After a soft launch lasting a full year Canada’s new pre-screening system for visa-exempt travelers — known as electronic Travel Authorization, or eTA — came into full force on November 10, 2016 and it’s already catching some travellers by surprise.
British comedian Robin Ince was denied boarding for an Air Canada flight as he hadn’t obtained an eTA but was at least able to joke about his experience as reported in this CBC article. Others however may not find levity in their predicament which is why airlines, the travel industry and the federal government are doing all they can to publicize the new rules which Ottawa says are meant to screen people before they arrive in the country.
Not every traveller requires an eTA to enter Canada as U.S. citizens, travellers with a valid Canadian visa, dual citizens and Canadian Permanent Resident (PR) card holders however those from visa-exempt countries such as Britain, New Zealand, Greece or the Netherlands. To find out if you or someone you know who may be planning a trip to Canada requires an eTA, consult the Immigration and Citizenship website here. Worth noting is that an eTA is only required for arriving into Canada by air, not by land or sea.
As always it is solely the responsibility of each traveller to ensure they have obtain the proper documents to board their flight and online resources are readily available help highlight the paperwork required. One such resource is the Skyteam airline alliance’s Passport, Visa & Health Requirements website.