13 more countries now qualify for visa-free travel to Canada

by Anshul
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The Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) program is a user-friendly process to obtain authorization to travel to Canada. A digital travel document, the eTA streamlines entry for international travellers into Canada by replacing traditional visa applications for eligible travellers from visa-exempt countries. Canada has announced an expansion of visa-free travel to 13 more countries, making it easier and more affordable for travellers to visit Canada for up to six months for either business or leisure.

Visa-free travel to Canada – 13 new countries

Passport holders from more than 50 countries can enter Canada without a visa, but most require an eTA when arriving by air. The 13 countries that Canada has added to the eTA eligible list include passport holders from the following countries;

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Costa Rica
  • Morocco
  • Panama
  • Philippines
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Seychelles
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uruguay

Travellers from these countries who have either held a Canadian visa in the last ten years or a valid United States non-immigrant visa can now apply for an eTA instead of a visa when travelling to Canada by air. To apply for an eTA, travellers need only a valid passport, a credit card, an email address and access to the Internet. Canadian officials use the eTA application to conduct light-touch, pre-travel screening of air travellers. It costs $7 to apply, and most applications are automatically approved within minutes.

Adding 13 countries into the eTA program is expected to divert thousands of applications from Canada’s visa caseload, allowing them to process visa applications more efficiently, which will benefit all visa applicants. Individuals who already have a valid visa can continue to use it to travel to Canada. Those who are not eligible for an eTA or travelling to Canada by means other than air (for example, by car, bus, train and boat—including by cruise ship) will still need a visitor visa.

Visa-free travel to Canada – TakeAway

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), almost 20.9 million eTAs have been issued since the eTA program was introduced on August 1, 2015. Visa-free travel to Canada is expected to bring 20% more visitors from the 13 new countries within the next year, whether coming to do business, sightseeing or reunite with family and friends.

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Title Image: Photo by Guillaume Jaillet on Unsplash

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