The Canadian eTA was introduced in 2015 by Canadian immigration as a better way of organizing the assessment of visitors and determining their right to enter the country before they travel.
This replacement system has aided authorities in processing foreign nationals more efficiently, leading to shorter queues at the border and a quicker and more pleasant travel experience for visitors.
There are fifty countries whose citizens are exempt from a Canadian visa under this scheme, including Britain. This means British nationals can apply for the eTA instead of needing to obtain a Canada tourist visa for British citizens.
Do I Need a Visa or eTA to Travel to Canada as a British Citizen?
The Canada electronic travel authorization is only available to British nationals who are entering Canada by air. Visitors who are crossing the land border or arriving by ship cannot apply for an eTA, but may need a visa or other travel documents instead.
The Canada eTA for British citizens is intended for visitors who are traveling to Canada for the purposes of:
- Tourism, especially short tourist stays
- Business trips
- Transiting through Canada to an onward destination
- Medical treatment or consultation
British citizens who have received the eTA are able to transit through Canada without a visa, provided they are entering and leaving by air. Foreign nationals who do not qualify for the eTA will need a transit visa.
Canada Visa Requirements from the UK
There are several requirements necessary in order to apply for the Canada eTA. All applicants must have:
- A British passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of travel
- A valid credit or debit card to pay the fee
- A current email address
The eTA is linked to the specific passport used in the application and cannot be transferred. Travelers who hold dual citizenship with the UK and another country must apply for the Canada eTA for UK citizens using the same passport they will use to travel.
The eTA differs from the traditional visa in that applicants are permitted to enter Canada multiple times within the five-year period. Immigration officials will decide on arrival at the border for how long the eTA holder is allowed to remain in Canada, usually a stay of up to six months for each trip.
Documents Required for a Canadian Tourist Visa
British citizens eligible for the eTA need to complete the simple online application form and provide some basic personal details, including:
- Passport details, including passport number
- Passport issue date and expiry date
Prior to submitting their application online, travelers need to answer several security and health-related questions. It is a good idea to check all information provided on the form, as mistakes or inconsistencies can lead to the Canada eTA for UK citizens being delayed or rejected.
There is also an eTA fee that must be paid online using either debit card or credit card.
Canada Visa for UK Passport Holders
Trips to Canada under the eTA may not last more than six months, and UK visitors are not allowed to stay beyond the allotted period. Travelers who wish to extend their stay in the country can apply for an extension, provided they do so at least 30 days in advance.
British travelers need to have an electronic passport that is machine-readable since the eTA functions electronically. British passports issued in the last ten years should all be machine-readable, but travelers who are uncertain can check their documents by contacting the HM Passport Office in the UK.
It is necessary to be a full UK citizen in order to apply for the Canada eTA. Travelers who hold permanent British residence or another status such as refugees may need to apply for a Canadian visa unless they also hold a passport from another visa-exempt country.
eTA Canada Application for British Citizens
British nationals visiting Canada who have already finalized their travel plans must submit the eTA application at least 3 days before travel to allow time for their form to be processed and the eTA to be approved and sent.
The process for applying is fast and straightforward, and once approved the eTA will be delivered to the applicant via email safely and electronically. Provided you have an internet connection it is possible to apply for the eTA from anywhere in the world, using a desktop computer, tablet or mobile device.
The eTA Canada is automatically added to the applicant’s passport, so there is no need to print documents or show anything at the airport. The authorization is valid for a period of five years from the date of issue.