The Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA)
What is an eTA?
eTA is a new entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. This entry requirement will become mandatory on March 15, 2016. It will allow Canada to screen travellers before they arrive. The authorization is electronically linked to your passport and is valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. If you are travelling before March 15, 2016 you do not require an eTA.
What is a visa-exempt foreign national?
A visa-exempt foreign national is a person who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, and who does not normally need a visa to enter Canada.
How do I apply?
You can fill out your eTA online application here. To apply you must have a valid passport, a credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or a pre-paid Visa, MasterCard or American Express), and email address. You will need to provide the biographic information from your passport. This includes your name, date and place of birth, gender, marital status, address, nationality and passport number. You will also need to answer a few simple background questions to determine if you can go to Canada. For example, you will be asked about your current job and how much money you have available for your visit to Canada, and if you have any medical issues.
How much does it cost? For how long is it valid?
It costs $7 CAD to get an eTA. It will be valid for up to five years.
Visa: A new System
What was the old system?
The old system operated on a first come, first served basis. You would be told of the next time window to apply at which time you would have to click at the right moment and quickly complete your application form in 2 minutes to compete with the thousands across the world also trying to get their visa - a bit like buying Adele tickets, if not more intense. There was every chance that if you were not prepared with all the information required to complete the form by your side that you would not get your visa on this occasion and you would have to wait for the next window to apply. The system worked in favour of those who were well prepared. We have a bunch of guys out in Canada with visas under the old system for this very reason - take Sean, Jamie, Cameron or Connor to name a few.
What is different in the new system?
The new 2015 International Experience Canada (IEC) system is pool-based and a successful application should take 8 weeks to process. You submit a profile to determine eligibility and if you pass this section you will be invited to complete your application. Your country of citizenship must have an agreement with Canada that allows you to apply for an IEC. For example, Britain and Australia are in these countries. You can easily check your countries eligibility here. Next you will be placed in the pools in which you are eligible to apply, along with others. Anyone applying to take a ski or snowboard course would generally be under the working holiday pool. However, you can apply to one or more of these pools. To apply for a work permit you must be invited to apply. You have 10 days to decide if you would like to accept, or decline, the invitation which you will find in your MyCIC account.