Eligible travellers from 13 more countries, including Philippines, now qualify for visa-free travel to Canada

SEAN Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, on Tuesday announced the addition of 13 countries to the electronic travel authorization (eTA) program.

Travellers from these countries who have either held a Canadian visa in the last 10 years or who currently hold a valid United States non-immigrant visa can now apply for an eTA instead of a visa when travelling to Canada by air.

Effective June 6, eligible travellers from these countries can benefit from the program:

· 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

Fraser said that introducing visa-free air travel will make it faster, easier, and more affordable for thousands of travellers to visit Canada for up to six months for either business or leisure. It will also help grow Canada’s economy by facilitating more travel, tourism and international business, and by strengthening Canada’s relationships with these countries while keeping Canadians safe.

This decision will also divert thousands of applications from Canada’s visa caseload, allowing processing of 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 who are 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. Travellers can visit Canada.ca/eTA to find out whether they’re eligible for an eTA and how to apply for one.

Lisa Pierce, Vice President, Global Sales and Air Canada Vacations, said: “Air Canada is pleased with the announcement today to implement a more user-friendly process to obtain authorization to travel to Canada and connect via Air Canada’s global hubs. The global market for travel and tourism is competitive, and finding easier ways for travellers to obtain their travel authorizations is beneficial not only to Air Canada, but also the entire travel and tourism industry in Canada.”

Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority, said: “Expanding visa-free air travel presents immediate opportunities for YVR to connect with more countries around the world, including key destinations in Latin America and Asia. That enhanced access to global markets will provide incredible benefits for our community and support local economic growth. This decisive policy action is a step in the right direction for YVR, British Columbia and Canada. It continues to provide opportunities for people to enjoy our world-class tourism experiences or reunite with loved ones, creates new jobs, and will deliver more direct revenue for our local economy.”


Quick Facts: 

  • The eTA is a digital travel document that most visa-exempt travellers need in order to travel to or transit through Canada by air.
  • The eTA application is used by Canadian officials to conduct light-touch, pre-travel screening of air travellers. It costs CAN$7 to apply, and most applications are automatically approved within minutes.
  • To apply for an eTA, travellers need only a valid passport, a credit card, an email address and access to the Internet.
  • Almost 20.9 million eTAs have been issued since the eTA program was introduced on August 1, 2015.
  • IRCC first expanded its eTA program in April 2017 to include eligible Brazilians, Bulgarians and Romanians. Canada lifted the visa requirement for all citizens of Bulgaria and Romania later that year. Today, eligible Brazilian nationals continue to enjoy visa-free air travel to Canada.
  • Within the next year, Canada expects to receive 200,000 (or 20%) more visitors from these 13 countries. Within a decade, increased travel from these countries is expected to bring almost $160 million in additional tourism revenue.

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