Press Room

Canada’s eTA Transition Ends March 14, 2016: Do you Need to Apply?

February 2, 2016 – The Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) will become mandatory on March 15, 2016. The eTA will be required for most visa-exempt foreign nationals who want to fly to or transit through Canada.


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. While U.S. citizens are exempt from this requirement, U.S. green card holders are not. Some work permit and study permit holders already in Canada may need to apply for an eTA if they intend to leave Canada and return by air.

How does it work?

The eTA is electronically connected to your passport and, starting March 15, 2016, all visa-exempt foreign nationals will need to obtain an eTA before boarding any inbound flight for Canada. This includes all visa-exempt foreign nationals flying to, or transiting through Canada for tourism, business, as well as those intending to apply for a work or study permit on arrival at a Canadian port-of-entry. The eTA is valid for five years, or until your passport expires, whichever is earlier.

What do you need to do?

If you are a visa-exempt foreign national you will need to apply for an eTA before travelling to Canada by air. Travelers without an eTA or valid entry visa for Canada will not be permitted to board any aircraft in-bound for Canada.

Click here to apply online for your eTA.  The fee for the eTA is $7.00 and must be paid with a credit card at the time of the application.

If you applied for a work permit or study permit before August 1, 2015 you need to apply for an eTA if you intend to leave Canada at any point during your work or study period and return by air on or after March 15, 2016.

If you received a work or study permit on or after August 1, 2015 you may have been issued an eTA along with your work or study permit. Review your documents carefully to ensure you hold a valid eTA. If you are unsure of your status, Green and Spiegel recommends you re-apply for an eTA online.

If you are a Permanent Resident of Canada you are not eligible to apply for an eTA. All Canadian Permanent Residents will need to present a valid Permanent Resident Card (PR Card) in order to board any in-bound air craft for Canada on or after March 15, 2016. If your PR card is close to expiring, there may be special implications that require additional consideration. If possible, we encourage you to apply for the renewal of your Permanent Resident card 9 months before it expires.

Individuals with  inadmissibility issues may experience travel delays that should be carefully considered prior to applying for their eTA and prior to booking a flight.

If you have any questions about the eTA program and how it affects you, or for assistance in making an application, please contact Green and Spiegel.

Upcoming Webinar

Inside Immigration: February 2016

When: Thursday, February 25, 2016 at noon
Cost: This is a free webinar. Click here to register.

Please join us for Green and Spiegel’s Inside Immigration

Inside Immigration is a monthly call featuring Green and Spiegel’s immigration lawyers covering a broad range of topics in immigration law, including:
• Recent developments
• Trends in immigration law
• Expert insight

Each call will include an overview of recent news and hot topics followed by a Question and Answer session.  These calls are free to join and we welcome everyone to participate.