Updated: Jun 07, 2023
Canada continues to be a favoured destination for individuals worldwide, whether they're tourists, business professionals, or loved ones reuniting with their families. As part of its commitment to improving immigration services, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is constantly seeking to make these programs more efficient and equitable.
On June 6th 2023, IRCC unveiled the inclusion of 13 new countries in the electronic travel authorization (eTA) program. From now on, travellers from these nations who either held a Canadian visa in the last 10 years or presently possess a valid non-immigrant U.S. visa can apply for an eTA instead of a traditional visa for air travel to Canada. Starting today, eligible individuals from the following countries are eligible to apply:
The introduction of this visa-free air travel initiative by the IRCC is expected to make travelling to Canada more streamlined, affordable, and quicker for thousands of visitors. They will now be able to stay in Canada for up to six months for either business or leisure. This initiative is anticipated to boost Canada's economy by promoting tourism and international business and fostering stronger ties with these countries, all while maintaining Canadian safety.
This strategic decision by the IRCC is also expected to help divert thousands of applications from the traditional visa processing system, improving overall efficiency and benefiting all applicants.
While those who already have a valid visa can continue using it for travel to Canada, individuals who are not eligible for an eTA or who are travelling to Canada by land or sea (such as by car, bus, train, or boat, including cruise ships) will still require a visitor visa. Information on eTA eligibility and application procedures can be found on the how to apply page.
The Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is a digital travel document necessary for most visa-exempt travellers intending to travel or transit through Canada by air. It facilitates a preliminary screening by Canadian officials of air travellers, primarily as a precautionary measure before their journey. This online application requires a processing fee of CAN$7, and in most cases, the approval is automated and received within minutes. Essential prerequisites to apply for an eTA include a valid passport, a credit card, an email address, and internet access.
Since its inception on August 1, 2015, the eTA program has issued almost 20.9 million eTAs. In April 2017, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) further broadened the reach of the eTA program to include eligible travellers from Brazil, Bulgaria, and Romania. Later that year, visa requirements for all citizens of Bulgaria and Romania were fully lifted. As of today, eligible Brazilian nationals continue to take advantage of visa-free air travel to Canada.
Forecasting for the next year, Canada anticipates welcoming 200,000 additional visitors from these 13 countries, representing a 20% increase. Moreover, over the course of the next decade, the expected surge in travellers from these countries is projected to generate almost $160 million in additional tourism revenue.