Travelling to Canada

IMPORTANT: All Global Summit attendees traveling from
outside of 
Canada should read the information below.

Table of Contents
1. Requirements to enter Canada
2. What is a letter of invitation?
3. Do I require a letter of invitation?
4. Global Summit special event code
5. Summit registration requirement
6. Visa and eTA wait times
7. Step 1: Request a letter of invitation
8. Step 2: Determine if you require a visa or eTA
9. Step 3: Apply for your travel authorization as early as possible
10. What happens if my application is rejected?

Requirements to enter Canada

Canada has recently implemented new requirements for international visitors. All travellers, including U.S. permanent residents, arriving in Canada by air will require either an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visa, which must be obtained from the Government of Canada prior to departing for Canada. (Airlines will not allow you to board the aircraft without either an eTA or a visa.) Travellers arriving in Canada by car, bus, train, or boat do not require an eTA, but they may still require a visa.

The only exceptions are travellers who arrive with one of the following documents:

  • a valid Canadian passport,
  • a valid Canadian permanent resident card, or
  • a valid U.S. passport.

Additionally, in order to enter Canada you must meet certain basic travel requirements, which are detailed on this Government of Canada website:

Basic travel requirements for entering Canada:
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/apply-who.asp

What is a letter of invitation?

A letter of invitation is a document used by international travellers to help them gain entry to a foreign country in order to attend an event. In this case, it will be a letter from Creative Commons to you, inviting you to attend the 2018 Global Summit in Toronto. It needs to contain certain key personal details about you, as well as about CC and the Summit. The letter tells visa and border officers that you have a legitimate reason to enter Canada.

Do I require a letter of invitation?

Having a letter of invitation is usually required for visas to attend conferences. A letter of invitation can also be helpful at the border even if you don’t require a visa.

A Mexican Passport by Daniel Iván | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Including a letter of invitation with your visa application does not guarantee that your visa will be approved. It will, however, reduce the likelihood that you will experience delays with your visa application, or be asked to provide supplemental information about the purpose of your visit to the visa processing officer.

Even if you do not require a visa or eTA, we recommended that you request a letter of invitation to present at the border if you are traveling from outside of Canada. (If you require a letter of invitation for a visa application, we recommend that you also print a separate copy to present at the border.) The letter of invitation does not guarantee that you will be admitted to Canada. It does, however, reduce the likelihood you will experience delays at the border, or be asked to provide additional information about the purpose of your visit to the border officer.

Global Summit special event code

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is the department within the Government of Canada responsible for managing applications for visas and eTAs. The 2018 Global Summit has been registered with the Special Events Unit of IRCC, and has received the special event code “18COMM.” It is important that you reference this code if applying for a visa to attend the Summit. Using this code does not guarantee that your visa will be approved. 

Summit registration requirement

Creative Commons cannot issue a letter of invitation to anyone not registered as a Summit attendee. If you intend to bring anyone with you on your trip to Canada who is not a Summit delegate, you will be required to ensure their eligibility for a visa or eTA (if required), as well as their admissibility at the Canadian border. If a member of your travelling party is deemed ineligible or inadmissible, your application or admission may be denied also. We cannot assist by issuing letters of invitation to individuals traveling with you, unless they are Summit delegates themselves. Note: if your ability to attend the Summit depends on bringing a travel companion (for example, because of medical reasons), please contact us by email as soon as possible with the details of your circumstances at summit@creativecommons.org.

Visa and eTA wait times

Passport Stamp: Guyana by Ian Mackenzie | CC BY 2.0

Visa applications usually require that you apply weeks or months in advance of your arrival date. The wait times for an eTA are generally much shorter. For an estimate of wait times please consult the following Government of Canada website. Bear in mind that these are only estimates. Your application may take longer than this, so we recommend that you apply as soon as possible for any travel authorization you may need:

Canada visa and eTA wait time estimates: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/times/index.asp

Please refer to the steps below, and follow the instructions appropriate to your circumstances. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at summit@creativecommons.org.

Step 1: Request a letter of invitation

Creative Commons can provide a letter of invitation to anyone who is registered to attend the Global Summit, to facilitate faster and easier processing of visa applications, and to help with entry at the Canadian border (even for travellers who don’t require a visa.) Letters of invitation will be issued in PDF format, will be delivered to you by email, and will include the IRCC special event code. There is no cost for a letter of invitation.

To request a letter of invitation, please follow the link below:

Letter of invitation request form: https://goo.gl/forms/tqiCqUHHjE51TeX73

Step 2: Determine if you require a visa or eTA

All Summit attendees are encouraged to visit the following Government of Canada website  to determine if they require an eTA or a visa:

Canada visa and eTA requirements: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp

If you do not have the proper documents, such as an eTA or visa, you will not be permitted to board the aircraft at your place of departure. Also, if you are entering Canada by land from the U.S., you may be turned away at the border if you require a visa and do not have one. You cannot apply for a visa at the border, and you cannot apply for an eTA at the airport.

Step 3: Apply for your travel authorization as early as possible

To determine how to apply for your travel authorization, please consult the following Government of Canada website:

Canada visa and eTA application instructions: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/business/apply.asp

What happens if my application is rejected?

If your application for a visa or eTA to attend the Global Summit is rejected, or if you are refused admission to Canada, it is critical that you contact Terry Williams at Creative Commons (summit@creativecommons.org) immediately. The sooner you contact us, the more likely it is that we can help. Please do not delay if your application is rejected, or if you are refused entry when trying to cross the border.