CIC News > Latest News > Analysis > Visa-Exempt Visitors to Canada Advised to Submit Their Own Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) Requests

Visa-Exempt Visitors to Canada Advised to Submit Their Own Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) Requests

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New pre-screening system will be mandatory for certain visitors as of September 29, 2016
In just a few weeks, it will be mandatory for visa-exempt visitors to Canada to apply for an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before departure if traveling by air. Recent reports highlight the need for eTA applicants to disclose their own information rather than relying on third parties such as travel agents, employers, friends or other organizations. These third parties may not be fully aware of the applicant’s history, which may include, among other things, prior criminality.

Potential visitors to Canada may designate another person or party to complete the eTA application on their behalf. However, unless the person or party completing the form is a regulated Canadian immigration representative — and unless the applicant is willing to disclose fully truthful information to the person or party completing the form — it is advised that they complete it themselves.

By not disclosing relevant information on an eTA application, the would-be visitor to Canada runs the risk of perpetrating misrepresentation. Not only may this lead to him or her not being allowed into Canada, but it may also result in a longer-term ban from entering Canada.

For example, an individual may book a flight to Canada through a travel agency, which may offer services that include completion of the eTA application. Other organizations may also say to potential visitors to Canada that they will take care of these steps. One of the pieces of information required when applying for an eTA is the applicant’s passport number, which the aforementioned third parties may have on file.

These third parties may believe they are doing their clients, staff, or members a favour by taking on this responsibility, but ultimately they may be inadvertently scuppering the chances of the visa-exempt visitor successfully landing and being admitted to Canada. Take, for example, an applicant who — unbeknownst to the person or party completing the eTA form — has a prior criminal conviction. The conviction may have occurred years previously and may have been for an offence that the applicant considers to be minor, such as petty theft or reckless driving. If and when the applicant’s true history becomes known to Canadian immigration authorities, he or she may be found to have perpetrated misrepresentation.

What is an eTA?

The eTA system aims to provide stress-free travel for visa-exempt individuals by requiring them to complete an online form before departure. Visa-exempt individuals seeking temporary entry to Canada are asked to complete a short online form, in which they provide some personal information and answer a few basic questions relating to criminality or medical issues, as well as questions about their immigration history.

As of September 29, 2016, visa-exempt travelers flying to or transiting through Canada by air will require an eTA before boarding their flight. Exceptions include U.S. citizens and persons with a valid Canadian visa. Until September 29, 2016, visa-exempt travellers who do not have an eTA can board their flight as long as they have appropriate travel documents, such as a valid passport.

What do applicants need?

To complete the online form, applicants need:

  • a valid passport from a visa-exempt country;
  • a credit card to pay the $7 CAD fee;
  • a valid email address; and
  • access to the internet and a few minutes of time.

A fee of CAD $7.00 is required for processing. In most cases, the eTA will be granted within minutes of applying and linked electronically to the applicant’s passport. The eTA is then 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 day on which the applicant’s passport or other travel document expires;
  • the day on which the eTA is cancelled; or
  • the day on which a new eTA is issued to the applicant.

The eTA includes 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.

To learn more about the eTA, please consult this comprehensive electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) FAQ sheet.

Avoiding misrepresentation

“Don’t assume that your agent, colleague, friend, or even your partner knows every necessary detail about your life and your circumstances. Even if you have no prior criminality or medical concern, a mistake on the eTA application — such as a typo in the passport number or date of birth, or writing the wrong country or city of birth — could lead to unnecessary hassle and delays. For visitors to Canada who do wish to have their eTA application submitted by another party, ensure that the third party in question has a track record of submitting personal information to the government of Canada,” says Attorney David Cohen.

“In addition, potential visitors to Canada who have criminality or medical concerns are encouraged to seek legal advice on their case. Every day, would-be visitors to Canada are turned away, frustrated that they didn’t do their due diligence on criminal inadmissibility and act accordingly.”

Who is visa-exempt, and who needs an eTA?

Unless otherwise exempt, citizens of the following countries must obtain an eTA in order to enter Canada as of September 29, 2016:

Andorra Anguilla Antigua & Barbuda
Australia Austria Bahamas
Barbados Belgium Bermuda
Chile Croatia Cyprus
Czech Republic Denmark Estonia
Finland France Germany
Greece Hungary Iceland
Ireland Israel Italy
Japan Korea (South) Latvia
Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg
Malta Monaco Netherlands
New Zealand Norway Poland
Portugal San Marino Singapore
Slovakia Slovenia Spain
Sweden Switzerland Taiwan
Turks and Caicos United Kingdom

Mexico is scheduled to join the above list of countries on December 1, 2016, with Romanian and Bulgarian nationals also in line to be designated visa-exempt in the near future. Citizens of countries that are not visa-exempt (i.e. citizens of any country that is not in the above list) are required to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) before traveling to Canada.

To use the Visiting Canada Tool and determine what you need to do to visit Canada, click here.

If you have any questions or concerns about the process of obtaining an eTA and gaining entry to Canada, please send a detailed email to

© 2016 CICnews All Rights Reserved



20 thoughts on “Visa-Exempt Visitors to Canada Advised to Submit Their Own Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) Requests

  1. Avatar
    Robert Wood

    The ETA Online application process is an absolute joke.

    1. The online eTA check status tool does not work.
    2. You don’t get a receipt emailed to you.

    This makes you think that the form has not gone through forcing you to spend another $7 CAD by doing it all again. Crazy. Still no eTA and no idea whether any information has made it for processing.

  2. Avatar
    corazon c. angub

    i personally would like to commend the canadian gov’t. for its effort in helping facilitate the world in the processing of their visa in travelling to the your country.May you continue to be travel friendly.

  3. Avatar
    Awumey yao paul

    I will like to emigrate to canada

  4. Avatar

    Wanted to visit canada again

  5. Avatar
    jose villa

    Can I apply for tourist visa

  6. Avatar
    Gurdev Singh

    Hi sir am aply spouse visa for Canada can aply study visa

  7. Avatar
    alexander b alcaraz

    If I have relatives can I migrate to canad

  8. Avatar
    akinrinlade akintunde

    am i qualified to apply?

  9. Avatar

    I want to visit nagra falls………with my family………..

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