Canada New Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) Program Announced
On August 1, 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will introduce an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) Program. The eTA program objective is to establish a uniform process to screen visa-exempt foreign nationals prior to travel to Canada, in order to identify security threats prior to arrival in North America. The eTA program is modeled after the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which applies to foreign nationals who enter the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program. The program will not be mandatory until March 15, 2016.
CIC will begin accepting online eTA applications on August 1, 2015 for visa-exempt nationals who fly to Canada. Entry requirements will not change for entries made by land and sea. The following foreign nationals will need an eTA prior to entering Canada:
• Visa-exempt foreign nationals
• Foreign nationals who are U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents.
• Foreign nationals who are currently in Canada under a work or study permit must apply for an eTA.
• Foreign nationals applying for a work or study permit after August 1, 2015 will automatically be granted an eTA.
Importantly, U.S. citizens are exempt from the eTA requirement and do not need a visa to enter Canada.
Before traveling to Canada, foreign nationals must apply for an eTA through an online application process. An eTA will be issued within minutes and will be valid for five years or for the validity of the underlying passport, whichever comes first.
We encourage foreign nationals who will need an eTA to apply during the transition period from August 1, 2015 through March 15, 2016 to avoid any delays in travel to Canada. Gibney will continue to monitor this matter and provide updates as they become available. If you have any questions regarding this alert, please contact your designated Gibney representative, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is provided as general information for clients and friends of Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, LLP. It does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice. The contents of this article may be considered attorney advertising in some states.