Planning a trip to Canada entails more than booking a flight and finding accommodation. You may also need to apply for a visa. However, if you are among the 58 nationalities who are visa exempt, all you need to do is apply for an ETA. There is one exception. The citizens of the US, while they are exempt from obtaining a visa, they are also exempt from acquiring an ETA. All the other nationalities must obtain the authorization, but only if they travel by air. If you decide to go by land or by sea, an ETA is not necessary.
To find out in which category you are, you can use iVisa’s Visa Checker. The tool is located in the top right corner of the page. Access the feature and follow the steps. First, select your nationality from the drag-down menu on the left, and then choose Canada as your destination. If you need a consular visa, you will be notified. But if you qualify for a Canada ETA](/canada-visa-eta), you will be given a chance to apply on the spot.
How to apply for a Canada ETA
If the Visa Checker lets you know that you must apply for an ETA, the application process is entirely online, so you will have an easy time going through it. First, you need to make sure that you have everything you need for a successful application process. Here is what you must provide so that iVisa can get started:
Valid passport – all applicants who wish to obtain an ETA must hold a valid passport that remains as such for at least another 6 months from the date of arrival in Canada. Also, keep in mind that an expired passport also means an expired ETA, and a new passport implies a new ETA as well.
An e-mail address – since the application process is entirely online, you will receive the ETA via e-mail. That is why you need an address to which you have access.
Means of payment – for the same reason as above, you need to have an online means of payment. iVisa accepts multiple methods. You can use a credit or a debit card, but PayPal, Alipay, and WeChat are accepted as well.
Once you have everything you need, it is time to move on to the application form. You should complete it in no more than 20 minutes, and if you need assistance, iVisa has an excellent support service that can help you every step of the way. The service is at your disposal non-stop and is free of charge.
The application form you must complete has three steps. The first one asks for some personal information and asks to select a processing time for your application. Your selection determines the cost of your Canada ETA. Here is what you can choose from:
Standard processing – if the circumstances allow it, you can go for the slowest and cheapest option. By choosing the Standard option, you agree to have your application processed within 1 business day. The cost of this option is $19.50.
Rush processing – if time is of the issue, you can choose this option and have your Canada ETA in your e-mail inbox in just 2 hours. However, you will be charged $49.50.
Super Rush processing – emergency situation call for the fastest processing time available. Your application is processed within 30 minutes, but the cost goes higher as well. The fee for this option is $69.50.
Step number two consists of payment and revision, and you need to be very careful with the latter. You should be aware that you cannot make any corrections once your application reaches the processing stage. If you make an error, your visa will be invalid, and you need to repeat the process. Check your form for errors and typos before you move on.
The last step is about uploading the necessary documentation. iVisa may ask for additional documents, but you will be notified in due time. Once you are through, just hit the submit button and wait. Your job is done.
So, to answer your question, you need a Canada ETA if you are exempt from getting a visa and you travel to Canada by air. The ETA is valid for 5 years or until your passport expires, whichever comes up first. You are granted multiple entries, and you can stay in Canada for up to 180 days per entry.
Yixi (Sophia) Li is the co-author of this article. She is a licensed immigration consultant (RCIC) who has been working with an immigration law firm since 2016. She is also a licensed paralegal in Ontario and a notary public. She has a Masters of Law. In 2018, she founded Mainstay Immigration Law Firm and Yixi Li Legal Firm.