Beginning March 15, 2016, foreign nationals who are visa-exempt will be required to register for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) in order to receive pre-approval for travel to Canada. The application process will be accessible online on August 1, 2015. The eTA will cost $7 CAD, and if approved, will be valid for a period of five years.
Along with the eTA, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) also plans to enable an Interactive Advance Passenger Information (IAPI) that will screen passengers on international flights traveling into Canada prior to boarding. This will essentially allow the government to confirm with the airlines whether the travelers who require an eTA are approved for travel to Canada and will also prohibit travel for those who are not approved.
The main goal of the eTA is to facilitate travel for visa-exempt nationals and ultimately to avoid possible security threats to North America. The eTA system will imitate the U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) system, which provides a similar screening method. The Canadian Government’s projection is that this pre-screening will prevent over 60,000 unqualified foreign nationals from traveling into Canada, including those who lack proper documentation to travel, those with no-fly orders, or those who have criminal records.
The eTA application will be available online via the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website. Applicants will be prompted to submit personal information such as their name, date of birth, and possibly a copy of their fingerprints. Most applicants will typically receive approval within minutes, while other eTA decisions might take up to 72 hours to complete.
Canadian Permanent Residents and U.S. citizens are exempt from this eTA requirement.
Please note that this is general information only and not intended as advice on a specific matter. Please feel free to contact Fakhoury Global Immigration directly with questions exclusive to your situation. This news alert may have been prepared using information from Peregrine Immigration Management, which is licensed to Fakhoury Global Immigration.