From next year, BV Islanders traveling to Canada would be required to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), which is the country’s new entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals.
The requirement will apply whether the traveler opts to use their BVI or United Kingdom passport, as both documents are visa exempted. In fact, it was reported that an eTA is required even if the traveler is transiting Canada by air.
On the other hand, it was stated that persons traveling by land or sea will not need an eTA when they enter Canada, provided they travel with proper identification.
The implementation came after amendments were made to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act through the Jobs and Growth Act. The amendments were aimed at enhancing the safety and security of Canadians and strengthening the integrity of the immigration program by introducing the requirement that foreign nationals obtain an eTA before entering Canada.
“The eTA program is a key commitment of the Canadian 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 travelers outside the North American perimeter,” the Canadian Government website stated.
It was further added: “Before traveling to Canada, ideally even before purchasing a ticket to come to Canada, travelers 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 eTA application process commenced on 1 August and eligible travelers were able to apply online. The requirement will become mandatory on 15 March, 2016, when it becomes mandatory as travelers will be required to have eTA before they can board a flight to Canada.
“Applying for an eTA is a simple online process that takes just a few minutes. You will need your passport, a credit card, and an email address. It costs $7 CAD to get an eTA and it will be valid for up to five years,” the website stated.