On March 15th Canada will tighten its entry policy and will require travelers from previously visa-exempt regions, including European countries, to pay for the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA).
Traveling to Canada will cost 7 Canadian dollars (EUR 4.5) for citizens from more than fifty countries and territories which will now have to register online. ETA is the Canadian equivalent of the Visa Waiver Program (Esta) set up by the United States in 2008.
Once the electronic form is filled, permission to enter Canada, or simply to transit, will be sent by email and will be valid for 5 years. Canadian authorities estimate the number of travelers affected each year at more than 3 million people.
"That is why we sought to design a simpler system," said AFP Robert Orr, senior official at the Canadian immigration department, who led the reform. “The ETA will allow Canada to scan all travelers, and to check their eligibility before they take the road in Canada."
Canadian intelligence agencies already conduct studies of air passenger lists but not in a systematic way, he said. With 463.000 tourists traveling to Canada in 2014, France is the third country most affected by the new entry policy, following the UK (which also applies to this measure) and China (whose citizens need a visa).