Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Electronic Travel Authorization): SOR/2023-106

Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 157, Number 12

SOR/2023-106 May 19, 2023


P.C. 2023-462 May 18, 2023

Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, under subsection 5(1) and sections 14footnote a and 26footnote b of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act footnote c, makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Electronic Travel Authorization).

Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Electronic Travel Authorization)


1 Paragraph 7(2)(d) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations footnote 1 is repealed.

2 The table to subsection 7.01(1) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Antigua and Barbuda
Costa Rica
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago

3 Subsection 7.1(1) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

Electronic travel authorization

7.1 (1) A foreign national referred to in paragraph 7(2)(a) who is exempt from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa and who is seeking to enter Canada by air to remain on a temporary basis is required to obtain an electronic travel authorization before entering Canada, unless they are exempt from that requirement under subsection (3).

4 (1) Subsection 12.05(1) of the Regulations is amended by striking out “or” at the end of paragraph (c), by adding “and” at the end of paragraph (d) and by adding the following after paragraph (d):

(2) Subsection 12.05(2) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:


(2) Paragraph (1)(d) does not apply to an electronic travel authorization that is issued in respect of a machine-readable passport that contains a contactless integrated circuit chip and that is issued by Romania.

Coming into Force

5 These Regulations come into force at 05:30:00 a.m. EST on June 6, 2023.


(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)


The current initiative seeks to (a) partially lift the visa requirement on eligible, lower-risk air travellers from 13 countries; (b) implement a travel document cancellation authority to protect the integrity of the immigration program; and (c) make an administrative change with respect to Romanian travellers.

Canada’s current approach to visa policy is largely based on nationality: visitors from most countries are required to obtain a visa — a requirement that applies to all nationals. This means that lower risk, “known” travellers, including repeat visitors who have undergone previous screening, must undergo the same screening as potentially higher-risk individuals. This nationality-based approach to visitor screening is effective at managing borders and safeguarding public safety, but can be overly broad in application. All countries have both higher-risk and lower-risk citizens with a growing demand for travel.

The ability to partially lift the visa requirement on a country’s known travellers offers streamlined client service and a faster, simpler, fully digital application process to a group of highly mobile and lower-risk travellers, by allowing them to apply for an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). This positions Canada to keep pace with client volumes and expectations for efficient, digital processing by reducing the number of people who require a visa to come to Canada.

Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), eTAs issued to travellers from visa exempt countries are cancelled when the status of that country is changed; for example, if a visa requirement is reimposed, all eTAs are invalid as of the date the requirement takes effect. However, for countries where a partial visa requirement is in place, if a full visa is reimposed, there is no authority to invalidate eTAs. This means that, despite a full visa reimposition, eTAs issued to travellers who are no longer eligible for this document remain valid for the full five-year period or until the holder’s passport expires, whichever comes first.

Following changes to Romania’s visa status, provisions were added to the IRPR to ensure that existing eTAs remained valid. As a result, authorizations issued to Romanian nationals before December 2017 remain valid in Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) Global Case Management System (GCMS), despite the country becoming fully visa exempt. All applicable eTAs have now expired, and the provisions are no longer relevant nor applicable.


In April 2015, the IRPR were amended to support the introduction of the eTA program. The eTA became a mandatory requirement for entry to Canada on March 15, 2016. An eTA is an electronic document requirement for visa-exempt air travellers to Canada. Apart from limited exemptions, such as U.S. citizens, all visa-exempt air travellers are required to apply online for an eTA by providing basic biographical and passport information, and by answering a series of questions to determine admissibility. The eTA requirement vastly expanded the number of visitors screened prior to travel to Canada, thus improving the safety of Canadians and the integrity of the immigration system. An eTA costs 7 CAD and, if approved, is valid for five years or until the holder’s passport expires, whichever occurs first.

In 2017, the IRPR were amended to extend eTA eligibility to a subset of Bulgarian, Romanian, and Brazilian nationals. At the time, these countries were visa-required. Under this initiative, referred to as extended eTA eligibility, a select portion of eligible travellers flying to Canada from these visa-required countries could apply for an eTA instead of a visitor’s visa.

To be eligible for extended eTA eligibility, an applicant must be travelling by air and have held a Canadian visitor visa within the 10 years prior to their application or hold a valid U.S. visitor visa at the time of their application. Eligible travellers are considered lower risk and “known” because they have been successfully screened by Canada or the United States, a trusted partner. The eligibility of most applicants is automatically confirmed during the application process, by either checking previous Canadian visa holders against immigration records or using an information-sharing connection with the United States to verify U.S. visa validity; an eTA is then generated within minutes. A small percentage of applicants are referred to an officer for review to reconcile identity or to assess adverse information.

