On April 13, 2017 the Government of Canada introduced several regulatory amendments to the Electronic Travel Authorization (“eTA”) regime. The changes to the eTA program came into effect on May 3, 2017. Before reading about the changes, those who are unfamiliar with the eTA should read my previous posts on this topic titled ETA Regulations Announced and Electronic Travel Authorizations.
In brief, the eTA is an electronic document requirement for visa-exempt air travellers to Canada, excluding citizens of the United States. Travellers who are visa-exempt must apply online for an eTA by providing basic biographical, passport and personal information. An automated system then compares this information against immigration and enforcement databases to determine if the traveller is admissible to Canada. The vast majority of applications are approved automatically, with a small percentage referred to an officer for review.
It is similar to ESTA in the United States.
Brazil, Bulgaria and Romania
Effective immediately, citizens of Brazil, Bulgaria, and Romania no longer need to apply for temporary resident visas to visit Canada and can instead apply for eTAs if they have held a temporary resident visa at any time during the 10-year period immediately preceding the day on which they make their application or hold a valid United States nonimmigrant visa on the day on which they make their application.
However, Brazilians, Bulgarians and Romanians will still generally need a visitor visa if driving to Canada from the U.S. or arriving by bus, train or boat, including a cruise ship from Alaska (even if someone is not leaving the ship).
This requirement for a visa will be lifted for Bulgarians and Romanians on December 1, 2017.
There is no indication when it will be lifted for Brazilians.
As remains the case for all people who require visas to visit Canada, Brazilians, Bulgarians and Romanians will not need a visa to return to Canada by land if they travel to the United States, and only the United States, and return to Canada within the period authorized by their initial entry into Canada, which is typically six months but can be longer or shorter in certain circumstances.
Automatic eTA Applications
The regulatory amendments also clarify that work and study permit applications, and work and study permit renewal applications, will also be considered eTA applications. This will save many foreign nationals from having to submit a separate eTA application.
Previously, an officer could only cancel an eTA if the officer determined that a person was inadmissible to Canada or part of an irregular arrival to Canada.
Now, a foreign national who holds an eTA becomes ineligible to hold such an authorization to enter Canada if, following its issuance, the person either:
- becomes the subject of a declaration that they were part of an irregular arrival to Canada;
- is issued a Temporary Resident Permit to overcome an inadmissibility to Canada;
- becomes the subject of an admissibility report;
- becomes the subject of a removal order;
- withdraws an application to enter Canada at a port of entry;
- is refused a temporary resident visa becomes it is determined that they are unlikely to leave Canada by the end of their authorized stay;
- is refused a work permit because it is determined that they are unlikely to leave Canada by the end of their authorized stay;
- is refused a study permit because it is determined that they are unlikely to leave Canada by the end of their authorized stay;
- for citizens of Brazil, Bulgaria and Romania it is discovered that they did not actually hold an American visa or that they had a previous Canadian visa.
In any of these circumstances, an officer may cancel the person’s eTA.