With the growth of the film production industry in Canada, it’s likely that most people in the industry will be travelling there at some point.

Over the last 10 years, Canada has become one of the leading international filming locations. Toronto and Montreal in the east, and Vancouver in the west have become major production hubs. The charm, metropolitan feel, and beautiful architecture in these cities make it easy to double for US and European filming locations.

If you are in TV or film production, chances are at some point you might travel to Canada.

Travel Authorisation: eTA
Most people entering Canada do not necessarily need a visa, but you might need to apply for an eTA Canada. Americans don’t need a visa or eTA, as long as they have a valid US passport. However, UK or EU citizens need an eTA. An eTA is a travel authorisation available to countries with a visa exemption.
Work permit or not

Besides having a travel authorisation to let you into the country, if you plan on working in Canada to be involved in a filming process, then a work permit might be necessary. A work permit usually provides a detailed description of what tasks and work you can and cannot do while in Canada. Whereas a visa/eTA simply allows you to enter the country.

Usually, whether or not you require a work permit depends on who your employer will be at the time. If you are being invited by a Canadian company, you likely need a work permit. If you are employed by a company outside Canada, then likely it is not necessary to obtain a work permit if the work required is done within 6 months.

With an eTA, you are allowed to stay in Canada for 6 months at a time maximum. If your work requires you to stay longer, then indeed, you may need to look into a work permit. If you are travelling simply to attend a film festival or a meeting about a production, then it is likely you will not need to have a work permit.
Validity of the eTA and work permits.

It is also very common for visas and work permits to expire at different times. Make sure if you are travelling on a previous visa or eTA that it is still valid when you want to travel for work. It is not guaranteed that both will expire at the same time.

In the case of an eTA, it is usually valid for 5 years, or for the duration of your passport. If your passport expires before the 5 years, then the eTA will only be valid until the expiry date of the passport. Within the validity period of the eTA, you are allowed to travel to Canada as often as you’d like. Each stay can be for up to 6 months at a time.

Group Applications
If you are travelling with a group it is also easy to make a group application. Doing so can be quite handy as you only have to fill out most of the main information once. Even if the travellers do not live in the same household it is still possible to apply for an eTA as a group. As long as the travellers all live in the same country, it is not an issue. This makes travelling with co-workers much easier, as there can be a designated point of contact who has control over the documentation and process of the eTA.

Photo credit: Jovaughn Stephens


Pippa Considine

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