On December 1, 2017, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals became visa exempt for travel to Canada; therefore, Brazil remains the only country whose nationals enjoy extended eTA eligibility.

In 2018, the Government of Canada limited Romania’s visa exemption to travellers holding electronic passports. The eTAs issued to Romanians with non-electronic passports after the visa exemption were invalidated, with the exception of eTAs issued between May and November 2017, since these individuals held previous Canadian visas or valid U.S. visas, and eTAs held by U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents.

Targeted regulatory amendments were made to the IRPR to allow Romanians who did not have an electronic passport, but held a valid eTA, to continue holding and using these travel authorizations.

Evaluations show that extended eTA eligibility has been successful in facilitating travel from lower-risk nationals within a visa-required population. Overall, there was nearly a 40% total increase in travel from Brazil to Canada between 2016–2017 and 2019–2020.


Extended eTA eligibility is consistent with the Government of Canada’s commitments to improve service delivery for visitors. Based on the documented success to date in Brazil, extended eTA eligibility in new markets can increase the number of mobile, lower-risk travellers who enjoy streamlined client service and a faster, simpler, fully digital application process. Widening rapid, automated pathways for lower-risk travellers will strategically position Canada to reap the benefits of increased tourism to rebuild a strong economy.

With a greater number of eligible, lower-risk air travellers applying for a light-touch eTA, resources can be reallocated to serving other clients along with more complex visitor visa cases.

The implementation of a new cancellation authority aims to maximize efficiency for IRCC in effectively managing risk by allowing IRCC to cancel eTAs en masse if a visa imposition is necessary for a sub-population that enjoys extended eTA eligibility. It will also create a more coherent regulatory framework, as the amendment mirrors a cancellation authority currently in place for countries that are removed from visa-exempt status (i.e. a visa is reimposed).

Removing the provisions referring to eTAs issued to Romanian citizens with non-electronic passports before December 1, 2017, in the IRPR would eliminate a now obsolete exception for this traveller population.


The amendment adds the following 13 countries to the list of visa-required countries eligible for an eTA in the IRPR: the Seychelles, Panama, Uruguay, Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Thailand, the Philippines, Morocco, and Costa Rica. The amendment allows nationals from these countries travelling to Canada by air to apply for an eTA instead of a visa if they have held a Canadian visitor visa in the 10 years prior to their application, or hold a valid U.S. visitor visa at the time of application.

An additional amendment will end the validity period of eTAs issued to nationals of a visa-required country that is removed from the list of countries eligible for extended eTA eligibility. In that case, eTAs issued to nationals of that country would only remain valid if the country is added to the list of visa exempt countries.

Obsolete references to Romanian travellers in the IRPR are removed, given that the criteria and populations referred to in these sections no longer apply.

Regulatory development


IRCC consulted with internal and external partners, including Public Safety Canada and its portfolio agencies (Canada Border Services Agency [CBSA], Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Canadian Security Intelligence Service), Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, and Global Affairs Canada throughout the development of the initiative.

IRCC has also engaged with Canada’s air industry stakeholders through ongoing mechanisms such as governance tables and working groups. The air industry strongly advocates for growth of extended eTA eligibility as a way to facilitate access to Canada, not just as a destination of choice, but as a connection hub for transiting traffic; this increased connectivity is equally valuable to airlines, airports, and clients. Canada’s tourism industry stakeholders were also consulted in the development of the initiative.

Due to the shared responsibility to secure the North American perimeter, and the reliance of extended eTA eligibility on the U.S. visitor visa, Canada consulted with the United States as part of the country assessment process.

General consultation with the public on this initiative was not pursued, in alignment with the approach taken with respect to changes in immigration screening requirements.

Modern treaty obligations and Indigenous engagement and consultation

No modern treaty implications are anticipated because Indigenous peoples in Canada are not directly impacted by the initiative. These amendments focus on the admissibility to Canada of foreign nationals.

Instrument choice

The IRPR require that all foreign nationals entering Canada on a temporary basis hold an eTA or a visa unless otherwise exempted. Therefore, no instruments other than regulations were considered.

