Find Out Whether You Need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) for Canada

June 11, 2024


  • Sinethemba Phongolo

Before you embark on your journey to Canada, ensuring you have all the necessary travel documents is crucial. One such document that requires your immediate attention is the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). This electronic document is a prerequisite for visa-exempt foreign nationals planning to enter Canada by air. Our guide outlines the requirements and step-by-step application process for an eTA, ensuring you can navigate it with ease and confidence.

Dreaming of paying a visit to Canada? Before making your travel plans, assess whether you need an Electronic Travel Authorization with our informative and detailed guide.

Do I Need an Electronic Travel Authorization to Travel to Canada?

You need an eTA only if you fall under any of the following categories.

Visa-Exempt Foreign Nationals

If you are a foreign national from a visa-exempt country flying to or transiting through a Canadian airport, then you will need an eTA. However, as a visa-exempt foreign national, you do not need an eTA (or a Canada visitor visa) when arriving by car, bus, train, boat, or cruise ship.

Citizens of Select Visa-Required Countries

You can apply for an eTA if you are a citizen of select visa-required countries and are traveling to Canada by air. However, if you arrive by car, bus, train, boat, or cruise ship, you will need a Canada visitor visa and not an eTA.

Canadian Citizens

If you are a dual Canadian citizen, you can travel with a valid Canadian passport without needing an eTA. American Canadians can travel without an eTA if they have a valid Canadian or U.S. passport.

Canadian Permanent Residents

If you are a Canadian permanent resident, you do not need an eTA or a Canada visitor visa. However, you must have a valid permanent resident travel document or permanent resident card while traveling. Note that if you are a former Canadian permanent resident, permanent residency status does not expire, so if you decide to travel to Canada, you still will not need an eTA.

Visa-Required Travelers

You do not need an eTA if you are from a visa-required country. This includes if you are an alien’s passport holder and a stateless individual. All you will need to gain entry to Canada is a Canada visitor visa.

United States Citizens and Permanent Residents

If you are a United States (U.S.) citizen, you are exempt from the eTA requirement. You must also carry proper identification, such as a valid U.S. passport. If you are lawful permanent residents of the United States, beginning April 26, 2022, you will be exempt from the eTA requirement. All you have to do is show the following status documents for lawful permanent residents of the U.S. when traveling to Canada.

  • Valid permanent resident card (Form I-551),
  • Foreign passport with an unexpired temporary I-551 stamp (i.e., Alien Documentation, Identification, and Telecommunication [ADIT] stamp)
  • Foreign passport with a temporary I-551 printed notation upon endorsement with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection admission stamp,
  • Expired permanent resident card (Form I-551) with Form I-797 for pending Form I-751 or Form I-829,
  • Expired permanent resident card (Form I-551) with Form I-797 for pending Form I-90,
  • Valid re-entry permit (Form I-327),
  • Form I-94 with an unexpired temporary I-551 (ADIT stamp) and a passport-style photo.

How Can I Apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization?

Obtaining an eTA is relatively straightforward, but careful preparation ensures a successful application. Here is a guide through the steps of applying for a Canadian eTA:

Step 1: Prepare Your Passport and Credit or Debit Card

Before making your online application, ensure you have readily available resources. Most importantly, you will need a valid passport from a visa-exempt country and a valid email address. Have a valid debit or credit card ready to pay the non-refundable application fee of 7 CAD. Below is a list of acceptable credit or debit cards.

  • Visa®, Mastercard®, American Express®,
  • Pre-paid Visa®, Mastercard® or American Express®,
  • Visa Debit, or Debit Mastercard,
  • UnionPay®, or
  • JCB Card®.

Step 2: Use the Online Form to Apply

The eTA application process is conveniently conducted electronically through the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. You can complete the form at your own pace, ensuring all the necessary information is provided. The form will request your:

  • Basic biographical information,
  • Passport details,
  • Travel plans, and
  • Contact information.

It is crucial to enter all details accurately and completely, as any inconsistencies can lead to application delays or rejection. Double-check your information before submitting the form to minimize errors. The online eTA application form is available in the following languages.

