Immigration Minister Sean Fraser recently announced that citizens from 13 countries may now be eligible for visa-free travel to Canada.
The electronic travel authorization (eTA) program has expanded to include these 13 countries. Air travelers holding passports from these nations can now visit Canada without obtaining a Temporary Residence Visa (TRV). However, there are certain eligibility criteria. Travelers from these countries must either have held a Canadian visa within the past 10 years or currently possess a valid non-immigrant visa from the United States. The following countries have been added to the eTA program:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
Canada’s immigration minister stated, “Introducing visa-free air travel will facilitate faster, easier, and more affordable visits to Canada for up to six months, whether for business or leisure purposes.” This change is expected to contribute to Canada’s economic growth by promoting tourism and streamlining the visa application process.
However, it’s important to note that individuals who are not eligible for an eTA or are traveling to Canada by means other than air, such as by car, bus, train, or boat (including cruise ships), will still require a visitor visa.
If you come from a country that does not have visa exemption, what do you need to visit Canada? Canada offers two types of visitor visas: single-entry and multiple-entry. With a single-entry visa, foreign nationals can enter Canada only once. Those with multiple-entry visas can enter and exit the country as many times as they wish within the visa’s valid duration. A visitor visa can be granted for a period of up to six months, although the final decision rests with the immigration officer handling the case.
If you have children or grandchildren residing in Canada, you might qualify for the super visa for parents and grandparents. This multiple-entry visa enables you to stay in the country for up to two years at a time, allowing for extended quality time with your loved ones.
If your temporary status is still valid, you have the option to extend your visitor visa from within Canada. However, it’s crucial to avoid remaining in Canada with an expired visitor visa and no ongoing extension application, as this can jeopardize future immigration requests. If you have submitted the extension application before your visa expires, you can stay in Canada under implied status until the application is processed.
For business travel to Canada, a business visitor visa may be required. It is important to note that this visa does not cover temporary foreign workers. Engaging directly in the Canadian labor market necessitates a separate work permit.