News report | | 03/09/2018 | ±3 minutes reading time

Starting 31 July, British nationals will not need to provide a fingerprint if they are travelling to Canada on an eTA. An eTA is a travel authorisation. This is part of the new rulings surrounding travelling to Canada. The new rules entered into effect on 31 July and apply to European travellers, travellers from the Middle-East and travellers from Africa.

Biometric data

Biometric data are data such as fingerprints or a photo. This data is used to identify people. Usage of biometric data now also applies to Asia, the Asian-Pacific region and the USA. Travellers entering on a visa exemption only need to present an eTA to enter Canada.

No fingerprint required

According to the new policy, travellers from the UK won’t need to provide a fingerprint or other biometric data, as they are exempt from applying for a visa. They only need to apply for an eTA. An eTA is a digital travel authorisation to enter Canada. With an eTA, no biometric data needs to be provided.

According to the Canadian government, this makes it easier for low-risk travellers (including Europeans) to enter the country. Which countries are exempt can be found in the eTA form.

Why provide biometric data?

Biometric data is used by Canada during different phases: both during the application and when entering. This data allows visa clerks to screen applicants. This way, people with previous convictions can be barred. The biometric data of a traveller can also be used to ascertain the identity of anyone travelling to Canada.

Travelling to Canada with an eTA

If you have the British nationality and want to travel to Canada, you need to apply for an eTA Canada beforehand. This is a mandatory travel authorisation for holidays, business trips, family visits and to study. Even if you’re only making a transit through Canada, you still need this travel authorisation. The only exception applies to holders of a Canadian or US passport, or a Canadian visa.

eTA stands for ‘electronic Travel Authorisation’. This permit can be applied for through an online form. This form is checked by the immigration service for potential safety risks. If the immigration service doesn’t see any threats to the safety of the country, the eTA will be granted. This authorisation is then immediately shared with the airline and the authorities at the airports of departure and arrival.

As this permit is shared, it is in theory not necessary to print it. However, this might still be useful. The eTA is valid for five years, but it can be prudent to keep in mind that the authorisation can expire alongside your passport. In that case, a new application is required.

You can only apply for an eTA if the travel purpose is business or tourism. This can include things like visiting family, making a transfer at a Canadian airport or studying in Canada. A business trip is therefore allowed, but you are not allowed to enter into service with a Canadian employer on an eTA. This mandatory travel authorisation can also be applied for with haste on this website. This is possible 24 hours a day, including during the weekend and on holidays. The cost for an eTA application is £ 19,95 per person.

Generally speaking, an application is processed within 72 hours. It is still wise to submit an application several weeks before departure. If you are in urgent need of an eTA Canada, you can submit an urgent application through this website. These are often approved within 18 minutes. In exceptional cases, the Canadian immigration service might need more time to assess an application. That’s why no guarantees can be provided regarding delivery times.