You name it, Canada’s got it. The land of the maple leaf is a major player on the world stage in terms of politics and economy. Abundant in superb employment and eduction opportunities, Canada ranks high on the list of countries guaranteeing very high standard of living and impeccable healthcare services. While it may not be the cheapest location to live in, Canada’s thriving economy will surely accommodate anyone looking for honest work possibilities. Its vast, pristine wilderness attracts tens of thousands of nature lovers every year, tourists and migrants alike. It is also notorious for its convoluted migration procedures and long application processing times. But will you really have to elbow your way through the thick Canadian legislative jungle? Let’s see how to approach the task of getting a visa for Canada.
Is getting a visa for Canada necessary?
British citizens are generally allowed a visa-free entry into Canada. It is granted through the Electronic Travel Authorisation system (eTA) the Canadian government has been operating since November 10, 2016. Under its provisions, the length of a visa-free stay in the country is limited to six months and it is reserved for air travel exclusively. The procedure to obtain eTA is fairly simple and does not require visiting a Canadian embassy. In practice, it boils down to a fast online application. While eTA bears some resemblance to the visa system, there are significant differences between the two authorisations and what they entitle the holder to. In fact, some situation will require applying for a dedicated visa to visit Canada. Let’s take an in-depth look. Check our guide if you are emigrating to Canada from the UK.
Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA)
The Electronic Travel Authorisation system allows a visa-free entry into Canada to citizens of 54 countries around the world that meet a number of criteria specified in the Canadian Visa Waiver Programme. Among others, there are the Commonwealth countries and all the EU member states. Visitors requesting entry into Canada are required to follow a simple registration procedure available on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. To register, applicants must provide:
- proof of identity – passport
- e-mail address – once processed, the confirmation is sent electronically
- credit or debit details – pay the application fee of CA$7
The procedure consists in filling a simplified questionnaire. Granting eligibility for eTA is based on a risk assessment procedure and a confirmation is sent to the email address provided in the registration. Although the maximum processing time totals 72 hours, in most cases authorisations are issued within minutes. Apart from the biometrics and proof of identity, the questionnaire addresses the following issues:
- a candidate’s additional citizenships
- available funds to support themselves during the stay
- employment details
- contact information
- health condition
- immigration history
- conviction history
Electronically tied to a candidate’s passport, eTA allows multiple entry into Canada for a total of five years since the issue date, each time granting a six-month stay within the country. Regardless of the reason to travel to Canada, the actual length of time a given candidate is allowed to stay in Canada is determined by the Canadian Border Services operatives upon entry into the country. Extensions of the six-month allowance can be applied for at least 30 days in advance. All travellers arriving by air are required to complete the eTA application procedure. This includes children regardless of their age. Overland entries or arrivals by sea are allowed for visa holders.
There is a selection of situations where the electronic Travel Authorisation is not required. Exempt from eTA are, among others, holders of Canadian visas, passenger flight cabin crew and diplomats.
How does eTA work?
While there’s no need to remove the side panniers, the top box (if any) should be placed on the floor or the pallet. Removing all the protruding elements will prevent accidental damage. It will also reduce the overall size of the shipment. Therefore, the mirrors and the screen need removing. Consider wrapping the mirrors in bubble wrap before sticking them in the side panniers. Safety and economy.
Visas to Canada
Citizens of some countries are not eligible for eTA. For them to enter Canada, it will be required to apply for a specific visa beforehand. Likewise, there are situations where a visa-free entry is out of the question even for the citizens of the 54 privileged countries.