Statistics from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) indicated that recent changes to Canada’s Multiple Entry Visa (MEV) system have proven to be a resounding success. The changes to the MEV system have made visiting Canada much more flexible and convenient for travellers, attracting growing numbers of foreign nationals to Canada.
In July of 2011 the CIC announced changes to the validity period of MEVs, increasing the period to either 10 years or one month before your passport expires. Unlike a single entry visa, holders of a MEV have the ability to repeatedly enter Canada for 6 months at a time without having to apply for a new visitor visa each time they re-enter the country. Multiple entry visas are particularly beneficial for foreign nationals who frequently travel to Canada for work or to visit family.
The demand for MEVs has grown as a result of this increased validity period. In 2013, 486,000 MEVs were issued to travellers, which is more than double the 150,000 MEVs issued by the Canadian government in 2002. This number is clearly still growing, as more than 95,000 MEVs were granted to travellers in April of 2014 alone. MEVs also made up 95% of the visitor visas granted by CIC during April. The program has been particularly welcomed by nationals of China, Mexico, and India, who can now obtain a Canadian MEV valid for 10 years.
Additionally, the application process for single entry and multiple entry visas have been harmonized, allowing every applicant for a single entry visa to be considered for and possibly granted an MEV. The processing fee for MEVs also recently dropped to $100, making travel to Canada more accessible for a larger number of potential travellers. The decrease in MEV processing fees will also give Canada a competitive edge in attracting tourism, as it is now less expensive to apply for a MEV in Canada than for the comparative visa in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, or New Zealand.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander commented on the benefits to Canada of the changes to the MEV, noting that “as part of our plan to grow the Canadian economy and create jobs, our government is committed to attracting more visitors and business people to our country.”
FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration follow FWCanada on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.