Canada has announced the expansion of the Canadian visa waiver program, allowing eligible travelers from 13 additional countries to visit the nation visa-free.
The 13 countries newly eligible for visa-free travel to Canada include:
Antigua and Barbuda
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
These travelers will no longer need to have a Temporary Residence Visa to visit Canada by air. However, they will be required to have an approved electronic Canada eTA Visa Waiver to fly into the country.
Why Canada Is Expanding the List of Visa-Exempt Countries
The revision of the Canadian Visa Policy to include additional visa-exempt nationalities stems from Canada’s commitment to improving immigration programs and services.
“This expansion not only enhances convenience for travellers, it will also increase travel, tourism and economic benefits, as well as strengthen global bonds with these 13 countries”, the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, said of the development.
Randy Boissonnault, the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, agreed. “Expanding the eTA for Canada is a major step toward helping our tourism industry soar to new heights,” he said. “By streamlining the entry process for international travellers, we send a strong message that Canada is open for business”.
“Expanding the eTA program to include countries like the Philippines is also an important part of our Indo-Pacific Strategy”, added Mélanie Joly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. “We look to further engage in the region, build on people-to-people ties and make travel to Canada easier, faster and safer for everyone”.
According to the Canadian government, the expansion is expected to bring almost $160 million in additional tourism revenue and 20% more visitors from these countries within a decade.
Canada Travel Requirements for Newly Visa-Exempt Countries
The newly visa-free travelers can apply for an eTA when traveling to Canada by air if they either:
√ Have held a Canadian visa in the last 10 years
√ Currently hold a valid United States non-immigrant visa.
An eTA is a digital travel document required for most visa-exempt travelers to enter or transit through Canada by air. This makes their journey faster, easier, and more affordable than the visa process.
Canadian officials use the eTA application to conduct pre-travel screening. Most applications are automatically approved within minutes.
To apply for an eTA, eligible citizens also need:
√ A valid passport
√ A credit card
√ An email address
√ Access to the internet
It’s important to note that 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 are traveling to Canada by means other than air (e.g., car, bus, train, or boat) will still need a visitor visa.