New entry requirement now in effect
Visa-exempt foreign nationals need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada. Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, and Canadian permanent residents cannot apply for an eTA.
The leniency period that allows travellers to board their flight without an eTA ends soon.
Be prepared: Apply for an eTA before you book your flight to Canada. Most applicants get approved within minutes. However, some applications can take several days to process so don’t wait until the last minute.
To visit Canada, you will need to meet some basic requirements, such as:
- have a valid travel document, such as a passport,
- be in good health,
- have no criminal or immigration-related convictions,
- convince an immigration officer that you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take you back to your home country,
- convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit, and
- have enough money for your stay. (The amount of money you will need can vary. It depends on things such as how long you will stay, and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives.)
You may also need a:
In addition to the basic requirements, most visitors need a valid entry document. Find out if you need an eTA or a visa.
Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
As of March 15, 2016, travellers with passports from eTA-required countries who enter Canada by air will need an eTA.
The authorization is electronically linked to your passport and is valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
Applying for an eTA is a simple and inexpensive ($7 Canadian) online process that will take just a few minutes. Most eTA-eligible applicants will get their authorization within minutes of submitting the online form.
If you need an eTA, you should:
- get it when you plan your trip – do not wait for the last minute to apply (see Travel documents), and
- travel to Canada with the passport you used to get your eTA.
Find out if you need an eTA.
Key eTA exemptions
U.S. citizens do not need an eTA to enter Canada. See the full list of exemptions.
Travellers with passports from visa-required countries and territories need a visitor visa (temporary resident visa) to enter Canada.
A visa is an official document that is inserted inside a passport giving permission for you to come to Canada.
Conditions of a visa
There are two types: a single-entry visa and a multiple-entry visa. Both are valid for a fixed period and cannot be used after they expire.
A multiple-entry visa allows visitors to come and go from Canada, usually for six months at a time, without having to reapply. It is valid for up to 10 years, or one month before your passport expires, whichever comes first. You must arrive in Canada on or before the expiry date on your visa.
A single-entry visa allows you to come to Canada only once. After you leave Canada, excluding travel to the United States and St. Pierre and Miquelon, you will need a new visa to travel back to Canada.
Find out if you need a visa.
When travelling to Canada, you always need to carry proper travel documents and identification for yourself and any children travelling with you.
Transport companies, such as airlines, must make sure you have proper, valid travel documents. If you do not have the proper documents, you may be delayed or unable to board the plane.
The following travel documents are not considered reliable. You cannot use them to enter Canada:
- passports supposedly issued by Somalia,
- non-machine readable passports issued by the Czech Republic,
- temporary passports issued by the Republic of South Africa and
- provisional passports issued by Venezuela.
Permanent residents of Canada
If you are a permanent resident of Canada you must show your permanent resident card when you re-enter Canada on a commercial vehicle, such as an airplane, boat, train or bus. If you return to Canada in a private vehicle, such as your car, there are other documents you can use.
If you plan to leave Canada, check your card’s expiry date to make sure that it will still be valid when you return. Most cards are valid for five years.
As always, if you are a permanent resident of Canada and a citizen of a visa-exempt country or a citizen of a visa-required country, you need to travel with your Canadian permanent resident (PR) card or permanent resident travel document when flying to Canada. Otherwise, you may not be able to board your flight to Canada.
If you are in Canada and do not currently have a permanent resident card, find out how to apply for a permanent resident card.
If you are outside Canada and do not have a PR card or your card is expired, find out how to apply for a permanent resident travel document.
To note, Canadian permanent residents who are also citizens of a visa-exempt country are not eligible to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) as eTA was set up to screen foreigners for admissibility to enter Canada.
Some people are inadmissible—they are not allowed to come to Canada. Several things can make you inadmissible, including involvement in criminal activity, in human rights violations or in organized crime.
You can also be inadmissible for security, health or financial reasons. Find out more about inadmissibility.
Top questions about visiting Canada
- How long can I stay in Canada as a visitor?
- Do I need a Canadian visa if I have a United States visa?
- What is the difference between a single and a multiple entry visa?
- Why was I issued a single entry visa instead of a multiple entry visa?
- How do I help a family member or friend apply to visit Canada?
- I have U.S. residency (Green Card). Do I need a visa to visit Canada or can I use my Green Card?
- See all questions about this topic
Find out if you are eligibleCome to Canada
How-to videoA Step-by-step look at biometrics
- Date Modified: