The Honourable Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, has announced that thirteen countries have been added to the electronic travel authorization (eTA) programme.

Air travel to Canada will no longer require a Temporary Residence Visa for citizens of these thirteen additional nations. This exemption applies only to travellers from these nations who have held a Canadian visa within the past ten years or possess a valid United States nonimmigrant visa. Included among eligible travellers are passport holders from:

Antigua and Barbuda
Saint Kitts-Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Vincent and Grenadines
Tobago and Trinidad
Costa Rica

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been working to simplify, expedite, and reduce the cost of the pre-travel screening procedure, according to Fraser. This decision, he says, will enable IRCC to process visa applications more efficiently by diverting thousands of applications from Canada’s visa caseload.

In 2017, a comparable pilot programme was initiated in Brazil. According to the minister, the programme was effective in increasing Brazilian visitors by 40% and reducing the caseload in IRCC’s Sao Paulo office by 60%, allowing IRCC officers to focus on more complicated applications.

Visa-free travel to Canada

There are over 50 countries whose citizens can access Canada without a visa; however, the majority require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) for air travel.

Citizens of the United States do not need an eTA or a visa to enter Canada unless they intend to work or study there.

Nationals of non-exempt countries are required to register for a Temporary Residence Visa (TRV), also known as a visitor visa.

A TRV permits a person to visit Canada for up to six months (though this may vary for certain foreign nationals).

Arriving in Canada with a TRV does not grant the holder permission to work or study in Canada, and they may be asked at their port of entry to demonstrate that their visit is transient (such as tourism or visiting family).

IRCC is presently processing a backlog of TRV application submissions. The most recent backlog data from IRCC indicates that 50 percent of TRV applications are not being processed within the 14-day service standard.

Minister Fraser stated that the recent strike by the Public Service Alliance of Canada had an effect on TRV applications. The 12-day strike lasted from April 19 to May 1, and Fraser told reporters that 100,000 otherwise-processed applications were not handled during that time. Additionally, he stated that he expects IRCC to catch up to pre-pandemic processing standards within the next few weeks or months.


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