On 6 June 2023, the Canadian Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced that 13 new countries had been added to the Canadian Visa Waiver Program. This means that travellers with these nationalities can now easily apply for an eTA online instead of a visa for a tourist or business trip to Canada.
Number of participating countries eTA program extended
On 6 June 2023, Sean Frazer, the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that 13 countries had been added to the Canadian Visa Waiver Program. These countries include Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Costa Rica, the Philippines, Morocco, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Seychelles, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay. Travellers with nationalities from one of these countries can now use the simple online application procedure of the eTA Canada. Previously, travellers from these countries, regardless of their travel purpose, had to apply for a physical visa for their trip to Canada. Including the recently added countries, there are now 66 countries that can travel to Canada visa-free.
Requirements for travellers from the added countries
To be eligible for the eTA Canada, travellers with one of the aforementioned nationalities have to meet a number of specific requirements. For example, they have to have had a Canadian visa in the past 10 years or currently have a valid non-immigrant visa for the USA. In addition, travellers from these countries have to meet all the requirements for travelling with an eTA. These include requirements regarding the travel purpose (permitted travel purposes are tourism, business, a short study, or transit), but also the maximum duration of stay of 6 consecutive months per trip.
Reasons for the extension
One of the reasons for adding these nationalities to the eTA program is that Canada wants to increase the number of tourists travelling to the country and give an added boost to the Canadian tourism sector and economy. In addition, adding these countries to the Visa Waiver Program will relieve the workload of the Canadian immigration service. As fewer travellers have to apply for a physical visa, processing applications for physical visas will be much faster and more efficient than before.
Travellers who cannot apply for an eTA
Travellers who, because of their nationality or other reasons, cannot use the eTA Canada require another travel authorisation to be able to travel to Canada. For example, travellers who wish to travel to Canada for tourism purposes but are not eligible for the eTA can apply for a visitor visa (Temporary Resident Visa). In this case, travellers have to keep in mind a more complicated application procedure and a longer processing time. This is because applying for this visa type requires an interview and submitting additional documents.
European travellers have been able to apply for an eTA for some time now
For a long time, British and Irish travellers have been able to use the online application procedure of the eTA Canada. The eTA is not a visa but a digital travel authorisation allowing travellers to make an unlimited number of trips of up to 6 months each within the 5-year validity.
The simple online application form can be completed in only several minutes. Subsequently, you pay the cost of the eTA, after which, in most cases, your application is almost immediately processed by the Canadian immigration service. On average, a standard application is processed within 3 days, while an eTA application with an urgent delivery is usually processed within 45 minutes.
Requirements for applying for an eTA
Before you submit an eTA application, it is important to check if you meet all the requirements of the eTA. For example, you can only use the eTA for a business trip, holiday, visiting family or friends, short studies, or transit in Canada. In addition, only travellers of a select number of nationalities are eligible for an eTA Canada. If you are unsure if you can apply for an eTA with your nationality, you can check on this page to see if you are eligible.