A simple guide to obtain the documents needed to enter Canada: when a tourist visa is needed, when the Electronic Travel Authorization is sufficient and how to obtain it. If you are going to Canada to spend your vacation you need some documents that will allow you to pass customs checks and then enter Canada. Obviously one of these is the passport, which must be valid for the duration of the stay and expire at least 6 months after your arrival on Canadian territory.
In addition to this, you will need a permit, which varies depending on the reason for your visit. There are mainly two types of permits, the classic temporary visa, or Temporary Resident Visa, and the Electronic Travel Authorization, also called Canada eTA .
The two permits are not interchangeable but you will need one or the other depending on the duration of your visit and depending on your nationality. Below we have summarized the 3 most frequent cases for Italian citizens, to help you assess your situation:
- If the stay is shorter than 90 days, you arrive by air, and you do not intend to work in Canada during your visit, then to enter Canada you will need a passport and an eTA .
- If the stay is shorter than 90 days, you will get a passport if you arrive by train, ship or bus from the USA.
- If the stay lasts more than 90 days, you will need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa, which, depending on the purpose of your visit, can be tourist, study or work.
To remove any doubt you can run the convenient wizard on the official Canadian immigration site, at this address . Answering a couple of questions will tell you if your passport is enough if you need ETA or Temporary Resident Visa .
In case you need a Temporary Resident Visa , the procedures change frequently, the number of visas can be limited and the rules to follow are very different depending on the purpose of the visa, for this reason, we will not summarize in this article the necessary procedures for get it, but we refer you to the official Canadian immigration site .
If, on the other hand, you need the eTA , read on, in the following paragraphs, we will give you all the information to get it and some useful suggestions.
What is the ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization)
The eTA is a necessary authorization for those traveling by air to Canada. This is not an actual document , the authorization will be stored by Canadian immigration systems and linked to your passport in electronic form. If you are eligible, you will simply be issued a number that you will receive by email and you can use to check at any time the status of your eTA and its expiration at this address .
The ETA allows you to stay on Canadian territory for up to 6 consecutive months, but can be reused if you decide to return to Canada in the future. It is valid for a maximum period of 5 years, or until the passport expires if it occurs before the age of 5. This means that if you have already been to Canada and your passport has expired in the meantime, you will also have to redo the ETA (in addition to your passport).