Traditionally, foreign travelers must obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). Visitor visas are not immigration-based visas, and strictly for people interested in traveling to Canada on a short-term basis. American citizens or people with pre-existing Canadian visas are able to travel to Canada without the need for a traveler’s visa. Those who are not American citizen’s or currently in possession of a Canadian visa will likely need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before entering Canada – often before boarding their airplane or means of transportation into Canada.
It’s important to note that you are not required to obtain both an ETA and TRV. An ETA is only required for visa-exempt travelers. Nationals from countries that are not currently visa-exempt must apply and be accepted for a TRV. TRV’s are issued outside of Canada by representatives of Canada’s immigration office.
Visa-exempt travelers trying to obtain an ETA must pay a processing fee of 7 CAD in order for the ETA to be issued. ETA’s are valid for five years from the day of issue.