You have to submit your biometric details, including fingerprints and photographs, after the online application. If you are traveling with family members, each of them has to give their biometric details. However, if you are a citizen of a visa-exempt country, who is visiting Canada as a tourist, you are not required to give your biometrics while applying for your eTA.
A valid email address: The Canadian government uses the applicant’s unique electronic mail address to deliver messages related to the eTA application. The email address will typically have the name and electronic domain address of the applicant.
Your eTA number will normally be delivered to this address within 72 hours after the application. If there is an error in the given address, you may not receive your eTA in time for your planned trip.
A credit/debit card: You need to pay a small fee, and for this, you need to use one of the credit/debit cards approved by Canadian immigration. Some of the credit and debit cards are as follows: Visa®, Mastercard®, American Express®, a pre-paid Visa®, Mastercard® or American Express®, Visa Debit, or Debit Mastercard, UnionPay®, or JCB Card®.
Only one person can apply for an eTA at any given time. If you are a family of five and are applying for the document, then you have to repeat the process five times over.
It is important to print the receipt. You will not be able to do it later or cannot get a copy. So, be sure to print your receipt at the time of applying.
Extending the time: When the “session timeout” warning comes up on the screen, you must press the “continue session” button. This will grant you a few extra minutes to finish the application.
Be extremely careful to enter the right passport numbers in a French Passport. If you are a French Passport holder, then it is highly important to enter the number at the top of the page with your photograph. If you enter the number on the first page or at the bottom of the passport information page, your application will be deemed invalid.
The passport number will typically have nine characters, including numerals and alphabets. If the number is shorter or longer than nine characters, it will most likely be a wrong number.
Our advice is to avoid special characters and space. Be careful to arrest typing errors, especially while entering O, 0, I, and 1. Enter the correct country code given on the page with your photograph (French citizens only).
If you are an applicant with US permanent resident status, you do not need an eTA, irrespective of the nationality written on your passport.
If you are a permanent resident of the United States, you just need to show legal documents at the port of entry. If you are traveling to Canada by air, and if you are traveling by land and water (cruise ship), you need to show your passport and documents to prove your permanent US residency.
While traveling by air, you need to give your permanent residency card, popularly known as the green card, along with a valid passport from the country of your nationality to the customs officers or border service staff.
If citizens of these countries do not have green cards, they will require a regular visa to enter Canada, as they are not eligible for an eTA.
List of nationalities that do not need an eTA If they have a US permanent residency:
List of nationalities that need an eTA (irrespective of US residency)
As per Canadian law, all children under 18 years are considered minors. They cannot apply for an eTA by themselves. Their parents or legal guardians can do it on their behalf.
Therefore, before starting the application for a dependent minor, you must enter their details. However, in the fields where you are asked to enter personal, passport, contact, and consent, you must submit the details of the minor.
First/Given Name: You must give the formal first name as given in the passport. This also includes the middle name if the minor has one.
Surnames/Last names: The last part of the legal name is given in the minor’s passport. It should be the same as the one on the passport.
Phone Number: You must enter the number through which the applicant can be easily reached. Remember, the immigration officer will call an applicant only if it is important or during emergencies. And, nobody wants to miss it.
Mailing address: This will be your permanent residential address. You need to enter the address as written on the passport.
Fax Number: Your fax number is the same as the telephone number to which the fax machine is connected. In most cases, your fax number and telephone number are the same.
Email Address: All information regarding the eTA application and the eTA number will be sent to this address. You must provide the correct address and update it as and when it is changed.
Membership ID: If the applicant is a member of Chambre des Notaires du Québec
Name of the NGO/Religious organization
Payment information: If the applicant is a travel agent/ NGO member
Moving forward will be application details for adults. If you are an international traveler from a visa-free country, you need to enter your passport details while applying for the eTA irrespective of the type of your passport.
Type of passport: Generally, there are four types of passports such as service, official, diplomatic, and service. Travelers with certain passports cannot cross their borders without a visa even in case of an emergency: For example, those in possession of alien passports.
Issuing authority/Country or Code: You must enter the code as given in the passport. In case of discrepancies, your eTA will be denied.
