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Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

What an ETA means for Criminally Inadmissible Individuals

What an ETA means for Criminally Inadmissible Individuals

Can a Criminally Inadmissible Individual Still Obtain an ETA

The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) was introduced in March of 2016 and has brought many benefits for foreign nationals coming from visa-exempt countries. The ETA system is meant to provide Immigration Canada with sufficient information prior to their arrival and provides them with an automatically pre-screening of the individual which is then verified through the immigration databases. Furthermore, once the foreign nationals are authorized to enter Canada with an ETA, they will be examined by an Immigration officer at the Canadian border. However, the circumstances can be very different for individuals with criminal inadmissibility. Therefore, in this article, I will address how to apply for an ETA, what an ETA means for individuals with criminal inadmissibility, and more.

How to Apply for an ETA

The application process for an ETA is extremely different to that of a Temporary Resident Visa, also known as a Visitor Visa. The entire application process can take no more than a couple of hours, whereas a Visitor Visa application process can take several days to complete. An ETA is specifically for individuals from foreign countries that are visa-exempt and that would like to enter Canada temporarily. It is important to note that an ETA must be received prior to travelling to Canada. In order to apply for an ETA, the applicant must provide specific documentation and information, such as:

  • A valid e-mail address
  • A valid passport from a country that is visa-exempt
  • A valid form of payment (debit, credit, etc.) in order to pay for the processing fee - The processing fee is $7.00 CAD

Please note that if you cannot complete the application electronically due to physical or mental disability, fortunately, there is a paper application that you may fill out. The application forms will require you to disclose information pertaining to their name, birthplace, birthdate, gender, address, nationality, and passport.

Once you have submitted the ETA application, you will receive a response within a couple of minutes, with either an approval or refusal. Luckily, the ETA will be linked electronically to the applicant’s passport once Immigration scans it as the border. The authorization to enter Canada with an ETA is valid for a maximum of 5 years or until the expiration of the applicant’s passport, the cancellation of the ETA or the granting of a new ETA.

Examples of Individuals Who Require an ETA

Citizens from the following countries will require an ETA prior to travelling to Canada:

  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Chile
  • France
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom

Of course there are many more countries that require an ETA and it is always important to investigate whether your particular country of origin requires an ETA or a Visa prior to travelling to Canada.

What an ETA Means for Criminally Inadmissible Individuals

An individual who has a previous criminal conviction and is deemed inadmissible to Canada will have to provide additional information with their ETA application. As a result, the application process for an ETA may be longer for individuals with inadmissibility issues. They may be requested to provide information on their convictions and the completion of their sentences as this is very important information for Immigration to know and acknowledge before allowing them entry into Canada. In addition, an individual can be deemed inadmissible for other reasons apart from criminality and these individuals will also be required to submit further information. In some cases, Immigration Canada may request an interview with the criminally inadmissible individual prior to them entering Canada.

Important Information to Know as an Individual with Criminal Inadmissibility

The ETA system was introduced to minimize any problems that occurred by turning away inadmissible travellers at the border. It is recognized by Immigration Canada that by detecting any criminal inadmissibility after the individual has already arrived at the Canadian border can bring significant consequences for that individual, such as expenses, delays and other inconveniences. Not only does this affect the individual with criminal inadmissibility, it also affects any other individuals accompanying them during their travels, as well as the Canadian border agents and the airlines, respectively.

Canadian Immigration statistics have shown that visa-exempt foreign nationals, not including American citizens, are 74% of foreign air travellers to Canada. Additionally, there was approximately 7,055 foreign nationals that arrived at a Canadian border with criminal inadmissibility.

The Canadian government is optimistic in the ETA system and state that the expenses incurred from this system will be compensated by fee revenues and additional savings from not having to process the estimated 4,500 or more travellers that are inadmissible to Canada. Hopefully this is the case as so far the ETA system has cost taxpayers approximately $165.7 million from the initial investment expenses of the system and the ongoing processing fees.

Therefore, it is extremely important for you to disclose and recognize any criminal inadmissibility prior to travelling to Canada. Please recognize that even though you are travelling to Canada with an ETA and not a Visitor Visa, you are still required to provide information of your criminal inadmissibility to Canadian Immigration prior to your travels.

Contact Akrami & Associates

It is essential that you have taken all of the aforementioned factors and information into consideration before you attempt to enter Canada with inadmissibility. If you are inadmissible to Canada and would like to apply for a Criminal Rehabilitation, it is important to note that these are difficult applications to pursue on your own. It is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit the application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients with inadmissibility gain entry into Canada as visitors. If you believe that you may be eligible for a Criminal Rehabilitation, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advise.

With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!

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