ESTA or eTA?

13-02-2018 16:12, by

Traveling to Canada and not sure what the difference between an ESTA and an eTA is? It’s is pretty simple and not much to worry about.

What do I need if I want to go to Canada you ask, well if you are only traveling to Canada you require an eTA. Don’t get this confused with the ESTA, although they are similar they are "visas" or travel authorizations for two different countries. The ESTA is for traveling to the USA, if you have applied for an ESTA and try to board a flight to Toronto CA they will send you packing! Best to make sure that you have applied for the right travel document. What if you go travel to the USA then Canada? You have guessed correctly, both and eTA and ESTA are required. 


Like most countries Canada requires tourists to apply for a “visa” in some description. Most people are eligible for an eTA which stands for electronic travel authorization, it is unfortunately it is a mandatory document and you will be unable to board your flight without it. We always recommend you apply for your eTA at least 7 days in advance, there is the option to apply for an emergency procedure but as you can imagine a lot of stress and rules will have to be followed. Who has time for that right?  Better to be safe than sorry I always say and get the annoying paperwork out of the way as soon as you can.


What if I have a transfer? 90% of the time you will require both an eTa and an ESTA. If you are flying to Canada and have to transfer via America you have to not only have a valid ESTA ,but also be sure that you have successfully applied and received your eTA for Canada before you even board that second flight.If you have a transfer via Canada, the rules may be slightly different. You still have to have a valid eTA and ESTA in most cases even if you stay in the airport. The difference comes in if the plane is only refueling. If this is the case and you don’t leave the air craft then no eTA is required only your ESTA. Good to know right?!

How on earth do I apply, it's getting too confusing with all these forms and what have you! It can be confusing as with any government product. Both the eTA and ESTA can be applied for online and no paper required (save the trees!) So to be clear, for trips to the USA you must complete the ESTA. For trips to Canada you should complete an eTA form. If you are having a layover in either America or Canada you must complete both of these applications. Your application will usually be processed within one hour and the authorization email will be sent to your preferred account. As everything is applied for online and in the digital world, you do not need to print out the authorization. Your airline will check for your authorization to fly in a central data base, even less worry to have on the day you fly.


So go ahead book that flight to Canada, or the US! As you can see the paperwork is easy as pie! 


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