In A Flash

Federal Government Expands Eligibility to Apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

The Federal Government has announced that eligible individuals from 13 countries can now travel to Canada with a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), rather than requiring a temporary resident visa (“TRV”), more commonly known as an Entry Visa. Specifically, eligible individuals will be able to travel to Canada with an eTA if they meet all of the following requirements:

  • The individual must be a citizen of one of the following countries:
    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Argentina
    • Brazil (eligible Brazilian citizens have been able to apply for an eTA under a similar policy since 2017)
    • Costa Rica
    • Morocco
    • Panama
    • Philippines
    • St. Kitts and Nevis
    • St. Lucia
    • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
    • Seychelles
    • Thailand
    • Trinidad and Tobago
    • Uruguay
  • The individual must have held a Canadian TRV in the past 10 years or currently hold a valid non-immigrant visa from the United States;
  • The individual must be traveling to Canada for a short visit, business, or tourist activity (i.e. up to 6 months); and
  • The individual must be flying to or transiting through a Canadian airport using a valid passport from one of the above-noted countries.

If a citizen of one of the above-noted countries does not meet all of the requirements, they will still require a TRV to travel to and enter Canada. Individuals who do meet all of the requirements and who currently hold a valid Canadian TRV can continue to travel to and enter Canada using this TRV. 

The eTA costs $7 CAD and lasts for up to five (5) years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. Individuals who are eligible to apply for an eTA can do so here: Apply Online for an eTA. The eTA is typically approved within minutes of applying.

This new policy will reduce the number of online TRV applications being processed from the above-noted countries, which is likely to lead to faster processing times, generally. This will also be beneficial for employers who wish to invite foreign nationals from these countries to conduct business visitor activities in Canada, as eligible foreign nationals will now be able to enter Canada and complete these activities without the need to first apply and be approved for a TRV from abroad. As well, family members of foreign nationals currently working and/or living in Canada will be able to travel to and visit these individuals more easily and efficiently. 

However, even if an individual is eligible for an eTA under this policy, if they intend to work in Canada and require a work permit, they will almost certainly be required to make their work permit application online from abroad. Though they may be eligible to hold an eTA rather than a TRV, it is unlikely that IRCC will allow port of entry applications for these individuals. A similar allowance came into effect in 2017 for Brazil and at that time, IRCC confirmed that port of entry applications were not possible.  If IRCC changes the requirement on this point, we will provide an update if and when additional information becomes available.   

For further information on this new policy, please refer to the Federal Government’s News Release here.  

If you have any questions about this topic or any other questions relating to workplace law, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.

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