Canada’s biggest electronic travel authorizations (eTAs), faced a system collapse since expanding visa-free entry to 13 more nations. The system, which replaced Canada visa requirements for nations whose people were thought to pose a lower risk of overstaying in Canada when it was introduced in 2015, had a spike in applications this week that overloaded servers. Many passengers missed their flights; some of them faced being denied boarding and huge financial stress was caused to travelers and their families.
Overwhelming the servers was not only caused by the applicants from the 13 new eligible countries, but from rest of the applicants who were already in the eTA system. According to IRCC the biggest spike came from applicants from Philippines. IRCC failed to respond to calls and tweets due to the surge of applicants who needed help and support, making it impossible to handle all of them at once.
The Canadian ETA, or Electronic Travel Authorization, is an entry requirement for foreign nationals who are visa-exempt and traveling to Canada by air. It is an electronic document that grants individuals permission to board a flight to Canada. The ETA is linked to a traveler’s passport and is valid for a period of up to five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.
How to apply for eTA Canada?
To obtain a Canadian ETA, travelers need to complete an online application providing personal information and answering a few eligibility questions, and provide passport details from a valid passport that is from a visa-exempt country. There is a small processing fee associated with the application of only CAD$7. Once approved, the ETA is electronically linked to the traveler’s passport, eliminating the need for a physical document or visa sticker. ETA’s are valid for up to 5 years. Approval process is only few minutes, but there are cases where it can be prolonged due to submission of additional documents.
It is important to note that having an approved Canadian ETA does not guarantee entry into Canada, as travelers may still need to satisfy the immigration officer at the port of entry regarding the purpose of their visit and their compliance with Canadian immigration laws.