Travellers from 13 more countries now qualify for electronic travel authorization to visit Canada

Canada Travel. Representational image by Wikimedia Commons

Ottawa/CMEDIA: Canada is scrapping travel visa requirements for a few more countries by giving them electronic travel authorization to visit Canada, a news release has said.

According to a release by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, people travelling by air from 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, and Uruguay can now do so for up to six months without a visa. 

“This exciting development means that more individuals from around the world can now embark on unforgettable adventures…This expansion not only enhances convenience for travellers, it will also increase travel, tourism and economic benefits…global bonds with these 13 countries,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser in a statement issued Tuesday. 

These 13 countries have been added to the list of more than 50 other places from which travellers are visa-exempt and are eligible for electronic travel authorization (eTA) subject to their having held either a Canadian visa in the last 10 years or currently hold a valid United States non-immigrant visa.

The eTA is a $7 pre-screening entry requirement linked to a traveller’s passport for a period of five years, and allows people frequent Canadian entry for short stays. 

The eTA applications are also automatically approved within minutes, according to the government release.

The new additions will also help divert Canada’s visa caseload of thousands of applications  which currently takes several months, depending on the country of the traveler. 

The addition of some of the 13 countries, particularly the Philippines, is in line with the federal government’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, released last fall, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly reportedly said in the statement. 

“Expanding the eTA program to include countries like the Philippines is also an important part of our Indo-Pacific Strategy…build on people-to-people ties and make travel to Canada easier, faster and safer for everyone,” she said.

Canada can reportedly expect about 20 percent more visitors from the 13 countries, which could bring in nearly $160 million in tourism revenue within the next decade, according to the release.

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