The rules for visiting Canada have changed a lot in the last few years and many travellers might not be aware of the new regulations.
Prior to 2016, there was a big list of countries that could just fly into Canada without pre-applying for any type of travel document, but that has now changed with the launch of the eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization).
Unless you are from Canada or the USA, you will either need:
in order to enter Canada.
Who can enter Canada WITHOUT a Visa or an eTA?
Only citizens of TWO countries can enter Canada without both a Visa and an eTA.
- United States
What is an eTA?
eTA (or Electronic Travel Authority) is a relatively new process that came into effect March 2016 and it’s only for people visiting from countries that do not require a visa.
Essentially, it’s a very basic pre-screening for people travelling from countries that can visit Canada visa-free. It’s meant to catch any security risks or threats to the country, as these visa-free visitors normally would have entered Canada in the past without any checks.
If you are NOT Canadian or American, you’ll likely need an eTA to visit Canada now. Yes, even if you are from countries like the UK or Australia. But don’t worry – it’s fast, easy and cheap to get one.
Who Needs To Apply For an eTA to Visit Canada?
Only countries that do NOT need a Visa to enter will apply for an eTA.
See the full list below.
Is an eTA only needed when FLYING into Canada?
Yes. An eTA is only required for Visa-free visitors who are arriving to Canada by air. You don’t need to apply for an eTA if you are arriving to Canada by boat, cruise, train, car, etc.
How Much is an eTA for Canada?
An eTA is only $7 CAD. You can pay the fee online with a credit card or debit card.
How Long is a Canadian eTA Valid For?
It lasts 5 years -or- when your passport expires. Whichever comes first.
How Long Does it Take for a Canadian eTA to be Approved?
Most eTA applications are approved within minutes. If for some reason your information and data triggers concern, it will go into further review which may take longer.
Countries that NEED an eTA to enter Canada (by air travel only):
- British citizen
- British National (Overseas)
- British overseas citizen (re-admissible to the United Kingdom)
- British overseas territory citizen with citizenship through birth, descent, naturalization or registration in one of the British overseas territories of:
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
- Pitcairn Island
- Saint Helena
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- British Subject with a right of abode in the United Kingdom
- Brunei Darussalam
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, must have a passport issued by Hong Kong SAR.
- Israel, must have a national Israeli passport
- Republic of Korea
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Romania (electronic passport holders only)
- San Marino
- Solomon Islands
- Taiwan, must have an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes the personal identification number
- United Arab Emirates
- United States, lawful permanent resident of
- Vatican City State, must have a passport or travel document issued by the Vatican.
(Taken directly from the Government of Canada)
See, the eTA is really easy, but of course it can be a HUGE travel disrupter if the traveller is unaware of the new rules. Many frequent travelers from common countries like Australia or the UK have gotten used to entering Canada for YEARS without any type of eTA. Many people book their travel like they always have, only to find out at the airport that they now need an eTA to board their flight.
Countries That Need a Visa to visit Canada
The following countries require a visa in order to enter Canada.
This includes any method of entry – plane, train, bus, boat, etc.
Since these countries require a VISA, they do not need an eTA.
If you are from one of the following countries, you will need to apply and be approved for your Visa BEFORE you travel to Canada.
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Brazil (note: some Brazilian citizens may be eligible for an eTA if they meet certain requirements)
- British subjects, subject to control
- Burkina Faso
- Burma (Myanmar)
- Cameroon, Republic of
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- China, People's Republic of
- Congo, Democratic Republic of
- Congo, Republic of
- Costa Rica, Republic of
- Dominican Republic
- East Timor
- El Salvador
- Equatorial Guinea
- Israel, must have a valid Israeli “Travel Document in lieu of National Passport”
- Ivory Coast
- Korea, North
- Macao Special Administrative Region
- Maldives Islands
- Marshall Islands
- Micronesia, Fed. States
- Palestinian Authority
- Romania (holder of a non-electronic passport, such as a temporary passport)
- Sao Tomé e Principe
- Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
- Sri Lanka
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines (St. Vincent)
- Taiwan, must have a passports other than ordinary passports issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that include their personal identification number
- Trinidad and Tobago
(List taken directly from the Government of Canada)
How Much is a Visa to Visit Canada?
A visitor’s Visa for Canada is $100, plus many countries require another $85 fee to process your biometrics (fingerprints and photos) = $185 CAD total.
How long can I stay in Canada with my Visa?
Most visitors that get approved for a Visa to enter Canada can stay up to 6 months.
How long is a Canadian Visa valid for?
Some countries can get a visitor visa with multiple entries that is valid for up to 10 years. Others may only qualify for a single-entry Visa valid for only 1 year.
How long will it take for my Canadian Visa to be approved?
The normal processing time for a Canadian Visa is 2-4 weeks. If you apply online, it will be the fastest and easiest way to get your Visa.
You can enter your country and get estimated processing times HERE.
We hope this article helps clear up any confusion about the difference between eTA and Visas for visiting Canada. Of course, we've done our best to ensure all the information is accurate and up to date, but changes can happen at any time. Also, each country has different processes and requirements, so it's always best to check the official Government of Canada's travel site before you travel.