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Most foreign nationals who want to visit Canada require a valid visitor visa to enter the country. However, citizens of some countries are visa-exempt. In 2016, Canada introduced electronic travel authorizations (eTA) as a new entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to or through Canada by air.

Who needs an eTA
Most foreign nationals exempt from requiring a Canadian visitor visa require an eTA if they are travelling to or transiting through Canada by air. A notable exception to the eTA requirement is U.S. citizens who can travel to Canada using their valid U.S. passport and U.S permanent residents (Green Card holders), regardless of their country of citizenship, who can travel to Canada using their valid passport and U.S Green Card.

eTA Exemptions
There are some exceptional cases in which travellers may not be required to obtain an eTA. Such cases include:

  • French citizens who live in Saint Pierre and Miquelon and are flying directly to Canada from St. Pierre and Miquelon;
  • Diplomats accredited by the Government of Canada, and;
  • Foreign nationals who transit through a Canadian airport under the Transit Without Visa or China Transit programs.

Extending a visitor status
An electronic travel authorization (eTA) allows foreign nationals to enter and legally live in Canada for up to six months at a time. At the end of this period, their legal status will expire, and they must leave Canada. Foreign nationals who would like to extend their stay beyond six months must apply to do so while their temporary resident status is still valid.

They should apply for an extension at least 30 days before their status will expire. If their current status expires while the extension application is still being processed, they may remain in Canada while waiting for a decision to be made. This is called implied status. They can also apply for permanent resident status if they are eligible for one of Canada’s immigration programs.

Need to find out if you are eligible for an eTA or need help with the application?

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