Oct. 29, 2015

Beginning March 15, visitors to Canada who are from visa-exempt countries will need a new electronic travel authorization (eTA) before flying into the country.

U.S. citizens are exempt from the eTA. However, “persons who have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence,” such as green card holders, are not. Working pilots and flight attendants also do not need an eTA.

The eTA must be obtained before boarding the flight and can be applied for online. Visa-exempt countries include most European states, British Commonwealth nations, Iceland, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, New Zealand and others.

Rudy Toering, president and CEO of the Canadian Business Aviation Association, said he expects the new eTA requirement to have a “limited impact” on aircraft operators in Canada and the United States. “Operators flying into Canada will need to be aware that any passengers who are not U.S. or Canadian citizens will need either a visa or an eTA.”

The new authorization is intended to pre-screen travellers for admissibility purposes, before they fly to Canada. The Canadian government estimates pre-screening will prevent more than 60,000 unwelcome arrivals from flying into Canada over the next decade – high-risk travelers include members of terrorist organizations, criminals or those with certain health issues such as tuberculosis.

The new Canadian system is similar to the electronic system for travel authorization currently in use by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The eTA fee is CAD $7 and, once approved, will be valid for five years or the expiration date of the applicant’s passport, whichever comes first.

Learn more about the eTA.