Do I Need a Canada eTA for Transit?

Canadian ETA for transit

International visitors to Canada either require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visa, depending on their nationality, in order to enter the country. However, travelers who are simply transiting through the country on their way to a different destination may wonder: do you need a Canada eTA for transit?

This is an important question because without the necessary authorization, it would be impossible to make the connecting flight and complete the journey to the final destination.

This page outlines who needs a visa or an online Canadian eTA for transit through the country.

Do I Need an eTA for a Connecting Flight Through Canada?

Individuals traveling to their destination via a Canadian airport frequently ask the following question: if you have a flight change in Canada do you need an eTA?

The answer depends on the nationality of the traveler. Either a transit visa for Canada or an eTA is required to disembark an aircraft at a Canadian airport.

The eTA for Canada is needed for transit if the individual is eligible to apply for it. Only holders of passports issued by certain countries are visa-exempt and these travelers must obtain an eTA to visit or transit through Canada when arriving by air.

This means that all travelers who are exempt from visa requirements must obtain the eTA for Canada to board their connecting flight. Check the Canada eTA requirements to find out which nationalities are eligible.

Do I Need a Visa to Transit Through Canada?

Another frequently asked question is: “do I need a transit visa for Canada?”

As mentioned above, those nationals eligible for a Canada eTA do not need extra documentation to transit through the country, other than the online visa waiver.

Citizens of many countries do not enjoy visa exemption for Canada and therefore are not eligible for the eTA.

Travelers who fall into this category must have a visa for Canada in order to board a plane to the country and then pass through a Canadian airport to catch an onward flight.

What Type of Visa Is Needed to Transit Through Canada?

The type of Canada visa necessary for transit through the country depends on the circumstances. Travelers will need one of the following:

  • Transit visa
  • Visitor visa

International travelers from visa-required countries will need a Canada transit visa in order to fly to Canada and take a connecting flight to another country within 48 hours of landing.

If the individual already holds a visitor visa, this may be used for the purpose of transit instead of applying for a transit visa.

If the period of time spent in Canada between connecting flights is greater than 48 hours, the traveler will have to obtain a visitor visa instead of a transit visa.

Individuals passing through Canada by land or sea must have a visitor visa rather than a transit visa. This is the case regardless of the length of time spent on Canadian soil.

Do American Citizens Need a Transit Visa for Canada?

Citizens of the United States of America are not required to have an eTA or a visa to transit through Canada.

As long as the US citizen brings the correct travel documents (including a form of identification, such as a valid US passport), they may transit through Canada by the following methods of transportation:

  • Air
  • Bus
  • Car
  • Ship
  • Train

Citizens of other countries traveling from the US to Canada by plane must have a valid eTA.

Should You Apply for an eTA if You Go to Canada for a Flight?

Nationals and residents of the US who live close to the Canadian border may choose to fly from a nearby airport in Canada.

Travelers entering Canada by land or sea do not require an eTA, even if they intend to board a flight once they get there. The factor that determines whether or not an eTA is required is how the traveler arrives in the country, rather than how they leave Canadian soil.

Only travelers who arrive in Canada by air must obtain an eTA before they arrive, even if they plan to fly back out immediately. Once an individual has an approved eTA, it will be valid for 5 years.

How Do You Get an eTA for Transit Through Canada?

In order to obtain the eTA Canada for transit, it is necessary for the traveler to register their details online.

This is done by completing the Canada eTA application form online, which takes a few minutes to fill in and avoids the need to go to an embassy or consulate, as is the case for a visa application.

The eTA is processed quickly and is often received on the same day as the application, and almost certainly within 3 business days.

It is electronically linked to the individual’s passport, allowing for a faster and smoother process of passing through border control upon arrival in Canada.