Default Thumbnail

Pinoys can now go to Canada ‘visa-free’

June 7, 2023 Cristina Lee-Pisco 1387 views

THE Government of Canada announced the addition of the Philippines to its Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) program, allowing eligible citizens from the Philippines to travel to the country even “without a visa.”

“Canada values our relationship with the Philippines. With the well-established Filipino diaspora in Canada, along with an increasing number of students and tourists from the Philippines, we recognize the importance of expanding and simplifying travel between our countries,” in a statement issued by the Canadian Embassy in Manila said.

Filipinos who have either held a Canadian visa in the last ten 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.

Introducing visa-free air travel will make it faster, easier and more affordable for thousands of known travelers from the Philippines to visit Canada for up to six months for either business or leisure.

It will also help facilitate more travel, tourism and international business between our countries, and help strengthen people-to-people and cultural ties, according to the embassy.

“This decision complements our existing mobility measures for the Philippines, like the country’s membership in Canada’s Transit Without Visa program, which allows eligible Filipino nationals to fly through Canada on their way to or from the US without a Canadian visa, as well as the Student Direct Stream, which offers expedited study permit processing to those who are applying to study in Canada,” the embassy said.

It added, “This initiative will also support Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, which aims to strengthen relations and invest in people-to-people ties between Canada and the Indo-Pacific region, including the Philippines.”

“This exciting development means that more individuals from the Philippines 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. This expansion not only enhances convenience for travelers; it will also increase travel, tourism and economic benefits, as well as strengthen our bond with the Philippines,” Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said.

Mélanie Joly, Minister of Global Affairs, said, “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, (sightseeing) or reunite with family and friends. 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.”

Individuals who already have a valid visa can continue to use it to travel to Canada.

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

Travelers can visit to find out if they are eligible for an eTA and how to apply for one.

The eTA is a digital travel document that most visa-exempt travelers need to travel to or transit through Canada by air.

The eTA application is used by Canadian officials 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.

The Philippines is one of the 13 additional countries whose eligible citizens may now benefit from visa-free travel.

Over the last ten years, Canada issued 466,936 temporary resident visas to citizens from the Philippines. These individuals, along with current US non-immigrant visa holders, may now be eligible for visa-free travel.