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Canada Expands eTA Program, Unleashing Travel Opportunities and Economic Growth
Canada is a great choice for people who want business immigration to Canada or to reunite with loved ones. Recognizing this, the Government of Canada is dedicated to enhancing Immigration programs and services to ensure efficiency and fairness for people around the world.
Since the introduction of the eTA program on August 1, 2015, approximately more than 20 million eTAs have been issued. In April 2017, Canada initially extended the eTA program to three countries, Brazil, which to this day enjoys visa-free air travel to Canada, while the visa requirement for all citizens of Bulgaria and Romania later that year.
In a recent announcement, the Honorable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, revealed the inclusion of 13 countries,
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- Kitts and Nevis
- Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
in the electronic travel authorization (eTA) program. This means that travelers from these countries who have either held a Canadian visa in the past 10 years or currently possess a valid United States non-immigrant visa can now apply for an eTA instead of a visa when flying to Canada. The initiative, effective immediately, offers several benefits to eligible travelers from above mentioned countries.
Importantly, eTA will modify a large number of applications from Canada’s visa caseload, allowing for more efficient processing of visa applications, and ultimately benefiting all visa applicants.
By 2024 Canada expects an additional 200,000 visitors from these 13 countries, which would account for a 20% increase in Canadian economy. By 2035, increased travel to these countries is expected to generate approximately $160 million in additional tourism revenue.
Visa-free air travel is an opportunity to position Canada as a family immigration friendly firmly on the global tourism map and complement an economy that warmly welcomes tourists to Canada. The Honorable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, emphasized the importance of this expansion, particularly in the context of Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, stating,
“Expanding the eTA program to include countries like the Philippines is also an important part of our Indo-Pacific Strategy, as we look to further engage in the region, build on people-to-people ties and make travel to Canada easier, faster, and safer for everyone.”
The Honorable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, expressed enthusiasm for Canada’s tourism industry, stating that expanding the eTA program and easing the entry process for international investor immigration sends a strong message about Canada being open for business, adventures, and unforgettable experiences.
Air Canada and the Vancouver Airport Authority also welcomed the development. Lisa Pierce, Vice President of Global Sales, and Air Canada Vacations, stated,
“Finding easier ways for travelers to obtain their travel authorizations is beneficial not only to Air Canada but also the entire travel and tourism industry in Canada.”
While Vancouver Airport Authority President and CEO Tamara Vrooman highlighted the benefits to the community and local economy, saying,
“Expanding visa-free air travel provides immediate opportunities for YVR to connect with more countries around the world.”
eTA applicants should note that individuals who already hold a valid Canadian citizenship or temporary resident visa may continue to use it to travel to Canada. People who do not qualify for an eTA or are travelling to Canada other than by air will still need a visitor visa.
Travelers can visit Canada.ca/eTA to determine their eligibility for an eTA and learn how to apply. To facilitate the eTA process, applicants should have,
- Valid passport
- Credit card
- An email address
Application costs $7 CAD and is approved in minutes.
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