Exploring benefits of Canada’s visa-exempt travel for 13 countries

visa-exempt travel to Canada

Maria, a citizen of Panama, holds a valid visa to the United States. Consequently, Maria realized she didn’t need a visa to travel to Canada. She has recently received an LMIA-backed job offer in Canada. Therefore, she wonders what steps she needs to take to secure her work permit now that she can enjoy visa-exempt travel to Canada.

Who is visa-exempt?

Some people may travel to Canada without a visitor visa because of one of the following reasons:

Of course, you may click on any of these links for more information. Despite being visa-exempt, most of these applicants must apply for an eTA. An eTA is an online application for ensuring the traveller is admissible to Canada. If the applicant is a US citizen or a permanent resident of the United States, they do not need an eTA. Some other people are also exempt from eTA.

The new countries that are visa-exempt

On June 6, 2023, IRCC added the citizens of the following countries to the list of visa-exempt countries. However, there is a catch. Travel to Canada with an eTA is only available to those who are travelling by air and have either had a Canadian visa in the past decade or possess a valid non-immigrant visa from the United States. Therefore, their situation is similar to Brazilian citizens. Here is the list of those countries.

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Seychelles
  • Argentina
  • Costa Rica
  • Panama
  • Uruguay
  • Morocco
  • Philippines
  • Thailand

Remember this visa-free travel is available to air travellers only. You must obtain a TRV if you travel by car, train, bus or boat (including cruise ship).

Benefits of being visa-exempt

Here are some of the benefits of being visa exempt to Canada:

  • An eTA application only costs $7 per application compared to $100 for a TRV (fees are subject to change). Moreover, IRCC approves most eTA applications in a matter of minutes. IRCC usually spends a few weeks processing a TRV application.
  • You need to give biometrics for a TRV application. eTA applications are exempt from biometrics.
  • Typically the refusal rate of eTA applications is significantly lower than TRV applications.
  • As a visa-exempt applicant, you may apply for most work permits at a port of entry (POE). Officers usually process POE work permit applications in a matter of minutes. However, online work permit applications are more likely to be refused and take a few weeks or months to process.

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    Al ParsaiAl Parsai, LLM, MA, RCIC-IRB
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    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.