Canada Expands Visa-Free Travel to 13 New Countries with an Important Condition

In an effort to facilitate travel to Canada, the government has announced an expansion of visa-free access to a range of new countries. The electronic travel authorization (eTA) program, which allows visitors to enter the country without a traditional visitor visa, will now be available to an additional 13 nations. This move aims to make travel to Canada easier, faster, and more affordable for tourists and business travelers alike.

Canada's Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

The eTA is an online application process that grants entry to certain passport holders for business or tourist stays of up to six months. By applying for the eTA, eligible individuals can bypass the need for a visitor visa, saving both time and money. The cost of the eTA application is a mere $7 CAD (€5), significantly lower than the traditional visitor visa fee.

It is important to note that nationals from 57 visa-exempt countries and 10 British overseas territories who are traveling to Canada by air must apply for an eTA. However, those arriving by car, bus, train, or boat do not require an eTA or travel visa.

Included in the list of eligible passport holders for the eTA program are citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Switzerland, Vatican City State, and the United Kingdom.

The New Expansion: Visa-Required Countries

Until now, only Brazil, among the visa-required countries, was eligible for the eTA program. However, the Canadian government has announced that 13 additional countries will now have access to the eTA. The visa-required citizens of these countries can take advantage of this program on the condition that they have held a Canadian visitor visa within the past 10 years or currently possess a valid United States nonimmigrant visa.

List of Countries with Visa-Free Access to Canada

The 13 visa-required countries that have been included in this expansion are:

  • 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

Advantages of Canada's eTA Program

The Canadian government has emphasized the numerous benefits that the eTA program offers to travelers. Firstly, the Canada eTA application process is significantly faster and more affordable compared to the traditional visitor visa. While the visitor visa costs $100 CAD (€70), the eTA application fee is only $7 CAD (€5). Moreover, the eTA application can be completed entirely online, requiring only the input of passport and payment information. The approval process usually takes only a few minutes, with successful applicants receiving their approval confirmation via email.

On the other hand, obtaining a visitor visa involves a more complex process, requiring the submission of various documents, fingerprints, and a photo. Once the application is approved, the applicant must send their passport to the relevant authorities for visa issuance, a process that typically takes several weeks to complete.

In addition to the individual benefits, Canada hopes that the expansion of the eTA program will contribute to increased tourism and foster stronger international relations. By streamlining the entry process for visitors, the country aims to attract more travelers from these newly eligible countries, creating opportunities for cultural exchange, business partnerships, and economic growth.

Overall, Canada's decision to expand visa-free access to 13 new countries through the eTA program demonstrates its commitment to facilitating travel and promoting global connectivity while making the process more efficient, cost-effective, and convenient for visitors.

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