On April 1, 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada published regulations implementing its Electronic Travel Authorization ("eTA") program. The regulations initially required eTAs to be mandatory as of March 15, 2016. Fortunately, the new Liberal Government has decided to delay the enforcement of the eTA requirement until Fall 2016 (no exact end date has been announced) by implementing a "leniency period." During the leniency period, visa-exempt foreign nationals who do not have an eTA will still be permitted to enter Canada as long as they have appropriate travel documents, such as a valid passport. Nevertheless, visa-exempt foreign nationals are encouraged to obtain an eTA as soon as possible.
Electronic Travel Authorization
As explained in our earlier article, starting on March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air will require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Air carriers will be checking travellers and passengers who do not have an eTA or do not qualify for an exemption will not be permitted to board the aircraft. Government has now released further details about the eTA system as outlined below.
On December 7, 2011, US President Obama and Canada's Prime Minister Harper released their Beyond the Border Action Plan, which discusses their shared vision for perimeter security. In furtherance of this objective, the plan proposes several immigration-related initiatives.