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13 Countries Eligible for Visa-free travel to Canada

Great news! According to Sean Fraser, the minister of immigration, applicants from 13 countries are eligible for visa-free travel to Canada.

Do you know that 13 countries have been recently added to the electronic travel authorization (eTA) program?

Yes! Every passport holder from these 13 countries traveling by air will now be able to travel to Canada without needing a Temporary Residence Visa (TRV).

What are the 13 countries Eligible for Visa-free travel to Canada?

For Visa-free travel, travelers from these nations, on the other hand, will require either a Canadian visa issued within the last ten years or a non-immigrant visa valid for the United States in order to be considered eligible. The countries that have been added to the eTA program are:

  • 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

“Introducing visa-free travel will make it faster, easier, and more affordable for thousands of travelers to visit Canada for up to six months for either business or leisure,” said Canada’s immigration minister. This new change will also help to grow Canada’s economy by further promoting Canadian tourism. It will also help reduce visa caseloads by allowing visa applications to be processed more efficiently. 

Travelers who are not eligible for an eTA or who are traveling to Canada by methods other than air (for example, by car, bus, train, and boat—including by cruise ship) will still need a visitor visa. 

What will I need to visit if I do not qualify for Visa-free travel to Canada

I understand how worried you can be as a visitor while wanting to visit Canada especially if you do not qualify for Visa-free travel; however, it is great for you to know that Canada offers two kinds of visitor visas even if you are not part of the Visa-free travel countries: 

The single-entry Visa and 

 The multiple-entry Visa

The single-entry visa will allow foreign nationals to come into Canada once.

While those with multiple-entry visas can enter and exit as often as they like within the valid duration of their visa, a visitor visa can be granted for a period of up to six months. However, the duration of the visa will be decided by the immigration officer handling your file.

What is Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

While exploring your Visa-free travel option, there is a need to know what eTA is. An electronic travel authorization (eTA) is an entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals traveling to Canada by air. An eTA is electronically linked to a traveler’s passport. It is valid for up to five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. If you get a new passport, you need to get a new eTA.

With a valid eTA, you can travel to Canada as often as you want for short stays (normally for up to six months at a time). You do not need an eTA for travel within Canada, with or without a Visa-free travel requirement.

However, having an electronic travel authorization does not guarantee entry to Canada. When you arrive, a border services officer will ask to see your passport and other documents. You must convince the officer that you are eligible for entry into Canada.

Most foreign nationals who want to visit Canada require a valid visitor’s visa to enter the country. However, citizens of some countries are visa-exempt. In 2016, Canada introduced electronic travel authorizations (eTA) as a new entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals traveling to or through Canada by air.

​​Who needs an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada and Visa-free travel?

Not everyone needs an electronic travel authorization to travel to Canada. There are four types of travelers:

  1. Travelers who need electronic travel authorization :
    • Visa-exempt foreign nationals need an eTA to fly to or transit through a Canadian airport. These travelers do not need an eTA when arriving by car, bus, train, or boat (including a cruise ship).
  2. Travelers who may be eligible to apply for Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA):
    • Citizens from select visa-required countries may be eligible to apply for an eTA, instead of a visa, to travel to Canada by air. However, these travelers need a visitor visa when arriving by car, bus, train, or boat, including a cruise ship.
  3. Travelers who cannot apply for an eTA and need to carry other identification:
    • Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, need a valid Canadian passport. American Canadians can travel with a valid Canadian or U.S. passport.
    • Canadian permanent residents need a valid permanent resident card or permanent resident travel document.
      • Important – former residents of Canada: Permanent resident (PR) status does not expire. If you once lived in Canada many years ago, you could still have PR status. Learn more to avoid travel delays.
    • Visa-required, including alien passport holders and stateless individuals.
  4. Travelers who are exempt from the eTA requirement
    • U.S. citizens are exempt from the eTA requirement and must carry proper identification such as a valid U.S. passport.
    • Lawful permanent residents of the United States who hold valid status in the U.S. are exempt from the eTA requirement.
      • They must carry official proof of status (or an equivalent status document) and a valid passport from their country of nationality (or an equivalent travel document).
      • See the complete list of documents for lawful permanent residents of the U.S.

Visa-free travel and eTA exemptions?

There are some exceptional cases in which travelers may not be required to obtain an eTA. Such cases include:

  • French citizens who live in Saint Pierre and Miquelon and are flying directly to Canada from St. Pierre and Miquelon;
  • Diplomats accredited by the Government of Canada, and;

Foreign nationals who travel through a Canadian airport under the Transit Without Visa or China Transit programs

On the other hand, if you have children or grandchildren who are currently residing in Canada, you may be eligible for the super visa that is reserved for parents and grandparents. This multiple-entry visa enables you to remain in the country for up to two years at a time, giving you the opportunity to spend more time with the people who are important to you.

Additionally, if your temporary status in Canada has not yet expired, you are permitted to apply for an extension of your visiting visa while you are already inside the country. Future immigration petitions could be put in jeopardy if someone stays in Canada after their visiting visa has expired but has not submitted an extension request. If you have already finished the application for an extension of your visa before it expires, you will be able to stay in Canada under implied status while the extension application is being processed.

If you are traveling to Canada for business, you may be required to obtain a business visitor visa. It should be noted, however, that this visa is not for temporary foreign workers. A separate work permit is needed to directly engage in the Canadian labor market.

How to Apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) and Visa-free travel

Only apply for an eTA on this official Government of Canada website.

Applying for an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is a straightforward online process that just takes a few minutes. The majority of applicants receive their eTA approval (through email) within minutes. However, if you are required to submit supporting documentation, some requests may take several days to process. It is essential to obtain an eTA before booking a flight to Canada.

To apply for an eTA, you will need internet access and personal information such as your address and passport. A form must be completed online, and you must pay a $7 government fee by credit card. If approved, the eTA will remain valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. If you have more than one passport, you must travel with the passport that your eTA is linked to. Approval time ranges between minutes and days, so it is best to apply before traveling.

An eTA costs CAD $7. You can only apply for and pay for one passport at a time

To complete the form, you will need your passport, a credit card, and an email address. You must also answer a few questions. If you enter the wrong passport number on the eTA form, you will have problems flying to Canada.

Learn more.