Language Specific eTA Forms
العربية (PDF, 1.80 MB) (Arabic) Italiano (PDF, 1.71 MB) (Italian)
Български (PDF, 1.98 MB) (Russian) 日本語 (PDF, 2.36 MB) (Japanese)
简体中文 (PDF, 1.76 MB) (Simplified Han) 한국어 (PDF, 1.99 MB) (Korean)
繁體中文 (PDF, 2.41 MB) (Traditional Han) Magyarul (PDF, 1.67 MB) (Hungarian)
Deutsch (PDF, 2.08 MB) (German) Nederlands (PDF, 1.74 MB) (Dutch)
English (PDF, 1.61 MB) Polski (PDF, 2.08 MB) (Polish)
Español (PDF, 1.85 MB) (Spanish) Português (PDF, 1.75 MB) (Portuguese)
Français (PDF, 2.19 MB) (French) Português (Brasil) (PDF, 1.97 MB)
Ελληνικά (PDF, 1.79 MB) (Greek) Română (PDF, 1.67 MB) (Romanian)
ภาษาไทย (PDF, 1.76 MB) (Thai)   

Step 3: Pay 7 CAD for Your eTA Right After You Complete the Form

After carefully reviewing and submitting your application, you will be directed to a secure payment portal. The current application fee for an eTA is 7 CAD. The IRCC website accepts various credit and debit cards for secure online transactions. After your payment has been successfully processed, a confirmation message acknowledging your application submission after your payment will be sent to you.

Step 4: Get an Email About Your eTA Application

Once you have submitted your application, the IRCC will promptly review your information within minutes. You will receive an email notifying you of the decision. This email could confirm your eTA approval or outline any further steps required, such as submitting additional documentation.

Step 5: You May Need to Submit Documents Before Your Application Can be Approved

While most eTA applications are processed swiftly without requiring further documentation, there may be instances where the IRCC necessitates additional information to finalize your application. These situations might arise due to inconsistencies in your application or the need for further verification.

If this happens to you, an email with instructions will be sent within 72 hours, outlining the required documents and submission procedures if additional documents are requested. Promptly respond to requests for further information to avoid delays in obtaining your eTA.

Learn more about the ultimate Canadian travel visa checklist.

What Happens After Submitting My eTA Application?

You will receive an email notifying you of your eTA approval. Your approval email will have an eTA number, which you must keep in case you need to contact IRCC or check the status of your eTA. If you change your email address after applying, update it online. Consider making the following additional preparations after submitting your eTA application.

Checking Your Passport Number

Check that your passport number in the eTA approval email corresponds to the number in your passport. You must apply again with the correct passport number if it is different.

Boarding Your Flight

The passport you used to apply is linked to your eTA. You need to present this passport when you check in to your flight to Canada. The staff of the airline will scan your passport to confirm your valid eTA. You will not be able to board your flight if you do not have one.

Learn more about checking your IRCC Canadian immigration application status.

Documents You May Need on Arrival in Canada

If the following situations apply to you, make sure you have the documents indicated at hand.

Child Under the Age of 18 (Minor)

A child under 18 is considered a minor in Canada. If you travel with a minor to Canada, you must show an authorization letter from a legal guardian or one or both parents. This includes adoption papers or a custody decree, depending on whether the minor child travels alone.

Invitation to Come to Canada

If you have a letter from a company or person inviting you to Canada, bring it when you arrive in Canada if a border services officer asks to see it.

Arriving in Canada

A valid eTA and travel document do not guarantee entry to Canada. After you arrive in Canada, a border services officer will ask for your passport. They will check your identity to ensure you are the same person who has been approved to travel to Canada.

Entering Canada at Major Airports

Your fingerprints are checked automatically at an inspection kiosk. Your identity will be checked against the information collected when submitting your application.

Entering Canada at Smaller Airports And Land Ports of Entry

If you are referred to a secondary inspection, your fingerprints may be checked. A border services officer uses a fingerprint verification device to check your fingerprints.

Entering Canada

If you meet the entry requirements and pass the identity check health assessment, the border services officer may let you know how long you can stay in Canada or stamp your passport. You are normally allowed to stay in Canada for up to 6 months. In some cases, a border services officer may extend or limit your time in Canada as a means to cover the planned purpose of your visit. Ask questions if you are not sure about something.

Now that you have a clearer understanding of whether or not you need an eTA, you can begin making the necessary preparations to obtain an eTA.


What Happens if My eTA Application is Denied?

If your eTA application is denied, you will not be able to travel to Canada under the eTA program, and you may need to explore other options for entry. Reapply or appeal the decision if your circumstances change to ensure the completeness and accuracy of your application.

Can I Use the Same eTA for Multiple Entries to Canada?

No, each eTA is valid for a single entry to Canada. You must obtain a new eTA for each trip to ensure that it remains valid for your intended stay and is associated with the correct passport.

What If I Enter the Wrong Passport Number on the eTA Form?

Entering the wrong passport number on the eTA form can lead to complications during travel, potentially resulting in a denial of entry upon arrival in Canada. It is crucial to double-check all information before submitting your eTA application to ensure your travel plans are on time.