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Immigration Corner | Do I need a visa?

Published:Tuesday | December 13, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Dear Ms Powell,

Do I need to apply for a Canadian visa if I have a US green card and a Jamaican passport? I am planning to visit my aunt and family for Christmas and I don't want any trouble at the airport.

- GH

Dear GH,

A Jamaican citizen with a valid US green card, which is a card granted to permanent residents of the US, is not required to get a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or visitor's visa in order to travel to Canada. This, provided that they are not deemed inadmissible to Canada and have an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA).

Effective March 2016, an individual with a US green card is required to get an eTA. This is also applicable to individuals who are planning to travel to other countries via Canada (in transit).

You do not need an eTA if you are a citizen of the US and have a valid US passport.


How to apply for an ETA


The application must be submitted online via the Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. You will need to have a valid credit card and email address in order to pay the fee of CAD$7 and to receive emails from IRCC within 72 hours.

You will be required to enter all information as it appears in your passport and green card. Be very careful and ensure that you enter accurate information to avoid delay or rejection of your application. It is critical that you enter the 'A-Number' exactly as it appears on your card.

Other information that will be required and questions to expect:

1. Whether you have made previous applications to enter Canada. This includes work or study permit applications

2. The amount of money you have available for your trip

3. Occupation/ job title

4. Name and address of employer/ school

5. Urgent reasons for your trip

6. Have you ever committed, been arrested for, been charged with or convicted of any criminal offence in any country?

7. Have you or anyone close to you had tuberculosis?

8. Do you have a health condition for which you are currently receiving ongoing medical treatment?


What happens after you submit an application?


You will receive an email within minutes confirming that your application has been received.

If you do not receive a confirmation email shortly, then you should check your spam folder. If IRCC requires additional documents from you then you will receive an email to check your online account and upload the documents there.

You should ensure that you receive confirmation that the ETA has been granted before you book your ticket to travel to Canada. It is mandatory for Jamaican citizens with a green card, regardless of age. You should apply for your ETA immediately just in case there are delays with your application.

The ETA is usually valid for five years. If you have issues or concerns about how to apply for an eTA or visitor's visa, you should consult with an immigration lawyer immediately.

- Deidre S. Powell is an immigration lawyer, mediator and notary public. Submit your questions and comments to or call 613.695.8777/ 87.922.4092. You may also find her on