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Exciting news awaits international travelers! Canada is taking a major step towards enhancing travel accessibility by introducing visa-free travel for passport holders from 13 countries. This decision, announced by Minister Sean Fraser, aims to simplify the pretravel screening process, reduce visa caseloads, and expedite application processing. With a successful pilot program in Brazil as a testament to its effectiveness, this initiative promises to make traveling to Canada easier and more convenient for visitors from these countries. Discover more about this groundbreaking development below.
Today, Sean Fraser, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, made an important announcement regarding visa-free travel during his visit to Winnipeg. Air travelers from 13 specific countries will now be able to visit Canada without the requirement of a Temporary Residence Visa. However, this privilege applies only to individuals from these countries who have either held a Canadian visa within the last 10 years or currently possess a valid United States non-immigrant visa
The eligible countries whose passport holders can benefit from this visa exemption are as follows:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Costa Rica
Minister Fraser emphasized that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been actively working to simplify, expedite, and reduce the cost of the pre-travel screening process. This decision is expected to redirect a significant number of applications away from Canada’s visa caseload, enabling the IRCC to process visa applications more efficiently.
A similar pilot program was introduced in Brazil back in 2017, which proved successful in increasing visitor numbers from Brazil by 40% and reducing the caseload at IRCC’s Sao Paulo office by 60%. This allowed IRCC officers to focus on more intricate applications.
Visa Free Travel To Canada
It’s important to note that there are already over 50 countries whose citizens can enter Canada without a visa, although most of them require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if they are arriving by air. However, citizens of the United States do not require an eTA or a visa to enter Canada, except if they intend to work or study in the country.
For nationals of countries that are not exempt from obtaining a visa, the process involves applying for a Temporary Residence Visa (TRV), also known as a visitor visa. A TRV permits individuals to visit Canada for a period of six months, although the duration may vary for some foreign nationals.
It’s crucial to understand that arriving in Canada with a TRV does not grant permission to work or study in the country. Visitors may be asked to demonstrate that their purpose of visiting Canada is temporary, such as tourism or visiting family, at the port of entry.
Currently, the IRCC is working to address a backlog of TRV applications. Recent data from the IRCC reveals that 50% of TRV applications are not being processed within the established service standards of 14 days.
Minister Fraser acknowledged that the recent strike by the Public Service Alliance of Canada had an impact on TRV applications. The strike lasted from April 19 to May 1, resulting in approximately 100,000 applications not being processed during that period. However, he expressed optimism that the IRCC will be able to catch up to pre-pandemic processing standards in the coming weeks or months.
Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, announced the implementation of visa-free travel for 13 countries. This positive step aims to streamline the pre-travel screening process, reduce the visa caseload, and allow Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to process applications more efficiently. The success of a similar pilot program in Brazil demonstrates the potential benefits of this initiative. With improved accessibility, Canada hopes to attract more visitors while ensuring a smooth and hassle-free travel experience.