This question is related to the Canadian eTA application that I had discussed previously (see here). It has now been a whole month since I applied and my application status is "In Progress". I will be travelling to present at a conference in two months (October) and wish to resolve this issue as quickly as possible!

I've used the online web form and submitted a case-specific query and have heard nothing in response. The only confirmation was an automated email from [email protected] with (I kid you not) nothing but the text "AUTOREPLY TEST" in the email body.

Furthermore, when applying originally I selected "United Kingdom And Colonies" as my passport's Country of Issue. Since I applied, they have changed the options in the Country of Issue drop-down list to several categories for British people (e.g. British overseas citizen, British subject, British protected person etc.). I am officially a "British Citizen" but the system seems to have transferred me to "British subject" (not the same as citizen!), as I can only see my eTA application status if I choose that option in this form.

I hope to contact someone regarding my application, as the system seems fundamentally flawed. There is the IRCC Call Centre but it appears this is for Canadian citizens/residents only.

Given the terrible application process and the lack of response, what are my options? I have read that for stuck (USA) ESTA applications, applying a second time can help resolve the issue - should I try this for the eTA? Otherwise, if a visa is the best solution, do I apply for "business" or "tourist", as I am attending a scientific conference and then planning to travel in the following week?

*** UPDATE: I have had my eTA approved, so I guess I can stop panicking! It's taken over two months to get approval but I have had absolutely no response to my online web form queries, besides the automated email responses, and nothing explaining the delay (though I can infer the reason). Thank you to everyone who offered advice - I will be following pnuts advice of providing feedback in terms of the technical issues with the site.

Of interest is that my colleagues who selected "United Kingdom And Colonies" when applying now also have to select "British subject" if they want to check the status of their (successful) applications, so my issue here is probably not an isolated case.

  • 4
    Extreme option: apply for an ESTA, fly to Seattle and then cross into Canada by land. No eTA needed.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 15:42
  • 1
    Or travel to Saint Pierre et Miquelon and cross to Canada from there ;-)
    – gerrit
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 17:06
  • 1
    I phoned the toll-free IRCC number to see if I could get someone to tell me an equivalent regular number callable from overseas, but it is the voice mail system from hell with no apparent way to talk to a human without knowing some details about an actual application. All I can suggest is that you use a VoIP service capable of calling a Canadian toll-free number (e.g. Skype might do it). Alternatively, this post has an equivalent number (from 6 years ago...)
    – user38879
    Commented Aug 3, 2016 at 18:29
  • 5
    My son applied in February. His eta was still in progress in June. Eventually denied access five days before he flew out. He got turned back by Immigration. The system is crap as it is impossible to communicate with anyone. Typical "Big Brother" set-up!
    – user49804
    Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 15:07
  • 4
    Any updates from CIC ?
    – blackbird
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 14:59

2 Answers 2


There is an option to Give feedback that might follow a different route to your last enquiry (the web page is of course different). Also, given that if no decision within minutes you can expect an email from IRCC within 72 hours that tells you what your next steps are you might reasonably report "AUTOREPLY TEST" as a technical fault (and also perhaps that the button "Tell us more" on the same page as "Give feedback" seems to do nothing). However that button is the route to report a technical issue (maybe the technical people who wrote the code were making sure they would not be disturbed!).

There is also an offer to "rate your experience". That is more of a survey but one day somebody might read its content.

The Government of Canada claims to be contactable in respect of passport and consular services by Email, Telephone, Fax, Post or In person as shown here. I think you might need desperate measures since it seems quite possible "the system" thinks it has sent you details of "the next steps" and is awaiting a response to these from you.


The best way of getting meaningful help is to email the local Canadian High Commission or Embassy. Certainly in the UK the Canadian High Commission give very quick email response.

The eTA system is a total mess, to put it mildly. The policy decision to refuse to answer queries by telephone exacerbates the situation greatly.

Another approach which can bear fruit is to approach a Canadian MP who can then contact the relevant Candian government minister directly.

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