Depending on this code, another field may pop up where you are asked to select your nationality from a drop-down list of nations. This is to ensure that you are a citizen of one of the many visa-free countries.
Please note if you have a US permanent resident status, you do not need an eTA, irrespective of the nationality written on your passport. You just need to show legal documents at the port of entry. For example, citizens of Mauritius, Moldova, and Russia.
Passport number: Enter the number given on your passport information page. Any error here, the eTA will be denied.
Date of issue of the passport: The information will normally be given on your passport information page. The passport is valid from its issuance date.
Date of expiry of the passport: From this date, a passport will be deemed invalid. The general rule is that your passport should be valid for at least six months to apply for a visa or an eTA.
If the validity is less than six months, it is advised to apply for a new passport before you make any travel plans.
Surname/Last name: Your legal last name as appearing in the passport or the identity document.
Given name/first name: Your legal first name as appearing in the passport or the identity document.
Date of Birth: This is mandatory information that will have the date, month, and year in which you were born. Enter the date printed on your passport.
Additional Nationalities: This is not mandatory information. This is applicable only to those who have dual citizenship or nationalities. They have to enter details about the additional nationality.
In case you are a dual passport holder, then you must fill in this section.
Details of previous visits: Here, you need to declare if you had applied for or received any visa or eTA in the past to visit, study or work in Canada. Be sincere in your submission to avoid denial of the eTA application.
Preferred contact language: You have to enter the language in which they are comfortable communicating –both written and verbal.
Email address: Canadian immigration communicates only through email. It is imperative for you to give a valid and error-free email address.
Usually, it takes a few minutes to get the eTA application approved. In case of delays, you can check their junk/spam mail. Sometimes spam filters can move the mail to junk.
Residential address: Be sure to enter the permanent home address and not the temporary one. You need to submit the name/ number of the apartment, street, town, city, district, and country. This should reflect the address printed on your passport.
Travel Information: If you know the date on which you are planning to travel, you should inform the immigration officials. This may prompt them to speed up the processing time. If you do not know the date at the time of applying for the eTA, you can mention that.
Disclaimer: At the end of the eTA application form, you need to sign a consent that will allow the immigration to share the information in the eTA application, including the biometric details, with various other Canadian authorities and personal information banks.
Once your online application is completed, you will receive the following at your registered email address:
A confirmation receipt if your application is confirmed and is in process.
A pending receipt if your application is received and is currently under review.
A request for additional documents: In this case, you need to submit the requested documents at the earliest. Your e-mail will have detailed instructions about how and where to upload them. Sometimes they may ask you to be present for an in-person interview. Note that these additional steps can take a few more days.
Approval mail: You will receive this mail if your application is approved. Your mail will have important information, including your passport number, etA number, and its date of expiry.
This tool allows you to check the status of your application. Once you get the etA approval mail, you can use this tool to understand the progress of your application. You need to have the application number and passport details to do so. The application number will be in the approval mail and will start with the letter ‘V.’
In case you lose your approval mail, you cannot use the tool. Instead, you can log in to IRCC’s (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) webform and type in your queries in the electronic travel authorization section. Note that these questions should be case specific.
IRCC has several avenues- both online and offline- to help travelers apply for an eTA.
Online support: The agency has many tools, such as an online help center, a dedicated online page on the official website, recorded videos, and an eTA check status tool to help you.
Visa application centers: These centers give both in-person and on-the-call help to eTA applicants. You can use the Internet or other facilities at the center.
Call center assistance: You can also make a call to the Canadian government’s toll-free number – 1-800-O-Canada if you have a query. IRCC also has a specific call center with employees with expertise in eTA programs to assist you.
Help in the airport: If you are required to have an eTA to visit Canada but fail to do so before your flight, airlines can directly approach the eTA website and apply for your eTA. If the process cannot be completed before the flight takes off, you cannot fly to Canada.
At the end of the eTA application form, you need to sign a consent that will allow the immigration to share your information in the eTA application, including your biometric details, with various other Canadian authorities and personal information banks.
The country of maple trees is on every traveler’s bucket list. Once your eTA is approved, you can make your plans to tour Canada – it’s adventurous outdoors, vibrant geography, and multi-cultural cuisine.