The eTAs came into effect this week, following several months of delays to the scheme. Indeed, the scheme was first introduced in 2015 ready for implementation in spring this year, but technical difficulties resulted in it being pushed back until the autumn.
Now, the eTA mirrors the US “Esta” programme, though with less onerous demands for information, and validity of five years, rather than two. (£4.20). The only legitimate site is canada.ca/eTA.
The scheme began in the summer of 2015 and was due to become obligatory from 15 March 2016. However, issues with IT forced the authorities to postpone the scheme until after the summer.
The government says: “The eTA requirement allows Canada to check that travellers are admissible before they board their flight, preventing those who are inadmissible from travelling to Canada in the first place.”
The Canadian government’s site has posted a reminder for travellers, noting that exceptions include US citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, and Canadian permanent residents cannot apply for an eTA.
Entry requirements for people other methods of travel (land, sea) instead of flying, however, have not changed.
If you’re visiting Canada you’ll need an eTA to board your flight unless you’re otherwise exempted (for example, if you have a valid Canadian visa or a permanent resident card),” the British government advises tourists. “If you have British-Canadian dual nationality you won’t be able to apply for an eTA and you’ll need to present a valid Canadian passport to board your flight to Canada.
If you’re travelling by land or sea, you won’t need an eTA when you enter Canada. However, you must travel with acceptable travel documents and identification.”
The scheme is not dissimilar to the USA’s Esta required for travel to the United States, but Canada’s eTAs are valid for five years, or until the passenger’s passport expires, rather than America’s two.
The move arrives as Canada hopes to attract a growing number of visitors and migrants, following the election of Donald Trumps US President, whose campaign heavily involved a strong anti-immigration stance. Indeed, the Canada immigration site crashed in the hours following Trump’s victory.