Whereas before it was necessary to obtain a visa to visit Canada certain tourists are now excused from doing so and can visit this country without undergoing the often long and complicated administrative procedure that accompanies a visa application. However this does not mean that visiting Canada can be undertaken without some kind of travel authorisation. In fact, the new ETA system, for these visitors, replaces the traditional visa and is obligatory for boarding a plane destined for Canada. Read on to learn more as we explain this new type of visa and its advantages in detail.
What is an ETA?
The abbreviation ETA represents Electronic Travel Authorisation. This is a fairly new system implemented recently by the Canadian authorities with the objective of facilitating the administrative procedure for certain people wishing to visit the country. This system was directly inspired by the American equivalent, the ESTA, which is a little older and has proved successful.
But basically, what is an ETA? Whereas a visa application requires you to complete a documentary application through an embassy or consulate and follow certain long procedures requiring various documents and attestations, the ETA system is only available online and takes only a few minutes.
Through the completion of a simple application form your travel authorisation application is directly transmitted to the Canadian immigration authorities and the response is sent to you by email within a few minutes to a few hours. The only document you will require is your valid biometric or electronic passport.
Who can benefit from an ETA visa exception?
To benefit from this online travel authorisation application you should firstly be a permanent resident of one of the system’s member countries such as the United Kingdom or France and plan to visit for less than 90 days. Beyond this time a traditional visa is required.
The ETA only concerns travel by air to Canada, as well as transits and stopovers in Canada even if this is not your final destination.
Once the application has been examined a definitive response is sent to the applicant by email which either approves or refuses their travel authorisation application for Canada. If granted this authorisation is valid for five years if no changes or modifications occur.
The advantages of the ETA compared with the visa:
The ETA offers numerous advantages compared to the traditional visa such as:
- A simplified procedure
- A rapid response
- A five year validity period
- An electronic authorisation that is linked to your passport
- Lower charges and fees
- No need to leave home.
If you fulfil the conditions required to access the ETA system then we recommend you benefit by immediately accessing the online application form that you can find here.
What information is necessary to complete an ETA application?
To complete an online ETA application you simply need to complete an electronic or digital form. To do so you will need to supply personal information that will enable the verification of your identity. This notably includes your valid biometric or electronic passport number as well as other information such as your full name, address and date of birth.
You will then be required to answer various questions that enable the Canadian authorities to decide if you are eligible to visit the country or not. You must of course respond clearly and truthfully to these questions.
Finally, you will also be required to pay the costs and fees related to the transfer and processing of your application by the Canadian immigration authorities using a credit or debit card.
Where and how to access the ETA application form?
The ETA application form is available in numerous languages, many of which are available here on this website. If you have any queries or difficulties related to the questions asked on the application form or need explanations or advice then you will find all the information that you could possibly need on our website to ensure your application is completed and processed rapidly.
To successfully complete this procedure it is advisable that you do so in a place and at a time when you can do so in peace and quiet with enough free time, and ensure you have your passport close to hand. You should pay careful attention to all the questions in the online application form and ensure your responses are clear and accurate. Do not hesitate to read it through carefully once you have completed it and before its submission and ensure you have supplied a valid email address. It is to this address that the response to your ETA application will be sent within a maximum of 72 hours following its successful submission.
Please note that this website is independent from the Canadian authorities responsible for studying the ETA applications and can therefore not be held responsible in the case of an application refusal or litigation.
Which visitors are authorised to apply for an ETA to travel to Canada?
An ETA is a type of travel authorisation similar to a traditional visa but which differs through its simplicity and rapidity. The Canadian government implemented this system a few years ago with the objective of increasing the rapidity of processing visitors through border controls in the airports, as well as simplifying the procedure for people wishing to visit this amazing country with such outstanding natural and cultural attractions. In any case, even though it is widely used, the ETA system is only available to specific categories of visitors who are required to fulfil certain conditions of eligibility for the system that we will examine here in further detail.