Regulatory analysis

Benefits and costs

An important first step in developing a cost-benefit methodology is establishing a baseline scenario against which options may be measured. For this analysis, the baseline scenario is one where all travellers from the above-mentioned 13 countries would be required to obtain a visa to enter Canada, unless otherwise exempt. The baseline scenario is then compared with the regulatory scenario, in which eligible travellers from these 13 countries are subject to extended eTA eligibility.

The costs and benefits of extending eTA eligibility were monetized for 10 periods of 12 months (2023 to 2032), and all monetized costs and benefits are expressed in 2022 dollars. Changes with respect to cancellation authorities for eTA and the administrative change with respect to Romanian travellers are not expected to result in any costs and, therefore, have not been quantified for the purpose of the cost-benefit analysis. For further details regarding the methodology, a detailed cost-benefit analysis report is available upon request at the following email address:

The regulatory amendments are estimated to cost $19,849,959 in present value (PV) over the 10 periods. These costs will be incurred by the Government of Canada and include government implementation costs, costs to expand information technology connections, as well as port of entry inspections and possible inland enforcement costs from increased volumes of arrivals due to travel facilitation. The total benefits are estimated at $159,405,913 PV over the 10 periods and consist of additional tourism spending from visitors that would not have come to Canada if extended eTA eligibility was not implemented. The total net benefit of the regulatory amendments is therefore estimated at $139,555,953 (PV).

It should be noted that there will be no incremental costs to the Government of Canada from the processing of additional eTA applications, as this process is fully recovered from foreign nationals through the eTA application fee. Similarly, while the Government of Canada would no longer be processing Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs) for those who qualify for an eTA under this new initiative, the corresponding TRV revenue loss would be fully offset by the reduction in TRV processing. As both eTA and TRV fees are fully cost recovered, any loss of fee revenue is offset by the processing cost savings, thereby resulting in a neutral impact on the Government.

Minimal costs to the air industry are expected, as the infrastructure for processing eTA travellers is already in place, therefore only minor employee guidance activities are expected. IRCC has regularly engaged the air industry on extended eTA eligibility. Support remains strong for the program.

Air travellers who will be incentivized to visit Canada due to extended eTA eligibility are a key variable in the cost-benefit analysis. In estimating the number of incentivized travellers, IRCC established a forecast model comparing overall travel volume to Canada with travel volumes from countries that were granted a visa exemption or participation in eTA in the last 10 years.footnote 2 When compared to all non-resident visitor travel volumes, countries that underwent a requirement change saw an average travel volume increase of 20% in the first year, and a 20% increase again in the second year. Data for the third and fourth years following a change in requirements is limited, as volumes from most countries in the sample were impacted by border restrictions related to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Data for applicable countries suggest a 15% average increase in the third year, and a 10% average increase in the fourth year. For the fifth year, data from only two countries is applicable, due to COVID-19 border restrictions. Based on these two countries, a 5% increase in travel volume is expected in the fifth year and assumed to stay constant for subsequent periods of analysis. It is therefore estimated that there would be approximately 217 897 incentivized travellers visiting Canada in the analysis period.

Eligible travellers are expected to represent a low risk in terms of asylum claims upon arrival to Canada, as illustrated by Brazilian visitors benefiting from extended eTA eligibility since 2017 and historical asylum claim rates from similar populations in the countries included in this expansion initiative; therefore, no additional asylum enforcement costs are estimated for cost-benefit analysis purposes.

Costs to Government

Transition and ongoing government costs: IRCC would incur costs of $4,404,392 PV over the 10 periods. These costs include transition and ongoing costs, such as program planning and implementation, communications, corporate support, and costs to maintain the eTA program. The CBSA would also incur transition and ongoing costs estimated at $13,337,206 PV over the 10 periods. These costs consist of officer training, program management and oversight, risk assessment activities, and bilateral relations support.

Enforcement costs: The Government of Canada would incur enforcement costs as a result of higher processing volumes at airports, and subsequent enforcement costs for travellers that may be found inadmissible after entry. Due to the sensitive nature of enforcement data, it is not possible to provide detailed estimates or data points. The total enforcement costs to the Government of Canada are estimated at $2,108,361 over 10 periods. These include the following:


Tourism spending benefits: By easing mobility restrictions, it is expected that Canada will see an increase in air travel volumes from the 13 countries (217 897 incentivized travellers in 10 periods). Overall, the program’s faster and more affordable processing will act as a lucrative alternative to the visa screening process, attracting both new and repeat travellers. The benefits of the regulatory amendments are quantified in the form of additional tourism spending that will be generated from extended eTA eligibility, benefiting the tourism industry, and the Canadian economy as a whole. This analysis assumes that, on average, visitors from these 13 countries would spend $1,158 per trip,footnote 3 resulting in a total tourism benefit of $159,405,913 (PV) over the 10 periods.

