January 13, 2024

Canada Expands Visa-Free Travel to 13 Additional Countries

Canada has made significant strides in facilitating international travel by expanding its list of visa-exempt countries. This recent development, initiated by Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, has far-reaching implications for travelers from 13 additional nations. In this blog, we'll explore the key details of this groundbreaking initiative, the reasons behind it, and what travelers need to know about this policy change.

The 13 Newly Eligible Countries

Passport holders from the following countries will now be able to visit Canada by air without requiring a Temporary Residence Visa:

  1. Philippines
  2. Morocco
  3. Panama
  4. Antigua and Barbuda
  5. St Kitts and Nevis
  6. St Lucia
  7. St Vincent and Grenadines
  8. Trinidad and Tobago
  9. Argentina
  10. Costa Rica
  11. Uruguay
  12. Seychelles
  13. Thailand

Simplifying the Pre Travel Screening Process

Minister Sean Fraser stated that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been diligently working to streamline the pretravel screening process, making it easier, faster, and more cost-effective. This strategic decision is expected to divert a significant number of applications from Canada's visa caseload, enabling IRCC to process visa applications more efficiently.

A similar pilot program introduced in Brazil in 2017 yielded impressive results, increasing visitor numbers from Brazil by 40% and reducing the caseload in IRCC's Sao Paulo office by 60%. This success freed up IRCC officers to focus on more complex applications.

Visa-Free Travel to Canada

While more than 50 countries already allow their citizens to enter Canada without a visa, most require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) when arriving by air. Notably, United States citizens do not need an eTA or a visa to enter Canada unless they intend to work or study in the country.

For nationals of countries not exempt from obtaining a visa, the requirement is a Temporary Residence Visa (TRV), also known as a visitor visa. This visa allows individuals to visit Canada for a period of six months, although this duration may vary for certain foreign nationals.

However, it's important to understand that holding a TRV does not grant permission to work or study in Canada. Travelers may be asked to demonstrate that the purpose of their visit is temporary, such as tourism or visiting family, at the point of entry.

Currently, IRCC is working to clear a backlog of TRV applications. The recent strike by the Public Service Alliance of Canada impacted TRV applications, leaving a substantial backlog. Minister Fraser anticipates that IRCC will catch up to pre-pandemic processing standards within the coming weeks or a few months.

Why Canada Is Expanding the List of Visa-Exempt Countries

The decision to revise the Canadian Visa Policy is rooted in Canada's commitment to improving its immigration programs and services. Minister Sean Fraser emphasizes that this expansion will enhance convenience for travelers and stimulate travel, tourism, and economic benefits, while also fostering stronger global bonds with the 13 participating countries.

Randy Boissonnault, the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, concurs, highlighting that expanding the eTA for Canada is a significant stride toward boosting the tourism industry. Streamlining the entry process for international travelers sends a clear message that Canada is open for business.

Mélanie Joly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, adds that including countries like the Philippines in the eTA program aligns with Canada's Indo-Pacific Strategy. This move aims to engage further in the region, strengthen people-to-people ties, and make travel to Canada easier, faster, and safer for everyone.

Canada Travel Requirements for Newly Visa-Exempt Countries

For travelers from the 13 newly visa-exempt countries, applying for an eTA when traveling to Canada by air is straightforward if they meet either of the following conditions:

  1. They have held a Canadian visa for the last 10 years.
  2. They currently hold a valid United States non-immigrant visa.

In order to enter or transit through Canada by air, most visa-exempt travelers must have an eTA. Compared to traditional visa applications, this process is significantly faster, easier, and more affordable.

To apply for an eTA, eligible citizens need:

  1. A valid passport
  2. A credit card
  3. An email address
  4. Access to the internet

It's essential to note that individuals with a valid visa can continue using 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 require a visitor visa.

How Pelican Migration Consultants Can Help

Pelican Migration Consultants is a leading immigration consultants in Dubai that helps individuals and families from all over the world migrate to Canada. Our team of experienced immigration consultants can help you with all aspects of the immigration process, from choosing the right immigration program to completing and submitting your application.

If you are from one of the 13 countries that are now eligible for visa-free travel to Canada, we can help you apply for an eTA. We can also help you with other aspects of your travel to Canada, such as booking flights and accommodations.

If you are not eligible for visa-free travel to Canada, or if you are interested in immigrating to Canada permanently, we can help you with that as well. We offer a wide range of immigration services, including:

Immigration program selection: We can help you choose the right immigration program based on your individual circumstances and goals.

Application preparation: We can help you prepare and submit your immigration application, ensuring that it is complete and accurate.

Representation: We can represent you throughout the immigration process, from filing your application to attending your interview.

If you are interested in learning more about our services, please contact us today. We would be happy to answer your questions and help you get started on your journey to Canada.

Contact Pelican Migration Consultants today for a free consultation.