Seyfarth Synopsis: The Electronic Travel Authorization (the “eTA”), Canada’s new entry requirement for visa exempt nationals entering Canada by air, was announced in March 2016. The eTA effective date has been extended to November 9, 2016 (the prior deadline was September 29, 2016). Individuals requiring an eTA will not be permitted to board the aircraft. U.S. citizens are exempted from this requirement, but U.S. green card holders must obtain an 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.

On March 15, 2016, 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. IRCC initially allowed for a leniency period enabling travellers to enter Canada without first submitting the eTA application through September 29, 2016. This leniency period has recently been extended to November 9, 2016.

Between March 15, 2016 and November 9, 2016, travellers who have not yet obtained an eTA can board their flights, as long as they carry appropriate travel documents. Since March 15, 2016, obtaining an eTA has been optional. However, as of November 9, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals (including U.S. green card holders, applicants for a Canadian work permit (intending to submit an application at the port of entry) or visitors who enter Canada by air, must obtain an eTA before boarding their flight. Without the eTA, travellers will not be allowed to board the aircraft.

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

  • Visa-exempt individuals entering by land or by sea.
  • United States passport holders.
  • Those who have received a valid Temporary Resident Visa or Work Permit through a Canadian Consulate will automatically be issued an eTA.

Every individual entering Canada will continue to be interviewed by a Canada Border Services Agency officer who will examine their travel documentation. Individuals who either have an eTA or are exempted from the requirement must continue to meet general entry requirements upon each entry to Canada. If the visa-exempt individual 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.

Although there is a transition period, we strongly recommend that individuals requiring an eTA apply in advance to ensure that there are no unforeseen delays with obtaining the eTA. Applicants should confirm whether they are required to obtain an eTA for entry by visiting the following website:

The eTA will electronically link to the passport and, once granted, will be valid for a period of five years from the day on which it is issued to the applicant unless the individual’s passport or travel document is set to expire or the eTA is cancelled.