The Government of Canada has introduced a new entry requirement, known as an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), that applies to visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to or transiting Canada by air. A visa-exempt foreign national is a person who is not a citizen of Canada and is not required to obtain a visa for the purpose of travel based on their country of nationality.

 Effective March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals are expected to have an eTA before they can board a flight to Canada. Until November 9, 2016, travellers who do not have an eTA can board their flight as long as they have appropriate travel documents, such as a valid passport.

To complete your application for an eTA, you will need your valid passport, a credit card and an email address. The application for an eTA is completed online: Apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

An eTA costs $7 CAD if booked directly on the Government website there is a small administrative fee if booked through the agency and is valid for up to five years or until your passport expires – whichever comes first. You can come to Canada as many times as you wish as long as your eTA remains valid.

After you submit your application online, you should get an email that indicates one of the following: confirmation of receipt/pending (your application has been received and is under review); request for documents (you are asked to submit additional documents to complete the review of your application); or approval (your eTA has been approved).

The approval email will include your eTA number, expiration date, and passport number. You do not need to print the eTA. An eTA is electronically linked to your passport. However, you will need to travel with the passport you used to apply for your eTA.

Among those exempted from this new requirement are U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, and Canadian permanent residents do not need to apply for an eTA. Also, entry requirements for travellers arriving by land or sea have not changed.

To see if the citizens of your country need an eTA or to apply for one, visit the Government of Canada’s Electronic Travel Authorization website. If you require an eTA, apply for it before you book your flight to Canada. Most applicants get approved within minutes, but some applications can take several days to process, so don’t wait until the last minute.