How to Obtain a Canadian ETA with a Criminal Record: Essential Guide and Requirements

In today’s globalized world, traveling to Canada is a dream for many. Whether for tourism, business, or visiting loved ones, having the right documentation is crucial. One such document is the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), which allows travelers from visa-exempt countries to enter Canada. how to get a canadian eta with a criminal record

Understanding ETA

The ETA is an electronic entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals traveling to Canada by air. It is linked electronically to your passport and is valid for up to five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

Importance of ETA

Having an approved ETA is mandatory for anyone traveling to Canada by air, excluding U.S. citizens and other exempt categories. It ensures smooth entry into the country without the need for a visa.

ETA Application Process

To apply for an ETA, you need to fill out an online application form. The process is straightforward and involves providing personal details, passport information, and answering a few eligibility questions.

Eligibility Criteria

Not everyone is eligible for an ETA. Certain factors such as criminal history or previous immigration violations may affect your eligibility.

Can You Get ETA with a Criminal Record?

One of the common questions is whether individuals with a criminal record can obtain an ETA. The answer depends on the nature of the offense and how it relates to Canadian immigration laws. canada advance cbsa declaration

Impact of Criminal Record

Having a criminal record, especially for offenses such as DUI (Driving Under Influence), can complicate your ETA application. Canadian immigration authorities take criminality seriously and assess each case individually.

Procedure and Considerations

If you have a criminal record, you must disclose it during the ETA application process. Failure to disclose relevant information can lead to complications, including refusal of entry or deportation upon arrival.

Alternative Options

If your ETA application is denied due to a criminal record, there are alternative options to consider:

Temporary Resident Permit: Allows entry for a specific purpose and duration despite criminal inadmissibility.

Rehabilitation Process: In some cases, you may be eligible to apply for rehabilitation to overcome criminal inadmissibility.

Advance CBSA Declaration

Apart from ETA, travelers entering Canada need to complete an Advance CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) Declaration. This includes declaring goods being brought into the country and ensuring compliance with Canadian customs regulations.

Purpose and Requirements

The Advance CBSA Declaration serves to streamline the customs process and ensures that all goods entering Canada meet regulatory standards.

How to Submit

You can complete the Advance CBSA Declaration online or via a mobile app before arriving at the Canadian border or airport. It requires detailed information about your trip and the goods you are carrying.


Navigating the process of obtaining an ETA with a criminal record can be challenging but not impossible. Understanding the eligibility criteria, disclosing relevant information, and exploring alternative options are crucial steps towards securing your travel authorization to Canada.


Can I get an ETA if I have a DUI?

Yes, but it depends on the circumstances. Serious offenses may result in inadmissibility.

What happens if my ETA application is denied?

You may explore alternative options like a Temporary Resident Permit or Rehabilitation.

How long does an ETA application process take?

In most cases, ETA applications are processed within minutes, but it’s advisable to apply well in advance of travel.

Is there an expedited process for ETA?

No, there is no expedited process. It’s recommended to apply early to avoid last-minute issues.

Can I apply for ETA on behalf of someone else?

Yes, you can apply for ETA on behalf of family members or friends traveling with you.