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As of March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals coming to Canada, and transiting through Canada, may have one more thing on their to-do list prior to heading to the airport. Travelers will need a document called an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Applying for an eTA is an online process that Citizenship and immigration Canada indicates will only take a few minutes to complete. In order to apply online, travelers will need a valid passport, credit card and email address. The fee for the eTA is $7.00 CAD.

The application will consist of fill-in fields and drop-down menus, and ask for information such as the applicant’s place of birth, gender, address, nationality, occupation, employer, marital status, history of criminal convictions, contact with tuberculosis, the existence of any ongoing health conditions, and funds available for your trip to Canada. If traveling with family, the form will need to be filled out separately for each individual.

Travelers will be notified by email when the eTA is approved. Each eTA is linked to the passport you used in your eTA application. You will need to present the passport you used to apply for your eTA to airline staff each time you board a flight to Canada.

The eTAs are not required for foreign nationals who come to Canada via land or sea.

Some of the other exceptions for people who will not need an eTA include American citizens and travelers with valid visas.

Your eTA authorizes you to visit Canada for up to six months or until the date prescribed by a border services officer on your arrival to Canada. If you need to stay in Canada longer, you must apply to extend your stay.

Once you have an eTA, it will be valid for five years, or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

Employers should keep this upcoming change in mind when preparing staff and executives from abroad for a trip to Canada. If your company is planning on bringing an employee to apply at the Canadian border for a temporary resident visa, they will also need to fill in this online form at home before their arrival.

Contact Sharaf Sultan at ssultan@sultanlawyers.com or Krista Kais-Prial at kkais-prial@sultanlawyers.com for further information on the immigration process for international corporations and employees across borders.


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