Canadian citizens travelling to the UK from 2024 should know about the new Electronic Travel Authorisation to avoid problems at the border points. Currently, Canada is a non-visa nation, and travellers are permitted to enter the UK without any additional permissions. However, with the new UK ETA for Canada, Canadians entering the UK should seek permission by applying for an ETA before they get to the airport. Here is a comprehensive guide to help Canadian citizens navigate the new ETA system and obtain the ETA for their UK visit.
What Is the UK ETA for Canadian Citizens?
The British Home Office is planning to introduce an entry permit for foreigners from non-visa nations. The electronic travel authorisation is similar to the Canadian ETA programme, which requires foreigners to seek permission before travelling to Canada. The UK ETA for Canadian citizens will be rolled out by 2024, and travellers to the UK will need to seek advance permission to visit the country.
All Canadian citizens can apply for the new UK ETA since the country has a visa waiver agreement with the UK, allowing citizens from Canada to travel to the United Kingdom without a visa. Travellers wishing to visit the UK for a short stay can apply for the ETA as long as they don’t intend to work in the UK.
The new UK ETA for Canadian citizens is part of an elaborate plan to digitise the country’s borders and get additional information about visitors passing through its borders. With the current situation, visitors from visa-exempt countries can enter the country from any entry point without restrictions. Border authorities cannot assess risks posed by the visitors before their travel, making border control challenges.
The ETA system allows UK authorities to assess the risks of travellers traversing the country. It also makes it easier for the UK to determine the number of visitors entering or leaving the country. The UK ETA system will block threats from entering the country and provide travellers and carriers with advance permission about their ability to enter the UK instead of stopping them at the border. Carriers may be required to check if a traveller has the ETA before they board a plane from Canada to the UK.
The UK ETA for Canadian Citizens Application Process
While the UK is still finalising the fine details of the new ETA system, information on eligibility for the ETA and the application requirements have been released. All 92 countries with non-visa requirements, including Canada, are eligible to apply for an ETA. The new ETA will permit Canadian nationals to experience the UK’s cultural heritage and tour its various cities. Aside from travelling to the UK for tourism, the ETA also permits Canadian citizens to visit family or relatives in the UK or for business purposes.
ETA holders from Canada can also undertake short-term studies in the UK or undergo medical treatment. For all other reasons for visiting the UK, like residing longer than six months or working in the country, travellers should obtain an appropriate visa.
Canadian citizens can apply for the ETA online. Some basic ETA requirements include the following:
• Biometric passport: Canadian citizens can use their biometric passports to apply for travel permission online.
• Personal details: Travellers should provide personal information, including name, date of birth and address.
• Travel details: Before travelling to the UK, Canadians must provide the purpose of their travel. Whether visiting for tourism, business or study, the reasons should be stated in the application process. Travellers should also indicate the duration of their stay and the address of the host or hotel they will stay in.
• Valid email address: Travellers need to provide a valid email address to which the approved ETA confirmation code will be sent before the travel date.
• Debit/credit card: When applying for the UK ETA for Canada, travellers must pay the application fee.
It is important to confirm the information and ensure that all details are accurate during the application process. Any errors could result in delayed processing or rejection of the ETA application.
Canadian citizens must disclose their criminal records and answer any questions about their past. Visitors who have committed immigration offences in the past should also disclose those details. Other possible questions could include previous membership of a proscribed organisation. The information a traveller provides determines their security risk and could impact the approval of the ETA. Visitors deemed as security threats will be denied an ETA and entry into the UK.
Processing the UK ETA for Canada
Filling out the UK ETA application form takes ten to fifteen minutes. When a traveller submits the application and pays the necessary fees, the processing takes 48-72 hours. During the verification stage, the UK government reviews the application and ensures the information provided is correct. A traveller’s criminal record is also ascertained to ensure they aren’t a threat to the UK.
After the approval, travellers receive a confirmation email from the application system. Visitors don’t need to provide proof of the ETA at the borders. A scan of the passport used to apply for the ETA will show the travel permit.
Dual nationals or Canadians with multiple passports should use the passport used in the ETA registration to enter the UK. Arriving in the UK with a different passport — not connected to a valid electronic travel authorisation — could lead to the denial of entry.
Canadian citizens can use the UK ETA for six months. When the period lapses, the validity of the ETA expires, and travellers need to seek a new travel permit to travel to the UK. Additional details for Canadian travellers can be found in the UK FAQ.
Travelling Using the UK ETA for Canadian Citizens
The new UK ETA for Canadian citizens provides multiple benefits. For instance, seeking prior travel permission helps travellers plan their stay in advance. Visitors are guaranteed entry into the country instead of being returned to the border. The UK also has four constituent countries, and a single ETA gives you the freedom to travel between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Travellers don’t require additional paperwork or forms since they can scan their passports at the borders.
Reasons for Canadians to Visit the UK
Canada is a commercial partner of the United Kingdom, and travellers from Canada visit the country for various reasons. Some Canadians visit for business, to attend conferences and business meetings, or for pleasure to tour historical landmarks in the UK. Canadians are also known to visit the UK for short-term studies and medical treatments.