Other benefits: Qualitative benefits include improved overall integrity of the visa program due to a shift in workload for IRCC visa officers from lower-risk application processing to focusing on more complex visa applications, increased business and trade opportunities due to easier access for lower-risk business travellers, as well as strengthened bilateral relationships. In the long term, Canadians and persons residing in Canada will also reap benefits from extended eTA eligibility, as a simplified process for eligible foreign nationals may facilitate visits from their family and friends.

Cost-benefit statement
Table 1: Monetized costs
Impacted stakeholder Description of cost Base year (period 1) Other relevant year (period 5) Final year (period 10) Total (present value) Annualized value
Government Transition $1,169,388 $0 $0 $1,169,388 $166,495
Government Ongoing $2,686,299 $2,282,045 $2,282,045 $16,572,210 $2,359,510
Government Enforcement costs $396,354 $167,631 $167,631 $2,108,361 $300,183
All stakeholders Total costs $4,252,042 $2,449,677 $2,449,677 $19,849,959 $2,826,188
Table 2: Monetized benefits
Impacted stakeholder Description of benefit Base year (period 1) Other relevant year (period 5) Final year (period 10) Total (present value) Annualized value
Canada Incentivized tourism spending $30,098,834 $12,589,630 $12,589,630 $159,405,913 $22,695,816
All stakeholders Total benefits $30,098,834 $12,589,630 $12,589,630 $159,405,913 $22,695,816
Table 3: Summary of monetized costs and benefits
Impacts Base year (period 1) Other relevant year (period 5) Final year
(period 10)
Total (present value) Annualized value
Total costs $4,252,042 $2,449,677 $2,449,677 $19,849,959 $2,826,188
Total benefits $30,098,834 $12,589,630 $12,589,630 $159,405,913 $22,695,816
NET IMPACT $25,846,792 $10,139,954 $10,139,954 $139,555,953 $19,869,628
Quantified (non-$) and qualitative impacts

Positive impacts

Negative impacts

Small business lens

Analysis under the small business lens concluded that the Regulations will not impact Canadian small businesses.

One-for-one rule

The one-for-one rule does not apply to this initiative, as there will be no change in administrative costs to businesses.

Regulatory cooperation and alignment

While this initiative is not related to any work plan or commitment under a formal regulatory cooperation forum, it is partly based on, and will benefit from, cooperation with the United States, since extended eTA eligibility relies on the information-sharing agreement established to confirm U.S. visitor visa validity.

Strategic environmental assessment

In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, a preliminary scan concluded that a strategic environmental assessment is not required.

Gender-based analysis plus (GBA+)

The gender and diversity impacts of extending eTA eligibility are expected to be minimal. While extending eTA eligibility is not expected to create or exacerbate gender or diversity concerns, available program data will be closely monitored on an ongoing basis to identify and address any potential for impacts in the future.

Implementation, compliance and enforcement, and service standards


IRCC will implement these changes in June 2023. IRCC has worked with internal and external partners to ensure that coordination and communication related to the implementation of extended eTA eligibility to 13 new countries are priorities. Key implementation activities include information technology system changes and testing to grant extended eTA eligibility to nationals from the 13 new countries, engagement with key stakeholders, as well as the dissemination of communications products such as news releases, and website content for applicants. Upon coming into force, eligible travellers from the Seychelles, Panama, Uruguay, Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Thailand, the Philippines, Morocco and Costa Rica would immediately be able to apply for an eTA online.

To assess whether the program consistently captures and facilitates a lower-risk cohort, performance of the program will be assessed to capture risks and benefits. IRCC and the CBSA will monitor the efficacy of this regulatory amendment to ensure the required system changes are properly in place and to determine if new issues or challenges emerge as a result. Analysis of these outcomes will determine whether any future amendments would be appropriate or necessary. Ongoing communication between Government and air industry will also ensure that any issues or concerns are acted upon.

Engagement with Romania will be undertaken prior to the coming into force of these Regulations to confirm the non-substantive nature of the amendments to Romanian officials, and provide assurance that Romanian nationals will not be subject to changes to travel document requirements or new requirements.


Erin Cato
Senior Director
Admissibility Branch
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
180 Kent Street, 8th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1