Four visa-required countries to be added to eTA program

2 Dec 15

CANADA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Canada plans to expand its electronic Travel Authorization program to “low-risk” nationals of Brazil, Bulgaria, Mexico and Romania once the program is fully implemented in March.

What does the change mean? Nationals of Brazil, Bulgaria, Mexico and Romania will be able to enter Canada with an eTA provided they have held a Canadian visa in the last 10 years or hold a valid non-immigration U.S. visa.

  • Implementation time frame: Citizenship and Immigration Canada has said qualifying nationals of Brazil, Bulgaria, Mexico and Romania will be eligible for the eTA program shortly after it is fully implemented March 15, 2016.
  • Visas/permits affected: Electronic Travel Authorization.
  • Who is affected: Nationals of Brazil, Bulgaria, Mexico and Romania planning travel to Canada.
  • Impact on processing times: The change will save affected travelers significant time, because it takes much less time to obtain an eTA than a visa.
  • Next steps: The program will not be available to qualifying nationals from the four countries until after the eTA becomes mandatory in March.

Background: Canada’s eTA program will be fully implemented March 15. The program requires visa-waived nationals, with the exception of U.S. nationals, to complete an online eTA before traveling to Canada. Approved eTAs can be issued within minutes.Currently, all nationals of Brazil, Bulgaria, Mexico and Romania require visas to travel to Canada.

BAL Analysis: The CIC has touted the expansion of its eTA program as a way to ease travel for visa-required nationals, while promoting public safety by allowing the government to focus on higher-risk travelers. Other countries may be added to the eTA program if the initial program is considered successful.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Canada. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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