The first condition to fulfil to visit Canada using an ETA travel authorisation is to live permanently in one of the member countries of this system. For easily understandable reasons of policy and to prevent certain risks such as terrorism, Canadian authorities have established a list of countries with which their country shares certain similarities regarding values and legislation and these countries have joined the ETA programme. To apply for an ETA authorisation it is therefore necessary to hold a passport issued by one of these member countries such as the United Kingdom or France or indeed the majority of European countries.
The type of passport you possess is also one of the criteria that establishes if you are admissible to apply for an ETA authorisation to travel to Canada. In fact, only biometric or electronic passports enable an ETA authorisation to be linked electronically or digitally to them and are therefore the only types of passport that are acceptable for this system. The majority of passports currently issued fall into this category but if your passport is in the older format that you will need to renew it to obtain one that can be read electronically or digitally. It is of course equally important that your passport is also valid when you apply for your ETA authorisation and indeed for the entirety of your visit.
Finally, an ETA does not authorise all types of visits to Canada. In fact, this type of travel authorisation can only be used for visits of less than 90 days or three months. Beyond this time period you will require a specific type of visa. The reasons for your visit are also carefully scrutinised as only visits for tourism, for business, or to family and friends are authorised by an Electronic Travel Authorisation.
If you fulfil all the required conditions then the ETA system will enable you to save precious time when preparing for your visit to Canada and will enable you to obtain the necessary travel authorisation without needing to apply for a visa. It should also be noted that even children under the age of 18 need an ETA authorisation to travel to Canada.
The advantages of using our website to complete your ETA online application:
When browsing the web in search of information related to the ETA travel authorisation for Canada you may have become aware that there are numerous websites that offer the official application form. We aim to differentiate our website from these others through the pertinence of information offered and the tools that are available here for your use.
We also offer you the opportunity to access the online ETA application form in various languages, including French and English, to ensure a better understanding of the questions asked which ensures more coherent responses.
We also aim to accompany our visitors throughout their preparations to assist them in best preparing for their visit to Canada. Therefore there are numerous articles available that are specific to all the major points that are essential to know and understand before visiting this country.
We will particularly explain in a detailed manner how to complete your online application with precise information on the information you are required to submit and how to respond to certain questions that may appear complex or difficult to understand.
We will also cover other aspects of the ETA authorisation in detail such as the time required for its processing, its validity period and the procedures to be followed if you wish to use it for further visits. We will examine the subject of transfers and stopovers that also require this type of authorisation and explain the procedure you need to follow and the specific conditions you need to fulfil.
In the particular case whereby you use your ETA for numerous visits then we do of course reiterate the need to confirm that all your personal information has not changed and, in certain cases, we explain how you can modify it to benefit from your authorisation without the requirement of reapplying for your authorisation.
Of course we will also detail the costs and fees payable for administration and processing as well as the secure methods of payment available to you.
Support and advice to successfully complete your travel preparations for Canada:
To summarise, this website was created to assist people wishing to visit Canada in the simplest manner possible by using the ETA travel authorisation. By taking the time to read the relevant information, advice and recommendations that are available here you can improve the possibility of your ETA application being accepted and approved by the Canadian authorities which will save you precious time compared to other travel authorisation methods such as the traditional visa.
We will also notably explain the main reasons for a refusal of this authorisation as well as any possible solutions available if you do not obtain your ETA authorisation for specific reasons thereby requiring a new application or a visa application.
Are you ready to fly to Canada? Then wait no longer and apply for your travel authorisation online immediately using our form and do not hesitate to use our website to find the answers to any questions and queries you may have concerning this procedure. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you ‘Happy Travels!’
How to use your ETA travel authorisation for your visits to Canada?
Now that you know how to obtain an ETA travel authorisation for Canada you will certainly wish to learn more about how you can use this authorisation once you have obtained it.
As we have explained above, the ETA is an electronic or digital travel authorisation which is processed entirely online, the response is also sent to you by email. You will therefore not receive any physical paper document pertaining to this travel authorisation as this administrative system is entirely paper free.
