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Electronic Travel Authorizations are Currently Optional

As of August 01, the Government of Canada has introduced the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system, allowing citizens of most Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) exempt nations to seek advanced approval prior to travel to Canada. The system is currently optional, but will become mandatory on March 01 2016. After that date, airlines will refuse to allow persons without approved ETAs to board flights to Canada. This applies to those flying into Canada only and does not include US citizens, who are exempt from the ETA requirement.

Until now, citizens of TRV exempt nations could board an airline and travel to a Canadian port of entry without any advanced processing. The airlines would admit these individuals on the basis of a passport alone and a Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) official would determine admissibility at the airport. The ETA is intended to pre-screen such travellers, reducing the number of cases in which CBSA officials are forced to turn travellers away from airports, resulting in a complex and costly process of departure via airline.

ETA screening is expected to take several minutes in most cases, but could take as long as 72 hours in some cases. Those who are refused will not be able to take a flight to Canada. Those who are approved will have ETAs valid for a five year period. However, the determination of admissibility is still done at the airport by the CBSA official. It is anticipated that those who have ETA approvals will be unlikely to be refused admission.

Date Posted: August 03, 2015 Posted In: Entry Visa

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