How do I fill out the Canadian eTA if I have a green card with no expiration date?

Raymond Chen

Entry into Canada by air generally requires an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Canadian and United States citizens are exempt from the eTA,¹ but United States permanent residents still require one. (The permanent resident card is commonly known as a green card because the original version was green.)

There is a special form for green card holders, which asks you for the nine-digit green card number and expiration date.

I was helping a relative fill out the eTA application online and discovered a problem: The form asks for the green card’s expiration date. Green cards issued between 1977 and 1989 have no expiration date. If you leave the expiration date blank, the form rejects the application.

When I asked for help from the Canadian Border Services Agency, the response was that I should enter the expiration date of the traveler’s passport.

Another question on the form asks for the nine-digit green card number. Cards issued in the 1970’s and 1980’s have only eight digits, and again, the form rejects the application if the number of digits is “wrong”.

That one I was able to figure out by myself: Pad the field with leading zeros.

Bonus chatter: Starting in 2021, United States citizens traveling to EU countries will require pre-clearance from the European Travel and Information Authorisation System (ETIAS).

I’ll be on vacation in London and Paris for the next two weeks (no ETIAS required yet), but I’ve left the blog running on autopilot. Hopefully, the Super-H series will put people to sleep so they won’t even realize I was away.

¹ But that doesn’t mean you don’t need any documentation at all! You still need your passport or Nexus.



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  • Henry Skoglund 0

    If I was one of the original designers of the Super-H series I wouldn’t take it as a compliment knowing that my work was used for putting people to sleep 🙁

  • 0

    As Im a Canadian citizen. I was born in Regina Saskatchewan Canada. But Im able to carry  two passports one Canadian and United States also I’m an IBEW local union is still in Kamloops IBEW local 993 but I now live in Spokane valley Washington United States  for many years also worked in nine different States. 

  • Dan B 0

    Ah, Raymond, now you know what it feels like to read MSDN documentation at times.

  • Dan B 0

    On an unrelated note. I just read your book. Two observations. 1) I’ve never seen it from the side and I didn’t realize how many pages are in it. 2) It was such a facinating read that I’d finished it in two days. (Didn’t know that I can read this fast.)Thus a question. The book covers pre-2006 state of affairs in Windows development Do you plan on writing a sequel for 2006-2019 period?

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