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Just back from Canada


Just back from Canada

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BenS
BenS
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Hello all,

I just wanted to give an account (and reassurance) of travelling to Canada on holiday, using an eTA.

It was incredibly quick and easy and took less time than returning to the UK!

I did the eTA in advance, which is now mandatory (similar to the ESTA for the US). It was approved in seconds.

When I landed in Canada, I was directed to a machine to fill out a joint immigration/customs declaration, which takes 30 seconds. This is now entirely automated with no human interaction. You scan your passport into the machine and tick "no" to the questions about carrying live animals, firearms, etc. The machine gave me a little bit of paper that looked no different from a shop receipt.

I was then directed to a human who was sitting at an old-style wooden table. No passport machines anywhere. I gave her my passport and the receipt - she glanced at the receipt and passport for 2 seconds, smiled and said "thank you, enjoy your vacation". Not even a passport stamp!

So the customs/immigration process is 100% automated and takes 30 seconds max, while the human visual check takes 2 seconds.

The Canadians really are some of the friendliest people, even their border security staff!
AB2014
AB2014
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BenS - 31 Oct 17 8:08 AM
Hello all,

I just wanted to give an account (and reassurance) of travelling to Canada on holiday, using an eTA.

It was incredibly quick and easy and took less time than returning to the UK!

I did the eTA in advance, which is now mandatory (similar to the ESTA for the US). It was approved in seconds.

When I landed in Canada, I was directed to a machine to fill out a joint immigration/customs declaration, which takes 30 seconds. This is now entirely automated with no human interaction. You scan your passport into the machine and tick "no" to the questions about carrying live animals, firearms, etc. The machine gave me a little bit of paper that looked no different from a shop receipt.

I was then directed to a human who was sitting at an old-style wooden table. No passport machines anywhere. I gave her my passport and the receipt - she glanced at the receipt and passport for 2 seconds, smiled and said "thank you, enjoy your vacation". Not even a passport stamp!

So the customs/immigration process is 100% automated and takes 30 seconds max, while the human visual check takes 2 seconds.

The Canadians really are some of the friendliest people, even their border security staff!

Glad to hear your trip went well. I've never been to Canada, but the Canadians I have met over the years have all been great people. It's good to know that the eTA process is smooth, quick and effective - it's just a shame to know that the visa process isn't.Angry

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Grrr! Aaargh!

Debbie Sadler
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Thanks for the update Ben.

Great to have heard from someone that's been through the process.  Any plans to visit again??

Debs 

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BenS
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Deb S - 1 Nov 17 8:13 AM
Thanks for the update Ben.

Great to have heard from someone that's been through the process.  Any plans to visit again??

Debs 

No problem Debs.

Definitely want to visit again! Wonderful place and people, and so huge that there are always new places to see. And at 40 times bigger than the UK with half its population, it's lovely and quiet - just you and the bears.
Yankee
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BenS - 31 Oct 17 8:08 AM
Hello all,

I just wanted to give an account (and reassurance) of travelling to Canada on holiday, using an eTA.

It was incredibly quick and easy and took less time than returning to the UK!

I did the eTA in advance, which is now mandatory (similar to the ESTA for the US). It was approved in seconds.

When I landed in Canada, I was directed to a machine to fill out a joint immigration/customs declaration, which takes 30 seconds. This is now entirely automated with no human interaction. You scan your passport into the machine and tick "no" to the questions about carrying live animals, firearms, etc. The machine gave me a little bit of paper that looked no different from a shop receipt.

I was then directed to a human who was sitting at an old-style wooden table. No passport machines anywhere. I gave her my passport and the receipt - she glanced at the receipt and passport for 2 seconds, smiled and said "thank you, enjoy your vacation". Not even a passport stamp!

So the customs/immigration process is 100% automated and takes 30 seconds max, while the human visual check takes 2 seconds.

The Canadians really are some of the friendliest people, even their border security staff!

Great to hear the process is smooth. I'm curious - do you currently have any unspent convictions or travel notification requirements (or was it smooth because of a 'clean' record now)?
CC
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BenS - 1 Nov 17 12:05 PM
Deb S - 1 Nov 17 8:13 AM
Thanks for the update Ben.

Great to have heard from someone that's been through the process.  Any plans to visit again??

Debs 

No problem Debs.

Definitely want to visit again! Wonderful place and people, and so huge that there are always new places to see. And at 40 times bigger than the UK with half its population, it's lovely and quiet - just you and the bears.

Hi I`m glad to hear this Ben, I have family there and wouldn't mind a visit. Its encouraging to hear the process is relatively straightforward. Glad you had a nice time.
JohnL
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BenS, this sounds remarkable easy! I’m planning a trip to Canada in September this year and will have ‘not had to notify’ for 24 months by then, almost to the day. I’ve googled what you’ve mentioned and cannot seem to find anything about these automatic immigration clearance machines... did you fly from the UK to Toronto direct or go via somewhere else?

I’ll be visiting my brother who has lived in central Canada for a few years, so want to make sure i don’t have any issues. I’ve got the ETA and this came through straight away as accepted.

Another question... have you been to the US since not having to register? I’ve found some cheaper flights that go via the USA, and then on to Toronto, but the thought of going via the USA sends shivers down my spine due to how strict I’ve heard they are, plus the fact that I read somewhere that the US and UK this year established some sort of more in-depth criminal record sharing...
AB2014
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JohnL - 12 Mar 18 9:35 PM
BenS, this sounds remarkable easy! I’m planning a trip to Canada in September this year and will have ‘not had to notify’ for 24 months by then, almost to the day. I’ve googled what you’ve mentioned and cannot seem to find anything about these automatic immigration clearance machines... did you fly from the UK to Toronto direct or go via somewhere else?I’ll be visiting my brother who has lived in central Canada for a few years, so want to make sure i don’t have any issues. I’ve got the ETA and this came through straight away as accepted.Another question... have you been to the US since not having to register? I’ve found some cheaper flights that go via the USA, and then on to Toronto, but the thought of going via the USA sends shivers down my spine due to how strict I’ve heard they are, plus the fact that I read somewhere that the US and UK this year established some sort of more in-depth criminal record sharing...

JohnL, I think you're talking about this. It's just about better reporting of British people convicted in the US and US citizens convicted in the UK. Not sure, but you might still need an ESTA as well as an eTA if you transit the US, or so it says here.

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Grrr! Aaargh!

BenS
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Hi, I flew directly from Gatwick to Montreal.

I haven't been to the US since my conviction so can't speak for that. I know the US and Canada share quite a lot of information with each other, so maybe if one country knows/doesn't know, the situation is the same in the other country, but honestly I have no idea.

You do need an ESTA even just to transit the US when it's not your actual destination. In the address field, write "In transit". https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/1094/~/do-i-need-to-apply-for-esta%3F
JohnL
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Interesting, so perhaps Montreal do the automated system and Toronto don’t, simile to how some UK airports have the e-gates and others do not.

I have the ESTA already which also came through as accepted, but I may just give it a go direct to Canada as the saving is minimal and will certainly cause me less worry in the run up to the journey.

But good news nonetheless on Canada.
GO


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