News report | | 29/10/2018 | ±4 minutes reading time

The Canadian CBSA utilizes commercial databases containing information about the DNA of persons, in order to find out where an immigrant or traveller is coming from. These DNA databases are maintained by commercial parties.

It is not (yet) mandatory for travellers headed to Canada on a holiday to give up DNA. This means tha for travellers journeying on an eTA Canada, nothing changes. Furthermore, CBSA will never use DNA as a standard tool to establish the identity of travellers or migrants. This is only reserved for those cases where all other methods have failed.

eTA Canada: Give up DNA?

Those who possess an eTA Canada, have a digital travel permit to enter the country. To travel to Canada, all you need is to apply for this mandatory e-visa Canada. Other than that, it is not necessary to hand over, for instance, fingerprints or other biometric data. The same holds for DNA.

How often CBSA uses the databases containing the DNA information of third parties, CBSA will not disclose. Furthermore, travellers and migrants need to first provide permission to share their DNA in an online database. The information is stored in commercial databases, if they agree to voluntarily give up their genetic information.

It’s rumored that the DNA databases contain the genetic information of millions of people. A well-known database that Canada uses is 23andMe. That database holds the information of over five million persons. A large investor in DNA databases is GlaxoSmithKline.

DNA test was supposed to provide clarity

The revelation that Canada uses commercial DNA databases comes after a statement concerning an investigation as to the background of a certain migrant. The migrant was arrested four years ago for having a fake passport, but was unwilling to provide any further information on his background. The man also refused to cooperate with a DNA investigation, which resulted in him being imprisoned. After several years, the man decided to cooperate.

The man claimed to have a passport from France. It became clear later that this was a fake passport. Next, the traveller said he came from Guinee, but that country revealed that the birth certificate was likewise false. Finally, the CBSA checked the Facebook account of the traveller. It was revealed that he mainly had friends from Gambia. As such, CBSA assumed he came was also from Gambia.

By using a commercial DNA website, Canada tried to confirm that the man was in fact from Gambia, which would allow them to deport him to Gambia. The case is still pending, and the man is still in custody.

More information of travellers

Canada had previously announced that the country would be gathering more information of migrants and asylum seekers. Foreign travellers that want to apply for a temporary visa need to provide fingerprints. As it stands, this is not required when submitting a Canada eTA application.

Foreigners that wish to apply for a work permit or student visa at least need have fingerprint taken. Canada implemented this measure to curb the large influx of asylum seekers. Since 2017, thirty thousand migrants have moved from the USA to Canada.

Canada eTA application

A Canada eTA application can be easily submitted online. This means that no other steps need to be taken before getting on the plane to Canada. Applying for an eTA Canada is an absolute must. eTA stands for ‘Electronic Travel Authorization’, and is a digital document in which the Canadian government provides the traveller with permission to enter the country.

The eTA is mandatory for British travellers. It is important to have arranged your eTA before going to the airport. You will be asked for your passport and the eTA during boarding. It is forbidden for airlines to take along travellers that don’t have their paperwork in order. if they do take them along, the airline can be fined by the Canadian government.

Avoid letdowns and apply for the eTA Canada in advance. Applying can be done 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Filling in the eTA form takes about 5 minutes. Make sure that all provided information is correct. Check the information closely; any typing errors could lead to the eTA Canada being declared invalid. Applying for this online travel permit costs £19.95 per person.

Urgent eTA Canada application

Forgot to apply for an eTA Canada? Submit an urgent application. Generally speaking, regular application are processed within 72 hours. With urgent application, this gets shortened to as little as 18 minutes. The Canadian immigration service performs checks by hand, meaning that in exceptional cases it take a few days before the application is processed. Always apply for an eTA several weeks before departure.

Take note: this news article about the eTA for Canada is more than one year old. It might contain outdated information and advice, and no rights can therefore be derived from this article. Are you going on a trip soon and do you wish to do know what rules currently apply? Read all about the up-to-date information about the eTA for Canada.