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Canada Introduces Visa-Free Travel
In an effort to streamline visa processes and enhance travel facilitation, Canada has expanded its visa-free travel program to include passport holders from 13 additional countries
Here are some highlights for Visa-Free Travel for 13 Additional Countries:
Under the new policy, eligible travelers from the following countries will be able to visit Canada by air without the requirement of a Temporary Residence Visa, provided they have either held a Canadian visa in the last 10 years or currently possess a valid United States non-immigrant visa:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Costa Rica
This move follows the success of a similar pilot program that was introduced in Brazil in 2017. The Brazilian program witnessed a 40% increase in visitors to Canada and significantly reduced the caseload at IRCC's Sao Paulo office by 60%. This positive outcome allowed IRCC officers to focus on handling more complex applications.
While Canada already grants visa-free entry to over 50 countries, it is important to note that most visitors arriving by air require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). However, citizens of the United States do not need an eTA or a visa unless they intend to work or study in Canada.
Temporary Residence Visa (TRV)
IRCC is presently working through a backlog of TRV applications. Recent data from IRCC indicates that 50% of TRV applications are not being processed within the standard 14-day timeframe. Minister Fraser acknowledged the impact of the recent strike by the Public Service Alliance of Canada on TRV applications. During the 12-day strike from April 19 to May 1, approximately 100,000 applications remained unprocessed. However, Fraser expressed optimism that the IRCC will soon catch up to pre-pandemic processing standards, which is expected to occur within the next few weeks or months.
With the expansion of the visa-free travel program for the aforementioned 13 countries, Canada aims to foster greater tourism, strengthen diplomatic ties, and enhance ease of travel, all while ensuring efficient processing of visa applications and promoting a seamless travel experience for eligible visitors.