Travelers from eligible countries can remain in Canada for up to 6 months visa-free provided they apply for a Canada eTA.
The online form is convenient and hassle-free, it can be completed from home 24 hours a day with no need to attend an embassy or consulate.
It is essential that all the information provided is accurate and error-free. Any incorrect data or even spelling mistakes made at this stage may lead to delays or rejection.
Some of the most common eTA Canada mistakes are made when filling out the first name or surname. Questions often arise when a name contains non-English characters or hyphens, amongst other doubts.
These key issues are addressed below to help visitors successfully obtain Canada’s Electronic Travel Authorisation.
How to Enter the Family and Given Names
Canada eTA applicants are asked to add their “First name(s)” and “Last name(s)” to the eTA form.
The last name is also called the surname or family name and does not always come after the given name. Countries that follow the Eastern name order, mainly East Asian nations, place the family name before the given name.
It is therefore important to remember that on the Canada eTA application form the “First name(s)” field should be completed with the given name on the passport and the “Last name(s)” field with the family name, regardless of the order the names are normally written in.
The correct order of names can be found in the machine-readable lines of the biometric passport written as a chevron (<) family name with the abbreviation of the nationality followed by 2 chevrons (<<) and the given name.
Should I include my middle name on the eTA form?
All middle names should be included in the “First name(s)” section of the form. The name provided must match that on the passport, it’s important to include the same details, even if there are several middle names.
To provide an example, a traveler names Gabriella Catherine Allan would enter:
- First name(s): Gabriella Catherine
- Last name(s): Allan
What to do if you only have one known name?
In the case that the first name is unknown and there is only one name line on the passport.
In this case, the name should be entered in the surname or family name field, leaving the first name field empty.
Should decorations, titles, prefixes and suffixes be entered?
Titles, prefixes, suffixes, and other decorations should only be included on the Canada eTA form if they appear within the machine-readable lines on the passport, otherwise, they ought to be left out.
Some examples are Lady, Lord, Captain, and Doctor.
Applying for Canada eTA after a Name Change
An individual may change their name following marriage or divorce, or for other reasons.
To meet the Canada eTA requirements, the name on the permit must match that on the passport to be valid for travel.
If the passport shows an applicant’s maiden name shortly after marriage, then it’s correct to use the maiden name on the eTA form also. Similarly, after getting divorced an individual should only put their maiden name on the eTA application if they have already amended their passport details.
Travelers should update their passport as soon as possible with their new name, preferably getting a new document in advance.
Passports with a manual amendment to the name in the observations section of the passport should include the name in this section.
If a traveler with an existing Canada eTA updates their passport with their new name, they will need to reapply for the eTA before returning to Canada.
Spelling Names with Accents and Punctuation
The Canada eTA application form is based on the letters of the Latin alphabet, also known as the Roman alphabet.
The following accents used in French spelling are also permitted:
- Cédille: Ç
- Aigu: é
- Circonflexe: â, ê, î, ô, û
- Grave: à, è, ù
- Tréma: ë, ï, ü
Names with hyphens and apostrophes
A double-barrelled, or hyphenated, surname is a name composed of 2 separate parts linked using a hyphen.
The practice is common in western societies to preserve a family name, particularly in the absence of male descendants. An example of a double-barrelled surname is Taylor-Clarke. Some first names may also be written with a hyphen, Mary-Jane, for example.
In both cases, the name should be entered exactly as it appears on the passport, if it is written with a hyphen, include the hyphen.
Another common question is whether to include an apostrophe, for example in the surname O’Neal and the given name D’andre. Again, the apostrophe should be included if it is used on the passport.
Names with Filial and Spousal Relationships
Components of personal names that indicate the relationship between a son and his father or another ancestor should not be included in the eTA application form.
An example: name printed on the passport as Amr bin Mohammed bin Aziz, all in one field. In this case, the given name entered is Amr, and the family name Mohammed.
Other examples of components indicating a filial relationship to be omitted include, amongst others: son of, daughter of, and bint.
Spousal relationship indicators such as épouse de, epse or ep, or “wife of” or “husband of” should not be included, even if they are used on the passport.