Electronic Travel Authorization – Known Travel

Steven MeurrensTemporary Resident Visas

Section 7.1(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the “IRPR”) provides that:

7.1 (1) A foreign national referred to in paragraph 7(2)(a) who is exempt from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa and who is seeking to enter Canada by air to remain on a temporary basis is required to obtain an electronic travel authorization before entering Canada, unless they are exempt from that requirement under subsection (3).

Subsection 12.01(1) of the IRPR provides that:

(e) the day on which the country referred to in subsection 7.01(1) that issued the passport or other travel document in respect of which the electronic travel authorization was issued is no longer referred to in that subsection, unless that country is listed in Schedule 1.1.

Together, these regulations form what is known as the Electronic Travel Authorization (“eTA”) Known Travellers program.


In March, 206, Canada’s eTA program was launched.  An eTA is an electronic document requirement for visa-exempt air travellers to Canada.  All visa-exempt air travellers are required to apply online for an eTA by providing basic biographical and passport information, and by answering a series of questions to determine admissibility. Americans are an exception to this, as they can travel to Canada without a visa or an eTA.

An eTA costs CAD 7.00. It generally takes a few minutes to process.  If approved, an eTA is valid for five years or until the holder’s passport expires, whichever occurs first.

In 2017, the IRPR were amended to extend eTA eligibility to a some Bulgarian, Romanian, and Brazilian nationals.  This program was referred to  “extended eTA eligibility” or “known traveller eTA.”

To be eligible for known traveller eTA eligibility, an applicant must:

  • be travelling by air; and
  • have held a Canadian visitor visa within the 10 years prior to their application or hold a valid U.S. visitor visa at the time of their application.

On December 1, 2017, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals became visa exempt for travel to Canada; therefore, Brazil remains the only country whose nationals enjoy extended eTA eligibility.

In 2018, the Government of Canada limited Romania’s visa exemption to travellers holding electronic passports.

Eligible Countries

The eTA Known Travellers program applies to citizens of the following countries:

Antigua and Barbuda
Costa Rica
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago