September 20, 2016 Immigration Alert: leniency period for eTA extended to November 9, 2016

Today, the Canadian government has again extended the eTA leniency period. The eTA leniency period has been extended to November 9, 2016. This means that, starting from November 10, 2016, individuals from visa-exempt countries travelling or transiting through Canada by air (unless they fall under the exemptions outlined below) will be required to have an eTA to board their flight.

The Canadian government introduced an entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals in early 2016, called the Electronic Travel Authorization, or an eTA.  The eTA requirement is outlined under S. 11(1.01) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

As of March 15, 2016, individuals from visa-exempt countries travelling or transiting through Canada by air have been able to apply for an eTA. The eTA has been optional, but starting from November 10, 2016, the leniency period will end, and the eTA will become mandatory, subject to the exemptions outlined below.  

Who needs an eTA, and who is exempted from the eTA?

As outlined above, foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries travelling to Canada by air will be required to obtain an eTA. However, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has outlined exemptions. The following individuals do not need an eTA to enter Canada:

  • Foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries who are entering Canada by land or sea;
  • Citizens of the U.S. (whether travelling by air, land or sea), as long as they have a valid U.S. passport;
  • Individuals from visa-requiring countries, who have a valid visa (temporary resident visa);

A list of visa-exempt countries whose citizens require ETA's can be found on IRCC's website here.

How to apply for the eTA, and how long is it valid?

Individuals can apply for an eTA online using IRCC's website, and must pay the $7.00CAD fee using a credit card. The application is frequently processed in a few minutes, but can take up to several days. 

The eTA is valid for a period of 5 years, or until expiry of the applicant's passport, if earlier than 5 years. Individuals who have an approved eTA can make multiple visits to Canada over the period of validity.

For those who require an eTA, we strongly suggest applying in advance as a precaution and to avoid delays.

Individuals who have been charged or convicted of criminal offences, who have significant medical issues, or have relinquished or renounced their Canadian permanent residence are strongly advised to consult with an immigration lawyer prior to submitting en eTA.

For IRCC's overview and link to the eTA application, click here

For assistance with the eTA application, contact us today by clicking here.