Optical Interference Coatings Conference

Customs Information, Canada

Make sure you carry proper identification and documents while traveling to the Congress. Optica strongly encourages you to apply for any additional documentation (ie. visas) 6 months prior to the event, as the application process can be timely.

Please note that given the current travel restrictions we ask that you continue to monitor IRCC’s website for COVID-19 updates. In addition, please refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada website for updates on large group events (mass gatherings). 

All visitors to Canada must have:

1) a valid travel document, such as a passport

2) CBSA Recognition Letter for the Event

Some visitors may also need:

3) an electronic Travel Authority (eTA)
Find out if you need an eTA here

4) a valid visitor visa, depending on your citizenship
Find out if you need a visa here

5) a letter of invitation from the event organizer

Electronic Travel Authority (eTA)

An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is an entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. An eTA is electronically linked to a traveller’s passport. It is valid for up to five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.  If you get a new passport, you need to get a new eTA.

With a valid eTA, you can travel to Canada as often as you want for short stays (normally for up to six months at a time). You do not need an eTA for travel within Canada.

To find out who needs an eTA to travel to Canada, how to apply for one, and more information about the process, visit the linked websites.


A visitor visa (also called a temporary resident visa) is an official document that is placed in your passport. It shows that you meet the requirements needed to enter Canada. Most travellers need a visitor visa to travel to Canada. You may also need one if you’re transiting through a Canadian airport on your way to your final destination.

Optica recommends a 6-month lead time to have visas processed; please plan accordingly.

Additionally, as of the Summer of 2018, when you apply for a visitor visa, study or work permit, or permanent residence you need to give your fingerprints and a photo. To facilitate repeat travel to Canada, applicants for a visitor visa, study or work permit will only need to give their biometrics once every 10 years. For additional information on whether or not you require a biometric, please refer to our fast facts about Biometrics.

To find out who can apply for a visa, how to apply for one, Visa offices outside Canada, and more information about the process, visit the linked websites.

Letter of Invitation

Individuals requiring a letter of invitation to obtain visitor visas for the Congress are required to provide all information on the online form. Invitation letters may take Optica Management up to 14 days to process.

Important information regarding Visa Invitation Letters (please read):

  • Your name must be listed exactly as it appears on your passport. Any differences between the name on your passport and the name on your invitation letter or other documentation could lead to a delay and/or denial of your visa.
  • If you are presenting a paper, include the title and session in which the paper will be presented. If you are exhibiting, please indicate so in your request.
  • Each individual requesting an invitation letter must fill out a separate form.
  • All letters will be sent in PDF form to the email address provided. If you require a paper copy, please provide a courier account number or credit card number with expiration date with the original request.
  • Optica Management reserves the right to request further information regarding the company or affiliation of the attendee to ensure the validity of requests. Meeting attendees do not need to wait until your paper is accepted to request a Visa Invitation Letter.
  • Optica is unable to contact Embassies in support of an individual attempting to gain entry to attend a meeting.
  • We recommend that you secure your travel visa before registering for the conference, as cancellations after the pre-registration cutoff may result in a cancellation fee.

For questions about the Visa Invitation Letter application process, send an email to invitations@optica.org

Other Resources:

Canada Border Services Agency
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (returning to the US)