A British grandparent misses their grandchild’s first birthday party in Ontario. A stand-up comedian did not make it to his Toronto gig. Canadians that have dual citizenship are now facing logistical problems when they try to go back home for the holidays.
In every case mentioned above, Canada’s electronic travel authorization or the eTA policy, which is just recently implemented, is getting all the heat. Citizens of at least 50 countries who can visit Canada before without obtaining a visa are now required to complete an electronic screening before they are allowed to enter the country, or even board the plane going to Canada. Visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_Canada to know more about the visa policy of Canada.
There are new travel requirements that keep people out of Canada to visit their friends and families over the holidays. A lot of people who are regularly visiting Canada don’t realize that the law and regulation when it comes to immigration.
Who are the people affected by the electronic travel authorization?
The eTA or electronic travel authorization is an online pre-screening process for people from at least 50 countries all over the world that can enter Canada by air without a vise. It includes countries like the European Union, Australia, Japan, and many more. It is supposed to help the government catch people who are considered as a security risk or people who stay in Canada longer than what is legal.
These people do not go through the formal screening process required by the government to those visitors that need to get a visa. It is essentially a pre-screening of visa-exempt visitors who might not have screening done to them. A lot of people that regularly travel to Canada are caught by surprise by this new rule.
American citizens are exempted from this AVE Canada. Electronic travel authorization only impacts travelers coming to Canada by plane. People traveling by sea or land are not affected by this new rule.
Is this a new program by the Canadian government?
The eTA program took effect on March 15, 2016, but after the travel industry of Canada voiced their concerns about the lack of information dissemination in regards the new requirements, the government allowed some grace period. Immigration officials started requiring the travelers to apply for an authorization in November the same year.
Does the program affect travelers that are Canadian citizens?
The new program will not affect Canadian citizens that use their passports when they are traveling. Canadians, as well as permanent residents, do not need to apply for an eTA or electronic travel authorization to get back home. Canadian citizens are not qualified to apply for one.
But there are dual citizens or people who are holding Canadian citizenship as well as citizenship from other countries, faced some issues when using their passports to travel. When they try to visit Canada using their foreign passport, airport officials will require them to show an eTA. But the problem is, they can’t apply for one since Canadian citizens are not ineligible to apply for an electronic travel authorization.
So, Canadians with dual citizenship should avoid using their foreign passports and avoid getting caught in these travel mix-ups. A lot of immigration experts believe that the consequences for Canadians with dual citizenships were not very well publicized, but once the immigration officials realized that there is an issue, it was too late. It was an unfortunate incidental effect of the electronic travel authorization program that they did not anticipate until the damage has been done.
Click here to find out how you can have Canadian dual citizenship.
How can people complete electronic travel authorization?
The authorization form is available on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada site. Travelers can fill out the eTA online. Applicants need a credit card to pay a fee of seven Canadian dollars, and they need their passport information as well.
Once the Canadian immigration approved the authorization, it is then linked to the applicant’s passport. They do not need to reapply again for five years or until their passport expires, whichever will come first. A lot of applicants get their electronic travel authorization approval within minutes via the email they provided.
However, some requests will take a few days to process, especially if the immigration officials ask the applicant to show some supporting documents. The best way to do is to get an authorization before booking a flight to Canada. Airline will officials check for it to make sure that people traveling into Canada have completed the process, which is why a lot of people that did not know about this new requirement have been forced to fill out eTA in airports before they board the plane. In rare cases, there have been issues, and travelers missed their flights.