Today, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Sean Fraser, made a significant announcement regarding the expansion of Canada’s visa-free travel program.
As posted by +1 News, the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) has added 13 new nations to the list of visa-free countries. Travellers from these countries can now visit Canada without a visa.
The newly eligible countries include Panama, Antigua and Barbados, St. Kits and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Argentina, Morocco, Seychelles, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Starting today, travellers from these countries who have had a Canadian visa in the past 10 years or currently hold a valid United States non-immigrant visa can apply for an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) instead of a visa when visiting Canada. This change makes the process much easier and more convenient.
You can watch the Livestream here:
When and Where?
The announcement will take place at the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport – Departure Terminal, located at 2000 Wellington Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3H 1C2.
Following the announcement, Minister Fraser will engage in a roundtable discussion with local stakeholders and community members.
On June 7, 2023, Minister Fraser will continue his meaningful engagements by welcoming 20 new Canadian citizens. This special citizenship ceremony is hosted by VIA Rail at their location on 123 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
+1 News Preview of the Announcement
Before the official statement was released, no details were confirmed by the IRCC or the immigration department concerning the nature of the upcoming announcement.
However, +1 News suggested that the immigration minister might declare the inclusion of new countries or countries to Canada’s visa-free list. Yet, no official update was provided to validate this claim.
Eligible Countries for Visa-Free Travel to Canada
Based on the announcement by Minister Sean Fraser, the following 13 countries have been added to Canada’s electronic travel authorization (eTA) program, allowing their citizens to travel to Canada without a visa:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
Benefits of Visa-Free Air Travel
Visa-free air travel offers a range of benefits for both travellers and the Canadian economy. Let’s recap the advantages:
- Simplified Travel: Eligible travellers can now enjoy a streamlined process without the need for a visa, saving time and effort.
- Cost Savings: By eliminating visa application fees, travellers can allocate their resources towards other aspects of their trip.
- Boost in Tourism: The expansion of the eTA program is expected to attract a greater number of visitors to Canada, stimulating the tourism sector and contributing to the local economy.
- Enhanced International Relations: Easier travel encourages stronger connections and cultural exchange between Canada and the 13 newly added countries.
- Top 20 Cheapest Cities in Canada to Live in 2023
- Top 10 Safest Cities in Canada for 2023
- Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities in 2023
Applying for an eTA and Exceptions
To apply for an eTA instead of a visa, eligible travellers must meet one of the following criteria:
- Previous Canadian Visa Holders: Individuals who have held a valid Canadian visa within the past 10 years.
- Valid U.S. Non-Immigrant Visa Holders: Travelers who currently possess a valid United States non-immigrant visa.
It’s important to note that travellers entering Canada by means other than air (e.g., car, bus, train, boat, or cruise ship) will still require a visitor visa.
Impact and Future Expectations
The expansion of visa-free travel is expected to have several significant impacts:
- Improved Visa Processing: By diverting a substantial number of applications from the visa caseload, the Canadian immigration system can process visa applications more efficiently, benefiting all visa applicants.
- Tourism Growth: Within the next year, Canada anticipates a 20% increase in visitors from the 13 eligible countries. Over the next decade, this expanded travel is projected to generate approximately $160 million in additional tourism revenue.
- Job Creation: The growth in tourism will create new job opportunities and contribute to the economic development of local communities across Canada.
With the recent announcement by Minister Sean Fraser, Canada has taken a step forward in expanding its visa-free travel program. This update opens up exciting possibilities for travellers from the 13 newly added countries, making it easier and more convenient to explore Canada’s wonders.
We will continue to keep you updated on any further developments in this program and encourage you to stay informed about eligibility requirements and the eTA application process.
Latest Article in Newcomer Resources: