Travellers are often unsure when to apply for a Canada eTA and whether they need other plans in place before beginning the process.
Firstly, it’s important to keep in mind that online Canada eTA is a travel authorization for citizens from visa-exempt countries. The eTA is not a visa and the application process is more straightforward, requiring less supporting documentation.
For this reason, passport holders from eligible countries can apply for the Canada eTA as soon as they decide to visit Canada. Even if plans do not come to fruition on this occasion, the eTA remains valid for 5 years so can be used for future trips.
This article answers the main questions applicants have regarding the eTA and their booking itinerary including whether flights and accommodation must be booked before applying.
CAN I APPLY FOR A CANADA ETA WITHOUT FLIGHT CONFIRMATION?
It is not necessary to book airline tickets before applying for the Canada eTA. In fact, it is recommended that travellers request the eTA first so that any issues can be resolved.
Although eligible passport holders can request an eTA at any point leading up to departure, visitors are advised to obtain the authorization as soon as they start arranging their trip to Canada.
Individuals who book flights without having requested the eTA should apply at least 72 hours before their flight departs to allow sufficient time for processing.
However, should a passenger forget to register for in advance, they can obtain the eTA from the airport with the urgent Canada eTA service which provides guaranteed 1-hour processing.
Do I need proof I will leave Canada at the end of my stay?
When applying for a traditional Canadian visa, visitors must be able to convince officers that they will depart Canada once the permit expires. A return or onwards flight ticket is the most effective way to do so.
This is not a requirement for the Canada Electronic Travel Authorization. Although visitors are required to leave the country within a maximum of 6 months, documentary evidence does not need to be presented.
All arrivals may face questions at the Canadian border regarding their means of arrival.
CAN I APPLY FOR AN ETA BEFORE BOOKING ACCOMMODATION IN CANADA?
Visitors applying for a Canada eTA do not need proof of accommodation. The only documents and information required are:
- Valid biometric passport
- Debit or credit card
- Contact details including email and residential address
Although it is a good idea to book hotels in Canada in advance, especially when staying in the most popular areas, doing so before applying for the eTA is not required.
SHOULD I APPLY FOR A CANADA ETA BEFORE BOOKING ITINERARY?
Visitors don’t need to finalize their itinerary before applying for the eTA; foreigners do not have to provide their date of arrival. The Canadian eTA is valid from the date it is issued for 5 consecutive years, or until the passport expires.
The eTA is accepted at international airports across Canada. Once a foreign citizen has been granted authorization to enter Canada, they may travel to the country by air through any of these airports. The first destination doesn’t need to be selected before submitting an application.
Permitted activities with the Canada eTA
While it is not necessary to plan all activities in advance, foreigners should ensure the eTA is valid for their reason for travelling to Canada.
The Canada eTA can be used for tourism and business, as well as for transiting through a Canadian airport. Foreigners visiting for other reasons may need a visa for Canada.