Canada's new mandatory Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) system is now in force, with visitors under the Visa Waiver Program expected to obtain eTA clearance online, prior to travel.
Similar to the USA’s ESTA scheme, Australian passport holders visiting Canada for business or leisure must now register their passport and personal details via the Canadian Government's eTA website before checking-in for their flight.
There's a small CAD$7 (A$7.02) charge attached per application which can be paid online by Visa, MasterCard and American Express, with the eTA then valid for up to five years or until your passport expires – whichever comes first – and an unlimited number of trips during that period.
Clearance to fly is typically given within minutes and separate applications aren’t required for business and leisure travel: so if you obtain an eTA through your employer to cover the odd Canuck business trip, you can use that same eTA should you visit again on holiday.
The Canadian Government's website highlights that "as of March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals are expected to have an eTA to fly to or transit through Canada," but there are also provisions for those more forgetful.
"Until fall (September-November) 2016, you can board your flight without an eTA, as long as you have appropriate travel documents such as a valid passport. During this time, border services officers can let you enter the country as long as you meet the other requirements to enter Canada."
eTAs are also only required for passengers arriving by air – not for those crossing at land borders or on cruise ships – nor are they required for citizens of Canada, the United States or holders of Canadian work or study visas.
Individual applications must be submitted for each traveller regardless of age, including children, and if your itinerary includes a stop in the United States, you’ll also need to complete an ESTA application as the schemes aren’t interchangeable.
For more information, head to the official eTA website.
More on visas and international travel:
- Visa-free entry to the USA – what you need to know about ESTA
- Government loosens the rules for APEC business travel cards
- China: visa-free stopovers in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou
- How frequent flyers can get fast-lane access at Hong Kong airport
- Automated departure SmartGates coming to Sydney Airport
- Indian visa applications to become more tedious
- What the 'Schengen Area' means for your European business trip
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