This means that this travel document is directly linked to your electronic or biometric passport without appearing visually in any way. In fact by scanning your passport personnel in the airport you visit to board your flight for Canada as well as Canadian border staff will see your ETA authorisation on their monitors as well as its dates of approval and expiry. You personally have therefore nothing to do apart from presenting your passport as required for your visit.
It is therefore not necessary to print this authorisation that you receive by email and take it with you on your visits. However, we do recommend that you keep written notes relating to your ETA application, particularly noting down your reference number safely so you can access your ETA when you wish to view its status or check its expiry date. This will undoubtedly be extremely useful for you if you plan numerous visits to Canada using the same ETA travel authorisation. In fact, remember that your Electronic Travel Authorisation, once obtained, is valid for a period of five years and can therefore be reused as many times as you wish during this time for visits of less than 90 days to Canada or even for transfers or stopovers in this country.
In any case you will need to know the exact expiry date of your travel authorisation to ensure that it is still valid. In the same manner, the passport number that you supplied on your ETA application should be valid for each of your future visits as it is to this number that your travel authorisation is digitally or electronically linked.
How to renew or modify an ETA authorisation?
As we have just explained, it is possible to use your ETA authorisation for a period of five years without the need to renew it as it remains attached electronically to your passport for this time. However you will no doubt wonder if once the five year period has expired this authorisation is automatically renewed. This is unfortunately not the case; your ETA travel authorisation simply ceases to be applicable once this period has ended and will therefore no longer be linked to your passport.
To renew your ETA you will of course be required to complete the procedure again right from the beginning by completing the online application form in your language that is available online. Of course you will also be required to pay the administration and processing fees as you did with your initial application. It should also be noted that even if you have already received a previous authorisation this does not automatically qualify you for an approval with a later application. If your situation has changed or the laws relating to entry into Canada have changed then it is possible that you may receive a refusal with a subsequent application. You should therefore ensure you apply in advance of a visit to prevent any delays due to complications.
If your ETA is still valid but certain important information relating to your personal details has changed such as your passport number, your name or even your address than you are required to modify this information for your ETA to be recognised by the responsible authorities. Unfortunately, the majority of these modifications cannot be completed once you have submitted your ETA application. Only certain information such as your email address can be corrected after submission. In this case you will also have to submit a new ETA application by completing the entire procedure again including the payment of the administration and processing costs.
Of course, the validity period of your new ETA will again be a full five years as from the approval of your application.
When is it recommended to apply for an ETA authorisation online?
Let us now look at the time required to obtain an ETA travel authorisation for Canada. In fact, as you already know, once your online application has been submitted the response from the authorities responsible for studying your application will be sent to you by email within a maximum of 72 hours. However, you will generally not have to wait even this long to receive an answer. It can therefore sometimes be tempting to delay your online ETA application until just before your departure date to benefit fully from the five year validity period of this travel authorisation.
In all cases we highly recommend that you prepare for your visit to Canada well in advance by completing this application several weeks before your departure date. In fact, let us imagine that your first application is refused. In this case you will have two possibilities. The first consists of reapplying for your ETA authorisation in the case whereby the refusal is due to an error you made when completing the application. In this case you will need to wait 10 days from the time that you received the refusal before being able to reapply. In the case whereby the refusal is due to another reason then it would be pointless to reapply for an ETA authorisation as it would simply lead to another refusal. In this case, depending on the reason for the initial refusal, you may be able to continue with your travel plans to Canada by applying for a traditional style visa. In this situation it will probably take somewhat longer.
You should therefore complete your ETA application not too early to ensure the maximum available use of your travel authorisation, but not too late to ensure that you have the time to obtain, if this is possible and depending on the situation, another type of travel authorisation if your initial ETA application is refused.
You can apply for your ETA online today. Wait no longer, apply now!
How to obtain a standard visa for Canada?
If you do not fulfil the conditions of eligibility for the ETA programme for your visit to Canada or if you receive a negative response to your application then you have the possibility to apply for a visa.
