In a move that had been mooted since 2011, the government of Canada has announced in the official Canada Gazette that it intends to introduce electronic travel authorization (eTA) for individuals exempt from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa (TRV) before they may enter Canada.
The system, which is scheduled to come into full operation on March 15, 2016, is similar to the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) currently in use by the United States of America. Individuals will be able to apply for the eTA from August 1, 2015, and the eTA will be required for visa-exempt travel on and after March 15, 2016. Until now, visa-exempt foreign nationals seeking entry to Canada are not systematically screened for admissibility until they arrive at a Canadian port of entry.
The Canadian pre-approval system will only be required for TRV-exempt individuals seeking to enter Canada by air to visit on a temporary basis. A fee of CAD $7.00 will be required for processing. Electronic travel authorization will be valid for a period of five years from the day on which it is issued to the applicant or until the earliest of the following days, if they occur before the end of that period:
The eTA will include the applicant’s name, date and place of birth, gender, address, nationality, and passport and/or travel document information. If the applicant is unable to make the application by means of the electronic system because of a physical or mental disability, it may be made by another means, including a paper application form.
A number of exemptions from the requirement to obtain pre-approval to travel will be in place, including:
The number of visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada on a temporary basis per year is significantly larger than the number of visa-required travellers. For example, visa-exempt foreign nationals, excluding U.S. citizens, represent approximately 74 per cent of foreign nationals who arrive by air in Canada.
In 2012–2013, the total number of visa-exempt foreign nationals who arrived in Canada and were deemed inadmissible for entry at air ports of entry was 7,055. This resulted in significant expense, delay and inconvenience for these foreign nationals, other travellers, the airlines and the Canadian government. Reasons for refusal can include membership in terrorist organizations, espionage, participation in war crimes or crimes against humanity, international human rights violations, membership in organized crime groups, criminality, or issues endangering public health, such as tuberculosis.
Find out whether your nationality requires you to obtain a temporary resident visa before entering Canada.
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