Travellers going to Canada need to deal with extra security measures compared to trips to a Schengen Area country. Travelling to a Schengen Area country from the UK is a lot easier, as British citizens can travel through European countries without a visa for up to 90 days. Similarly, while Ireland has opted out of the Schengen Agreement, they likewise only need to present their passport when visiting European countries. Presenting your passport at the airport is then enough to confirm your boarding pass through the automated systems at the various airports. But if you are travelling to Canada, you are moving out of the Schengen Area. Not only will you need to possess a valid passport, you also need to have an eTA Canada.
Going to Canada: the passport check
If you still have a passport that does not have a chip, you will need to go through the old-fashioned passport check. Travellers that have a modern passport that has a digital chip can save time by going through the so-called eGate. In both cases, you also need to have a boarding pass and present it to customs at the airport. Your passport and boarding pass will be ran through the electronic database, and you will also be checked for an eTA Canada. Why this is required will be explained shortly.
Through the passport check
At some airports, holders of a EU passport with a chip do not need to join the long queue for the passport check. They can quickly and easily pass through the eGate. You will then only need to scan the boarding pass and the passport. The eGate is only valid for people that are sixteen years or older. Otherwise, you still need to take your passport to a desk.
This also applies if you are travelling with underage children. Aside from the passports of both the parents and children, the customs employees at the airport will also require written consent if both parents are not travelling along. Furthermore, all passengers must possess an eTA Canada (read more about the eTA form). As is becoming obvious, a number of preparations need to be made before going on your trip.
Travelling to Canada? A visa or eTA is mandatory!
When travelling to Canada, keep in mind that this country has made visas mandatory for foreign visitors. For British and Irish travellers, this means that they need to apply for an eTA Canada. An eTA Canada is a digital travel permit from the Canadian government. It gives the traveller permission to travel to the country. However, it is not an explicit confirmation that they will be able to actually enter the country. This is up to the Canadian immigration service to decide.
Keep in mind that applying for an eTA Canada takes time. The application itself only takes about five minutes, but the processing time can be up to 72 hours. If you do not possess a valid Canada visa, you cannot go to this country. You will be stopped by airport security if you try to do so.
Applying for an eTA Canada
An eTA can be easily applied for through the website of e-Visa.co.uk. It is important that you carefully write down the passport information during the application. Travelling with an identity card (ID-card) is not possible. Make sure that the passport has sufficient remaining validity left. Maintain a validity term of about six months. It is also possible to submit an urgent application. The visa is then generally issued after 18 minutes. Applying for an eTA Canada costs £19.95 per person. It is possible to submit a group application, where you only have to pay once instead of paying for each visa separately. The Canadian immigration service can take more time to assess an application. Apply for an eTA Canada on time!
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.