Visa free admissions in Canada: What you need to know

Visa free admissions in Canada: What you need to know

Canada is a popular destination for travellers from all over the world, whether they want to visit its scenic landscapes, experience its diverse culture, or do business with its thriving economy. However, getting a visa to enter Canada can be a hassle for some people, especially if they live in countries that have low visa approval rates or long processing times. That’s why Canada has introduced a new program that allows eligible travellers from 13 more countries to enter Canada without a visa, as long as they have an electronic travel authorization (eTA) and arrive by air. In this blog post, we will explain what the eTA program is, how it works, who can benefit from it, and what you need to do to apply for one. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about visa-free travel to Canada.

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Visa free admissions in Canada

What is the eTA program?

The eTA program is a system that allows visa-exempt foreign nationals to travel to Canada by air without a visa. It is similar to the ESTA program in the United States, or the ETIAS program in the European Union. The eTA is not a visa, but a pre-screening tool that determines the eligibility of travellers to enter Canada. It is linked to the traveller’s passport electronically and is valid for up to five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. The eTA costs $7 CAD and can be obtained online in minutes.

Who can benefit from the eTA program?

The eTA program was launched in 2016 and initially applied to travellers from more than 50 countries that were already visa-exempt for Canada, such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. However, in June 2023, Canada announced the expansion of the eTA program to include 13 more countries, namely:

  • 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
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Travellers from these countries who have either held a Canadian visa in the last 10 years or who currently hold a valid United States non-immigrant visa can now apply for an eTA instead of a visa when travelling to Canada by air. This means that they can enjoy faster, easier, and more affordable travel to Canada, as well as avoid the hassle of applying for a visa at a Canadian embassy or consulate.

How to apply for an eTA?

Applying for an eTA is a simple and straightforward process that can be done online in a few minutes. You will need a valid passport, a credit or debit card, and an email address. You will also need to answer some basic questions about your personal information, travel plans, and background. You can apply for an eTA individually or as a group. You can also use a third-party service provider to assist you with your application, but be aware that they may charge you additional fees.

To apply for an eTA, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Visit the official website of the Government of Canada at Canada.ca/eTA and click on “Apply for an eTA”.
  2. Fill out the online form with your personal information, passport details, contact information, and travel plans. You will also need to answer some questions about your health, criminal history, and immigration status.
  3. Pay the $7 CAD fee using your credit or debit card. You will receive a confirmation email with a receipt number.
  4. Check your email for the status of your eTA application. Most applications are approved within minutes, but some may take longer if they require further review. You will receive an email with your eTA approval or refusal, or a request for additional information or documents.
  5. Print or save a copy of your eTA approval email and keep it with you when you travel to Canada. You will need to present it to the airline staff before boarding your flight. You will also need to show your passport and answer some questions from the border officer when you arrive in Canada.
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Frequently asked questions about visa-free travel to Canada

Here are some common questions and answers about visa-free travel to Canada with an eTA:

  • Q: How long can I stay in Canada with an eTA?
  • A: An eTA allows you to stay in Canada for up to six months for tourism, business, or transit purposes. However, the actual length of your stay is determined by the border officer when you enter Canada. They may grant you a shorter or longer stay depending on your circumstances and the purpose of your visit. You will receive a stamp in your passport indicating the date by which you must leave Canada.
  • Q: Can I work or study in Canada with an eTA?
  • A: No, an eTA does not allow you to work or study in Canada. If you want to work or study in Canada, you will need to apply for a work permit or a study permit, respectively. You may also need a visa depending on your country of origin and the type and duration of your work or study.
  • Q: Can I extend or renew my eTA?
  • A: An eTA is valid for up to five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. You can use it for multiple trips to Canada as long as it is valid. However, if your passport or personal information changes, or if your eTA is cancelled or revoked, you will need to apply for a new eTA. You can also apply for a new eTA if your current one is about to expire and you plan to travel to Canada again.
  • Q: What if I am not eligible for an eTA or I am travelling to Canada by land or sea?
  • A: If you are not eligible for an eTA, or if you are travelling to Canada by land or sea, you will need a visitor visa to enter Canada. You can apply for a visitor visa online or at a Canadian embassy or consulate in your country. You will need to provide your personal information, travel plans, financial and family situation, and other relevant documents. You will also need to pay a fee and undergo a medical exam and/or a biometric screening if required. The processing time and the validity of your visitor visa will depend on your country of origin and the purpose of your visit.
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Summary and conclusions

Visa-free travel to Canada is a great opportunity for travellers from 13 more countries who want to explore Canada’s beauty, culture, and opportunities without the hassle of applying for a visa. All they need is an eTA, which is a simple, fast, and cheap online process that can be done in minutes. An eTA allows them to stay in Canada for up to six months for tourism, business, or transit purposes, as long as they arrive by air. However, they still need to meet the basic requirements for entry to Canada, such as having a valid passport, a return ticket, and enough money for their stay. They also need to comply with the rules and regulations of Canada, such as respecting the laws, paying taxes, and not overstaying their authorized period of stay. By following these guidelines, they can enjoy a safe, smooth, and memorable trip to Canada.

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