Travelers from 13 countries, including the Philippines, 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 traveling to Canada by air.
The eTA is a digital document that most visa-exempt travelers need to travel to or through Canada by air.
It costs CAN$7 to apply, and most applications are automatically approved within minutes.
Visa-free entry to Canada for qualified Pinoys starting June 7
At a glance
Qualified Philippine passport holders can now enter Canada without a Canadian visa starting June 7, 2023 (Manila time), as its government moves to make its immigration programs and services more efficient and equitable for travelers.
(File photo, Pixabay)
Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), announced the addition of 13 countries to its electronic travel authorization (eTA) program on Wednesday (Manila time).
Travelers from the following 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 traveling to Canada by air:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
The eTA is a digital document that most visa-exempt travelers need to travel to or through Canada by air. Canadian officials use the eTA application to conduct light-touch, pre-travel screening of air travelers. It costs CAN$7 to apply, and most applications are automatically approved within minutes.
To apply for an eTA, travelers need only a valid passport, a credit card, an email address, and access to the Internet.
According to the IRCC, the move aims to make air travel faster, easier, and more affordable for travelers to visit Canada for up to six months for either business or leisure.
"It will also help grow Canada's economy by facilitating more travel, tourism, and international business and by strengthening Canada's relationships with these countries while keeping Canadians safe," the IRCC said.
"This decision will also divert thousands of applications from Canada's visa caseload, allowing us to process visa applications more efficiently, which will benefit all visa applicants," it added.
Individuals with a valid may continue to use it when traveling to Canada, while those not eligible for an eTA or entering Canada by other means will still need a visitor visa.
According to Fraser, the eTA's expansion enhances travelers' convenience and increases travel, tourism, and economic benefits. It would also strengthen global bonds with the 13 countries.
"This exciting development means that more individuals from around the world can now embark on unforgettable adventures, explore our diverse landscapes, reunite with family and friends, and immerse themselves in our vibrant culture without the hurdle of visa requirements," he said.
Meanwhile, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly said the move is part of Canada's Indo-Pacific strategy.
"Canada is a destination of choice for so many around the world. We're making it easier for more people to visit Canada, whether they're coming to do business, sightsee or reunite with family and friends," she said.
"Expanding the eTA program to include countries like the Philippines is also an important part of our Indo-Pacific Strategy, as we look to further engage in the region, build on people-to-people ties and make travel to Canada easier, faster, and safer for everyone," she added.
The IRCC first expanded its eTA program in April 2017 to include eligible Brazilians, Bulgarians, and Romanians.