Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) program launched for entering Canada


The Canadian government says it wants to make traveling to the country easier, faster and cheaper. Canada is expanding visa-free travel to a number of new countries. An additional 13 nations can now visit the country using the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) program instead of an entry visa. Available through a simple online application, ETA reduces wait times from weeks to minutes and costs 10 times less. Here's who Canada is now open for visa-free entry.

What is an electronic travel authorization for Canada and how do I get into Canada without a visa?

Canada Emerald lake - Yoho National Park, Canada

An entry permit to Canada without a visa (ETA) can be obtained online for as little as 7 Canadian dollars (5 euros). It can be issued for entry into Canada for business or tourist purposes for a trip of up to six months. Citizens of the 57 visa-exempt countries and 10 British territories traveling to Canada must apply for an ETA. If arriving by car, bus, train or ship, they do not need a Canada ETA or tourist visa. The list includes citizens of EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Switzerland, the Vatican and the UK. Until now, only one country that required a visa to Canada - Brazil - was eligible for an ETA. To that list has now been added 13 more countries whose citizens can enter without a visa. But there is a pitfall: when applying for an ETA, citizens of countries that previously needed a visa to enter Canada must have obtained a visa to Canada at least once in the past 10 years or have a valid U.S. nonimmigrant visa.

Which countries now have visa-free access to Canada?

The 13 countries that require a visa under Canada's entry regulations and can now benefit from Canada's ETA program, including Brazil, include: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Costa Rica, Morocco, Panama, Philippines, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay.

What are the benefits of Canada's electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system?

The Canadian government says the expansion of visa-free air travel will make visiting the country faster, easier and more affordable for thousands of travelers. An entry visa to Canada costs 100 Canadian dollars (70 euros), which is 10 times more expensive than the ETA. The online visa application requires uploading various documents, as well as fingerprinting and a photo. Once the application is approved, the passport must be sent in to receive the visa. The entire process usually takes a few weeks. In comparison, to get an ETA, all you need to do is enter your passport and payment information in a short online application. This is then approved within minutes via email. Canada also hopes that extending visa-free travel to more countries promotes tourism and strengthens international relations.

If you wish to visit Canada, our visa center can help you apply for an electronic travel authorization or visa.

Learn more about Canada - what to see and which cities to visit. You are sure to find something of interest.