By Charlie Brown

If you’re planning to travel to Canada, it is important that you understand what an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is, who needs it, and when it is required. An ETA is required by foreigners from visa-exempt countries who wish to travel to or through Canada by air. The purpose of an ETA is to improve the ease with which these people travel to Canada.

Pending applications

In a case where you are yet to receive a response after submitting your ETA application documents, you’re not yet allowed to travel to Canada. In order to for you to be able to travel to Canada, the process must be finalized.

It is therefore important that you only start making travel arrangements after your application has been approved. However, if you had already made arrangements, make sure you reschedule the flight in order to save time as well as money.

Rejected applications

Also important to mention is that in the event that your ETA application is not approved, you will be unable to travel to Canada. Choosing to travel to Canada even after refusal of your application will unfortunately result in you being stopped at the airport and not being allowed to board the flight.

The best course of action would be to read and understand the reasons for which your ETA Canada application was rejected. Address the reasons as much as possible and then reapply for the ETA.

Transiting through Canada

You might be wondering whether you’re still required to use an ETA in the case where you are
traveling by air through Canada with another country being your destination. The answer is yes.
You will need an ETA to transit through Canada. The time you spend in the country notwithstanding, you will need an ETA if you’re from a visa-exempt country.

It is required whether Canada is your destination or a transit point. However, note that you will not need an ETA if your plane is refueling in Canada and you’re traveling to or from the US. You also don’t require an ETA or a visa if you’re a passenger who is part of the Transit Without Visa Program or China Transit Program.

Technical issues on the site

In the process of submitting your application, if you encounter technical issues such as problems with the application form or the payment system, the website may prevent your application from going through. Unfortunately, you will be unable to travel to Canada as a result until your application is approved.

In case such problems arise during the online application process, visit the government site and complete an enquiry form, stating the nature of the problem. The issues will be addressed as soon as you receive a response. Before then, postpone making any travel arrangements.

American and American-Canadian Citizens

You do not need an ETA to travel to Canada if you’re an American or American-Canadian citizen provided you have a valid US passport. Nevertheless, it is imperative that you carry with you all your identification documents and meet all other requirement for traveling to Canada.

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