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Canada is Extending Visa-free Travel to 13 New Countries – but There’s a Catch

Canada’s government says it wants to make travelling to the country easier, faster and cheaper.

Canada is extending visa-free travel to a host of new countries.

An additional 13 nations can now visit the country using the electronic travel authorisation (eTA) programme instead of a visitor visa.

Available via a simple online application, the eTA slashes waiting times from weeks to minutes and costs 10 times less.

Here’s who can apply.

What is Canada’s electronic travel authorisation?

Canada’s eTA can be applied for online and costs just $7 CAD (€5). It can be used by certain passport holders when entering Canada for business or tourist stays of up to six months.

Nationals of 57 visa-exempt countries and 10 British overseas territories who are flying into Canada must apply for an eTA. They do not need an eTA or travel visa when arriving by car, bus, train or boat.

EU passport holders and citizens of Iceland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Switzerland, Vatican City State and the UK are included in this list.

Until now, only one country that requires a Canadian visa – Brazil – was also eligible for the eTA. 13 more countries have now been added to this list.

But there’s a catch: visa-required eTA applicants must have held a Canadian visitor visa in the past 10 years or currently hold a valid United States nonimmigrant visa.

Which countries now have visa-free access to Canada?

The 13 visa-required countries that can now take advantage of Canada’s eTA programme, alongside Brazil, include:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Costa Rica
  • Morocco
  • Panama
  • Philippines
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Seychelles
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uruguay

What are the benefits of Canada’s eTA?

The Canadian government says expanding visa-free air travel will make it faster, easier and more affordable for thousands of travellers to visit the country.

At $100 CAD (€70) Canada’s visitor visa is 10 times more expensive than the eTA. The online application requires you to upload various documents, as well as your fingerprints and a photo. When your application is approved, you must send your passport off to get the visa. The process usually takes a few weeks in total.

In comparison, the eTA only requires you to input your passport and payment information in a short online application. This is then approved within minutes via email.

Canada also hopes that extending its eTA programme to more countries will boost tourism while strengthening international relations.

Source: Euro News