Let me start by saying that there is considerable blame here that falls on our own shoulders. That’s a given, but at the same time, as someone who travels weekly getting required Visas all the time, I never thought that a US or UK citizen would have any issue getting into Canada for three days, by air, from the US.

It’s The eTA Program…

Laura (a UK citizen and US permanent resident) and I traveled to Toronto just over a year ago, checked the visa requirements and found that there was nothing more than a passport needed for entry. The UK and Canada have a strong, long standing immigration partnership and the thought of anything changing never crossed my mind when we arrived at Seattle Airport yesterday. At check in we were told that Laura would be ineligible to fly until she received an eTA, an electronic travel visa from the Canadian Government, a requirement which just took effect in the final months of 2016.

The eTA Is Required for British, French And Australian Citizens, Among Others…

The good news here is that while standing at the check in desk we were able to complete an online application and have it approved within five minutes, with a whopping cost of $7 Canadian, or about $5 USD. The bad news is that we almost missed our flight, because the check in agents were equally puzzled, and tried to assess whether their computer was wrong or if a policy had changed. That in itself is a sign of a poorly implemented law.

The eTA is A Cash Grab For The Canadian Economy, But You Need It…

I see this as purely a cash grab measure to stimulate revenue. $7 per passenger for every passenger from the UK, France, Australia or any U.S. Permanent residents on passports not from the U.S. is a ton of people and given the ease in receiving the document, it’s not the end of the world, but it caused considerable frustration. Sure, I should’ve checked more before flying, but I haven’t checked whether U.S. citizens need to pay to enter the UK now, and I do that almost every month. It would certainly be news…