December 2, 2015 – The Government of Canada has announced its intention to expand eligibility for the new Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) plan to low risk travelers from Brazil, Bulgaria, Mexico and Romania.
The eTA is the product of a joint U.S.-Canada border action plan to cooperate on pre-screening of travelers in order to identify security threats. As of March 15, 2016 all foreign nationals from visa exempt countries, except U.S. citizens, will be required to obtain an eTA prior to travelling to Canada by air as part of a new entry authorization system. While U.S. citizens are exempt from eTA requirements, U.S. green card holders are not.
Applications for eTA opened online on August 1, 2015. The eTA will be mandatory as of March 15, 2016.
Expansion of Program for Low-Risk Travelers
Soon after the eTA is fully implemented, travelers form Brazil, Bulgaria, Mexico and Romania who have held a Canadian visa in the last 10 years or who hold a valid U.S. non-immigrant visa will no longer be required to apply for a new Canadian visa when arriving by air. These nationals will instead be able to apply for an eTA. This will significantly improve access to Canada for low-risk travelers from non-visa exempt countries.
It is widely expected that this program may be expanded to include other foreign nationals who are currently required to apply for a visa in order to enter Canada.
If you would like more information about the eTA or would like assistance in making an application to come to Canada, please contact Green and Spiegel.