How to proceed if your Canadian ETA application is refused?

Following your online ETA application it is possible that you receive a refusal from the Canadian authorities. Learn about the different solutions available to you in this position to continue with your visit.

Apply for an ETA Canada

Maybe you recently completed an ETA travel authorisation application that was refused by the Canadian authorities but still wish to continue with your travel plans?  In this case and, depending on the reason for refusal, you may be entitled to apply for a traditional visa. We offer you the opportunity here to learn more about the different reasons for an ETA refusal and the procedures to follow to obtain a visa.


The major causes of an ETA visa refusal:

From your personal data and the information given in your ETA application form, the Canadian authorities have the right to refuse you entry into Canadian territory. Among the major reasons for a refusal we find the following:

  • Security reasons such as spying, subversive actions, violence or terrorism, or belonging to an organisation implicated in criminal acts.
  • Human Rights violations or acts against international law such as war crimes, crimes against humanity as well as senior officials who have committed these acts or who are under international sanctions.
  • Serious criminal offenses carrying a maximum prison sentence of at least 10 years in Canada. 
  • A court conviction, even for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Organised crime and belonging to criminal organisations, human trafficking or money laundering.
  • Health reasons when your state of health endangers public health and safety or is dependent on the health or social services apart from certain exceptions.
  • Financial reasons when you are not able to support yourself or your family.
  • False declarations in response to the questions asked in the application form that are verified by the competent authorities.
  • A relationship to a person who is inadmissible in the country.

An error made when entering your answers in the application form can also lead to a refusal of your ETA visa.


How to proceed in the case of a refusal of an ETA?

If your ETA visa has been refused for one of the reasons cited above then there is little chance that you will be able to obtain a visa which is subject to the same legislation. However, in other cases such as a longer stay, a nationality that is not eligible for this system or a simple error, you may apply for a visa to continue with your plans for a visit to Canada. 

To do so you simply need to visit the Canadian Embassy or consulate in your country of residence and request a visa application. You should then complete the application form and submit it together with the documents or other items required to the Canadian authorities there. 

 A visa application takes much longer than a simple ETA application and we therefore recommend that you leave plenty of time to prepare for your visit, particularly as extra information or a medical visit may be requested during the visa procedure.


How can I know why my ETA application was refused?

When an ETA application is refused the Canadian authorities responsible for these travel authorisations inform the applicant by sending them a refusal notification by email. This status can also be consulted on the Canadian government’s website.

However, no information will be given to you relating to the reason for the refusal and it is up to you to deduce the cause of this setback from the various examples we have given you. Knowing the reason for the ETA refusal is important as this will determine your next step in ensuring that you are able to continue with your plans to visit Canada.

For example, if your ETA application has been refused due to a simple mistake when completing the application form you should know that you can reapply by completing the procedure again online after waiting for a minimum of 10 days following the refusal notification.

If your ETA application is refused due to the incompatibility of your visit, passport or nationality with the ETA conditions then you may decide to apply for a visa which will probably be granted.

However if this refusal is due to a response in the application form you risk receiving another refusal whether you apply again for an ETA or for a visa.

In all cases it is best to safely keep a copy of the answers you have given on the online application form to enable you to check the reason for this refusal and thereby work out the best solution according to your situation without losing time in completing a pointless procedure.


The cases in which it is possible or impossible to obtain an ETA following an initial refusal:

We have just examined in detail how it is possible to complete a new ETA application after waiting for a minimum of ten days following an initial refusal of your ETA application. In the case to the contrary, it is still possible to visit Canada if your situation corresponds to the conditions for a classic visa thereby enabling you to apply for the latter. A refusal therefore does not mean that you cannot continue with your plans for a visit to Canada.

However it is clear that if you enter the same answers to the questions on the application form as before and the personal information is exactly the same as before when your application was refused then there is no reason why this second application would be approved. But if this is not the case then you may still have a chance of obtaining your travel authorisation. Let us therefore now look at the cases in which it may be practical to reapply for an ETA. 

Firstly, it may happen that through inattention you made a simple mistake when completing the ETA application form online and this mistake led to a refusal of your application. In this case obviously reapplying for an ETA, taking extra care to ensure correct answers are supplied, will probably result in the approval of your ETA application. We therefore highly recommend that you take the time necessary to carefully read, understand and reply to each of the questions asked and also carefully check your answers. It should be noted here that at the end of the application form it is recommended that you read through all your answers carefully before submitting it. This stage is particularly important as once the application form has been submitted you can no longer proceed with a simple correction and will need to complete the entire procedure again from the beginning after waiting for 10 days.

Another case that enables you to reapply and obtain an ETA visa relates to a major change in your situation between the initial and the second application. For example, if your first application was refused due to an incompatibility of your situation with the Canadian laws and regulations for entry onto Canadian territory and your situation is now compliant with those laws and regulations then you can certainly reapply online for an ETA. This is notably the case if you changed your country of residence for a member country of the system or if the reason for your visit has changed or the length of your stay is less than the 90 days maximum authorised. To summarise, if you think that you are now applicable for an ETA visa then do not hesitate to reapply directly online.

 In any case, and apart from these few cases cited above, certain other situations will unfortunately not enable you to benefit from this ETA scheme following a new application. This is notably the case if you have a criminal record that does not entitle you to enter Canadian territory or your state of health is incompatible with the laws of the country.


Is it possible to definitely obtain a visa to visit Canada following an ETA visa refusal?

After reviewing the situations that entitle you to complete a new ETA application following a refusal let us now look at the second solution that makes it possible to continue with your visit to Canada, a visa application. The fact of receiving a refusal to your ETA Electronic Travel Authorisation application does not automatically mean that you cannot obtain a visa that is adapted to your situation but again you will need to meet the applicable conditions.

For example, if you have received a refusal of your ETA application due to the length of your visit then it is likely that you will be able to obtain a visa that is specific to your visit. We would remind you here that that your visit to Canada should not exceed 90 days, or three months, to benefit from an ETA visa.

In the same way, if you wish to visit Canada for another reason other than tourism or visiting friends and family then a visa can prove to be a positive solution. Various types of visa exist for working in Canada, for studying there and others for living there permanently.

Of course, you should know that the application procedure for a visa is far more complex and often takes longer than for a simple ETA application. You will also have to complete this application online using a form that is similar to that for an ETA but you will also need to supply certain proofs of identity and documents such as a work contract in the country, a photograph or other items. Most of these documents can be sent electronically. In certain particular cases you will also be required to meet with Canadian authorities in your country of residence to explain certain parts of your visa application. It should also be noted that a visa application generally takes far longer to process than an online ETA application and there is a limit on the number of visas issued each year. It is therefore necessary to apply well in advance to ensure you have the time to prepare sufficiently for your visit.

It should also be emphasised here that nothing is guaranteed regarding obtaining a visa following this application and a refusal of your ETA visa.  In fact, the regulations to obtain this type of travel document are also very strict, sometimes even more so than for an ETA. Due to this fact, and even if you fulfil all the conditions required by the law, the Canadian authorities still have the right to deny this authorisation without the need to justify their decision by stating the reason for the refusal.

Following your ETA application online, it is possible that you receive a refusal from the Canadian authorities. Learn about the possible solutions available to you in this situation to be able to continue with your visit.

Apply for an ETA Canada