Canada: Electronic Travel Authorization becomes mandatory Nov. 10

What is the change? A grace period that has allowed visa-exempt foreign nationals to board airplanes for Canada without electronic travel authorization (eTA) will come to an end Thursday, Nov. 10.

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What does the change mean? Beginning Thursday, visa-waived nationals traveling by air to Canada must obtain an eTA before departing. U.S. citizens are exempt from the requirement.

  • Implementation time frame: Thursday, Nov. 10.
  • Visas/permits affected: Electronic travel authorization.
  • Who is affected: Non-U.S. nationals who are visa-waived, i.e., who are currently waived from having to obtain a visitor visa (“temporary resident visa”) to enter Canada.
  • Impact on processing times: Travelers may apply online and should receive their eTAs the same day. Travelers should not wait until the last minute, however, because of the possibility of delays or technical problems.
  • Business impact: Business travelers will ultimately benefit, as eTAs are valid for five years or to the validity of the applicant’s passport, whichever comes first. It reduces repeat screening procedures at every entry.
  • Next steps: Affected travelers should apply for their eTA as soon as possible.

Background: Canadian officials pushed back the eTA deadline in September, but the system is now set to become mandatory Thursday. Beginning on that day, non-U.S. visa-waived nationals will be required to obtain an eTA in order to board an airplane for Canada. Visa-required nationals still must obtain a visa, not an eTA. And dual Canadian citizens will be required to use their Canadian passport to enter Canada by air. Otherwise they will risk being denied boarding or entry.

BAL Analysis: Frequent travelers to Canada or those planning air travel on or after Thursday, Nov. 10 should apply for their eTA as soon as possible.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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