As of August 1, 2015, visa-waiver nationals traveling to Canada by air are eligible to obtain the new Electronic Travel Authorizations (eTAs). As seen in other countries offering similar authorizations, these new Canadian eTAs are electronically linked to the holder’s passport so no physical visa stamp will be issued.
In order to obtain an eTA, the applicant will be required to complete a simple online application and pay a small processing fee of CAD $7.00. Most applicants will receive a decision within minutes of submitting their online application. Upon approval, the eTA will be valid for five (5) years or the remaining validity of the applicant’s passport (whichever period is shorter).
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has confirmed several exemptions to the new eTA including, but not limited to: U.S. nationals, Canadian Permanent Residents, French nationals who are residents of St. Pierre and Miquelon who are entering Canada directly from those cities, and visa-wavier travelers already holding a valid Canadian visa.
Although the new eTA is currently optional, this entry authorization will become mandatory for all visa-waiver foreign nationals entering Canada by air as of March 16, 2016. A complete list of foreign nationals who will require an eTA as of March 16 can be found here.
ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS
Visa-waiver foreign nationals who plan to enter Canada by air on or after March 16, 2016, will be required to obtain an eTA through the new application procedures.
Although the new process is quite simple and seemingly minor, Global Mobility teams should take careful note of the new requirements and implementation timeframes as they do affect foreign employees who normally do not require any type of authorization to enter Canada. Employers should also note that there are several major exemptions to this requirement, including an exemption for U.S. nationals.
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