This visa application can also be completed online but generally takes a little longer that an ETA application. It is therefore advisable to apply well in advance to ensure that your travel plans continue unimpeded.
Of course it is possible that your visa application is refused for reasons known only to the Canadian authorities. In this case you unfortunately have no other options available for obtaining travel authorisation to this country.
What types of visit can be made to Canada using an ETA travel authorisation?
As we have explained previously, the ETA electronic travel authorisation for Canada is a practical solution if you plan to visit this country without the requirement to complete the often long and complex procedure associated with a visa application. However the following should be noted! Not all types of visit are covered or authorised using this simple procedure.
In fact, the ETA or AVE system for Canada was implemented with the unique objective of simplifying tourism in this country. Due to this objective only the following reasons for visits are authorised by this type of travel authorisation:
- Standard tourism: If you wish to explore Canada and visit its great natural parks, tour through the country or visit Toronto with its many attractions then of course the ETA system is exactly right for people just like you. This is actually the principal reason for which the visa exemption waiver system was created.
- Visits to friends and family: If you have family or friends that reside in Canada and you wish to visit them then a simple ETA travel authorisation will suffice to enable you to enter the country. Of course, you do not need to prove any relationship to the person you plan to visit.
- A business visit: If you plan to visit Canada for a business trip without receiving a salary from a Canadian company then you are also authorised to apply for an ETA to do so.
- A transit or stopover in Canada: This is one of the lesser known uses of an ETA. In fact you should know that if you plan to travel to a destination other than Canada but your flight makes a transit or stopover at an airport in this country then you are required to obtain a valid travel authorisation in the same way as if you planned to stay in Canada, even if you do not leave the aircraft.
As previously noted, the ETA programme, although originally implemented for touristic visits to Canada can also be used in other situations that we have already explained. However, it cannot be used for certain other purposes such as the following:
- Working in Canada: If you plan to visit Canada with the objective of working there, whether you have a contract or not and even for a stay of less than 90 days, an ETA will not authorise you to do so. In this case you will need to complete a work authorisation visa application that is specific to your situation.
- Studying in Canada: In the same way, if you plan to visit Canada with the objective of following studies or training then you cannot do so using a simple ETA travel authorisation, you will need to complete a specific type of visa application.
To summarise, the ETA system is simply not authorised for those who wish to pursue a professional activity or study in Canada but it can be used for other travel purposes. Of course, you cannot use an ETA to move permanently to Canada.
The different types of visa for Canada:
As previously stated, ETA travel authorisations for Canada are not authorised for certain particular situations that require a specific visa. Here are the details of the different types of visa that you can apply for online.
The WHV or working holiday visa: This type of visa authorises you to travel to Canada and work there for a period of up to two years. It is available to visitors between the ages of 18 to 35 years old depending on the number of places available which is decided each year by the Canadian government. To obtain this type of visa you will need to create an online account with a specific website and complete an account when the openings occur. It is the same procedure for those who wish to visit Canada to complete professional training courses with visits from 12 to 24 months depending on the situation.
The permanent resident card: Whether it is made directly or following a working holiday visa, it is also possible to settle permanently in Canada by applying for a permanent resident card. This type of visa is actually valid for a five year period and is renewable after this initial period of validity. Obtaining this type of visa can sometimes be quite complex depending on the situation of the applicant. For example those people who hold a work contract signed in Canada can benefit from an express application authorisation system that is far more rapid than those who do not yet know where they will work following their arrival in the country.
Study permit: As indicated by its name, this type of visa enables students to follow their studies in Canada. To obtain this type of visa you will need to supply a letter of acceptance issued by a Canadian educational establishment and apply through a Canadian visa application office or directly online. The average time required to obtain this type of visa can be a few weeks and it is therefore advisable that you apply well in advance. In any case, if you plan to complete a course during your studies then you will need to obtain a work visa to be authorised to do so.
As we have explained, before you complete your ETA online travel authorisation application, it is primordial that you take the time to confirm that the reasons for your visit are valid for this simplified travel authorisation and, if not, then you will need to complete a visa application.