Canada Expands Electronic Travel Authorization Program, Welcoming Visitors from 13 Additional Countries
Today, June 6, 2023, Canada has announced a significant expansion of its electronic travel authorization (eTA) program, opening its doors to travelers from 13 new countries. The move aims to make travel to Canada faster, more affordable, and easier for individuals seeking to visit the country for tourism, business, or to reunite with family and friends. The expanded program will also support Canada's economy by promoting travel, tourism, and international business, while maintaining safety and security for Canadian citizens.
Details of the Expansion
The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, revealed that citizens of the newly added countries, who have previously held a Canadian visa in the last decade or currently possess a valid United States non-immigrant visa, can now apply for an eTA instead of a visa when traveling to Canada by air. The expansion is effective immediately, granting eligible travelers from the following countries access to the eTA program:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
Benefits and Impact
The introduction of visa-free air travel to Canada will bring numerous benefits to travelers and the Canadian economy. It will simplify the entry process, allowing individuals to explore Canada for up to six months for leisure or business purposes. Moreover, this initiative is expected to bolster travel, tourism, and international business, while strengthening Canada's relations with the 13 participating countries.
The expansion of the eTA program will also streamline the visa application process for other travelers, as it will divert a significant number of applications from the visa caseload. This shift is anticipated to improve the efficiency of visa processing for all applicants.
Travelers who already possess a valid visa can continue to use it for travel to Canada. However, individuals who are not eligible for an eTA or are traveling to Canada by means other than air (e.g., car, bus, train, and boat, including cruise ships) will still require a visitor visa.
To determine eligibility for an eTA and apply for one, travelers can visit the official website Canada.ca/eTA. The application process requires a valid passport, a credit card, an email address, and internet access. The cost to apply for an eTA is CAD$7, and most applications are approved within minutes.
The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, expressed excitement about the development, highlighting that the expansion would enhance convenience for travelers while increasing travel, tourism, and economic benefits for Canada. He emphasized the importance of fostering global bonds with the 13 participating countries.
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, emphasized that expanding the eTA program, including countries like the Philippines, aligns with Canada's Indo-Pacific Strategy. The expansion aims to strengthen engagement in the region, enhance people-to-people ties, and make travel to Canada easier, faster, and safer.
The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, described the expansion as a major step toward helping Canada's tourism industry flourish. By streamlining the entry process for international travelers, Canada sends a message that it is open for business, adventures, and unforgettable experiences. The move is expected to inject vitality into local communities, create job opportunities, and showcase Canada's landscapes, cultures, and warm hospitality.