Canada’s electronic travel authorization is a mandatory entry requirement for citizens of visa-exempt nations.
Conveniently, the eTA process is fully online. Unlike when requesting a visa, there is no need to attend an embassy or consulate to present paperwork. Instead, the Canada eTA application form and all supporting documents are submitted digitally.
In addition, once the eTA has been approved, it is linked to the applicant’s passport electronically, to be verified when the travel document is scanned at the airport.
Some people are therefore unsure whether they also need to print a Canada eTA and carry a paper copy with.
This article explains why it is not necessary to print the Canada eTA and some of the benefits of the online system.
TRAVELERS NEED A BIOMETRIC PASSPORT FOR CANADA
The Canadian eTA is available to eligible foreign nationals traveling to Canada with a biometric passport.
A biometric passport, or ePassport, has a microprocessor chip embedded within it. This chip stores biographical information which can be used to identify the passport holder.
The ePassport is more secure than its machine-readable predecessor as the data stored on the chip is very expensive and difficult to forge.
Given its superiority, 120 countries across the world now issue biometric passports, meaning that most eligible foreigners can apply for the Canadian eTA.
Anyone unsure whether or not their passport has a chip should look for the small biometric symbol printed on the cover of the passport, it looks similar to a camera.
How is the eTA linked to a biometric passport?
To apply, travelers who meet all the Canada eTA requirements complete an online form with certain personal details and passport information.
The passport number, expiry date, and issue date are recorded, allowing the system to identify the individual and confirm their eligibility to enter Canada.
Once the eTA application has been approved by the Canadian authorities, the authorization is linked electronically to the biometric chip embedded in the passport.
Before boarding a flight to Canada, the passport is scanned and only those with a valid eTA will be able to continue their journey.
The eTA remains linked to the chip until it, or the passport, expires. The digital link means that the eTA is only valid with the associated passport.
DO YOU NEED TO PRINT A COPY OF THE CANADA ETA?
As explained above, Canada’s electronic travel authorization is connected to the passport. For this reason, it is not necessary to print the Canada eTA.
Foreign nationals heading to Canada do not need to present a paper copy of the permit, whether or not a passenger has a valid eTA is confirmed by simply swiping the passport. This makes the eTA more convenient than traditional types of visa for Canada.
Once approved, the applicant is sent a notification by email to inform them that the eTA request has been granted. It is not, however, necessary to print an eTA from a computer.
This is of great benefit to travelers as they do not need to worry about misplacing the permit, it also speeds up border crossings.
It is particularly welcome news for anyone using the urgent Canada eTA service who may have been concerned about finding somewhere to print the document in time for their flight.
WHAT TO TAKE TO THE AIRPORT WHEN TRAVELING TO CANADA
Whilst there is no need to print the Canada eTA, travelers must take the following documents to the airport in order to board a flight bound for Canada:
- The passport used to apply for the eTA
- Boarding pass (paper copy or an electronic version on a digital device)
As the eTA cannot be transferred from one passport to another, it is essential that the same passport is used to request an eTA and enter Canada.
This means that, if the passport expires during the eTA validity period, a new authorization must be obtained.
In addition, if applying for the Canada eTA with dual citizenship, foreigners must ensure they provide the details of the passport they’ll present when going to Canada.
All foreigners who require an eTA must have the authorization in order to take a flight to Canada.