CITIZENSHIP and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander on Monday announced the launch of the CAN+ program in India, which will result in more efficient processing for Indian visitors coming to Canada.
CAN+ is open to Indian nationals who have travelled to Canada or the United States of America within the last 10 years. They will benefit from expedited processing, which will free up visa officers to work on other cases, improving overall processing times for all Indian travellers.
Alexander made the announcement during an event with representatives of India’s business, tourism and education sectors, where he highlighted a number of successful government initiatives that are increasing trade and travel to Canada from India. This includes: three visa “Express” programs for Indian businesspeople, students and tourists; 10 Visa Applications Centres (VACs) across India — a global record; and a standardized multiple-entry visa at a reduced fee of CAD $100.
All of these government initiatives are providing fast and easier options for international travellers to come to Canada to do business, learn, and support Canada’s tourism sector.
* Indian nationals rank in the top 10 source countries of international visitors to Canada. In 2013, more than 130,000 visitor visas were issued to Indian citizens, and nearly 14,000 Indian citizens were issued student permits.
* Between January and June 2014, almost 95 per cent of visitor visas issued to Indian nationals were multiple-entry visas, allowing travellers to visit Canada as many times as they want for up to 10 years.
* A CAN+ pilot program in India delivered impressive results with visas issued within five days and an approval rate over 95 per cent. Individuals eligible for CAN+ visa processing do not need to provide as many supporting documents when submitting their applications.
* Three visa “Express” programs that help Indian businesspeople, tourists and students come to Canada faster include:
– Business Express expedites business travel from India with visas issued within three days with a near-perfect approval rate for those registered in the program.
– Tourist Partner Program offers a fast, simplified visa application process for tourists who use travel agencies registered with the Canadian Embassy.
– Student Partners Program fast-tracks the processing of study permits with visas issued within 13 days or less for those who study at participating Canadian educational institutions.
“Our government is committed to facilitating trade and travel for genuine visitors and businesspeople from India who contribute positively to the Canadian economy. We are pleased to officially launch the CAN+ program in India, making it faster and easier for Indians to come to Canada to do business, visit family and friends, or to bolster Canada’s tourism industry. We value our strong relationship with India and this initiative will further enhance our economic and cultural ties,” said Alexander.