The Citizenship and Immigration Canada Program will go into Effect March 15, 2016
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has recently announced their intention to introduce electronic travel authorization (eTA) for individuals who are currently exempt from obtaining a temporary resident visa (TRV) before entering Canada. Individuals wishing to come to Canada on a temporary basis will be able to apply for this authorization as of August 2015, and the system is scheduled to officially go into effect on March 15, 2016, after which this authorization will be required for all visa-exempt travel into the country.
The system will mirror the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which is currently in use by the United States of America. Permanent resident lawyers note that this will ensure that a common approach to screening travelers is used in both North American countries.
Before these individuals make plans to travel to Canada, the goal is to have them apply online for an eTA. If their application is approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, they will be notified through the electronic processing system within minutes. If they are deemed inadmissible to Canada, they will be notified that their eTA application has been denied. Permanent resident lawyers explain that common reasons for refusal include membership in terrorist organizations or organized crime, participation in war crimes or crimes against humanity, espionage, international human rights violations, or anything that may endanger public health, such as tuberculosis, for example.
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the number of visa-exempt foreign nationals traveling to Canada on a temporary basis each year is consistently larger than the number of travelers requiring a visa. Permanent resident lawyers explain that these travelers seeking entry into the country are not currently screened for admissibility until they arrive at a Canadian port of entry. Once they have arrived, if they are deemed inadmissible for entry, it results in significant expenses, delays, and inconveniences, not only for these individuals, but for other travelers, the airlines and the Canadian government.
A fee of seven Canadian dollars will be charged for the processing of these applications, and the authorization will be valid for 5 years after it has been issued, unless the applicant’s passport expires, the electronic travel authorization is cancelled or a new travel document is issued. In these cases the authorization will be invalidated before the 5 years are complete.
A number of exemptions from the requirement to obtain this travel authorization will be in place. Be sure to speak with a permanent resident lawyer to determine whether any of these exemptions apply to you, and whether your nationality requires you to obtain a temporary resident visa before traveling to Canada.