Amendments made to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act through the Jobs and Growth Act enhance the safety and security of Canadians and strengthen the integrity of the immigration program by introducing the requirement that foreign nationals obtain an electronic travel authorization (eTA) before entering Canada.
The eTA program is a key commitment of the Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan and will mirror the current U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) program to ensure a common approach to screening travellers outside the North American perimeter.
Before traveling to Canada, ideally even before purchasing a ticket to come to Canada, travellers will be able to apply for an eTA through an online application process. In the vast majority of cases, eTA applications will be approved through an electronic processing system within minutes. Applicants may be found to be inadmissible to Canada and have their eTA applications denied due to existing immigration admissibility criteria, such as criminality or fraud.
The changes to the regulations will have the following objectives:
- Establish the eTA as a requirement for entry to Canada from specified foreign nationals. The regulations will also specify which foreign nationals will be exempt from the eTA requirement (e.g. U.S. citizens).
- Specify how applications for an eTA would be submitted (e.g. online) and how they would be processed (e.g. through an electronic system).
Indication of business impacts
It is anticipated that the proposed amendments will impact the following stakeholders:
- Visa-exempt foreign nationals
- Travel and tourism sectors
In addition to the eTA, Canada will also implement an Interactive Advance Passenger Information (IAPI) system to screen all passengers on international flights to Canada prior to boarding. This will allow the Government to confirm with airlines (i.e. commercial transporters) whether travellers requiring an eTA are properly documented for travel to Canada and to prevent travel for those who are not.
Public consultation opportunities
CIC is considering its timetable for key stakeholder consultations with provinces and territories as well as the travel and tourism sectors.
Members of the public will also have the opportunity to provide comments when regulatory proposals are pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I.
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