Seyfarth Synopsis: Beginning November 10, 2016, the Canadian government will require many travelers flying to Canada to first obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

The following alert is relevant to organizations with a presence in Canada or who anticipate the need to place talent at a Canadian work site.

Seyfarth Shaw’s Global Mobility Practice hosts attorneys licensed to practice in the UK, Canada, and Germany. The group has the capability to assist clients with obtaining work and residence visas for over 70 jurisdictions around the world. If we can assist you in placing talent, please call your Seyfarth attorney. We will be happy to help you.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) introduced a new entry procedure requiring visa-exempt nationals (other than U.S. citizens) to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if entering or transiting through Canada by air. Although IRCC initially allowed for a leniency period enabling individuals to enter Canada without first submitting the eTA application, this leniency period ended on November 9, 2016.

Who Needs an eTA?

Beginning November 10, 2016, certain visa-exempt foreign nationals must obtain an eTA before travelling to Canada by air. Without an eTA, the following individuals will not be allowed to board the aircraft:

  • U.S. green card holders
  • Applicants for a Canadian work permit
  • Business Visitors or Tourists

The following individuals do not need to submit an eTA Application when travelling to Canada:

  • United States passport holders (whether travelling by air, land or sea)
  • Visa-exempt individuals entering by land or by sea
  • Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents. Dual Citizens will require a valid Canadian Passport.
  • Individuals who have received a valid Temporary Resident Visa or Work Permit through a Canadian Consulate or at a Case Processing Center within Canada will automatically be issued an eTA at the time the application is approved. The approval notice will contain an eTA.

Individuals intending to enter Canada can confirm whether they are required to obtain an eTA by visiting the following website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp.

How to Apply?

The Applicant will apply online by visiting: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta-start.asp. We encourage Applicants to apply well in advance as the application may take several days to process and IRCC reserves the right to request additional documentation to support the application. There is a $7.00 CAD fee payment required at the time the application is submitted online.

The eTA will electronically link to the passport and, once granted, will be valid for multiple entries during a period of up to five years from the day on which it is issued to the Applicant unless his or her passport or travel document is set to expire or the eTA is cancelled. The eTA is valid for visits to Canada for up to six months or up to the date determined by a Canada Border Services Agency officer.

If the visa-exempt Applicant previously relinquished Canadian Permanent Residency status, has an expired Canadian Permanent Residency card or has been charged, arrested, detained or convicted of a criminal offense, we strongly suggest speaking to Canadian immigration counsel in advance of submitting an application online.