Citizens of the visa exempt countries were required by department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to obtain electronic travel authorization (eTA) by March 15, 2016. However, Canadian government has extended the date on which the new visa laws were becoming effective by six months. There were concerns raised by the travel industry about the timing of the new laws. Canada has introduced the screening of the travelers from the visa exempt countries prior to their arrival.
Canadian government has announced,”However, from March 15, 2016 until fall 2016, travelers who do not have an eTA can board their flight, as long as they have appropriate travel documents, such as a valid passport.”
“During this time, border services officers can let travelers arriving without an eTA into the country, as long as they meet the other requirements to enter Canada.”
Electronic Travel Authorization costs $7 and is valid for 5 years or the validity of the passport. The purpose of the eTA is to make travel easier and faster for low risk travelers.
About 3 million travelers entering or passing through Canada by air will be affected by the new visa rules. Travelers can apply for Canada eTA online and most will get approval within minutes.
The new visa rules only apply to the travelers who are boarding a plane to arrive in Canada. It does not apply if they are arriving in Canada by land or sea.
Canadian tourism industry has welcomed the government’s decision to provide a grace period of six months to travelers to comply with the new visa rules.