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Two African countries included on list of countries now eligible to visit Canada without a visa
Two African countries included on list of countries now eligible to visit Canada without a visa

Two African countries included on list of countries now eligible to visit Canada without a visa

Canada has expanded its list of countries whose residents are now eligible to visit without a travel visa, with Morocco and Seychelles among the African countries included.

Residents of 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, and Uruguay can now travel to Canada by air for up to six months without a visa, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The move aims to facilitate travel, strengthen global bonds, and enhance economic and tourism benefits between Canada and these 13 countries. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser expressed enthusiasm, stating that the expansion would allow more individuals worldwide to embark on unforgettable adventures, reunite with loved ones, and immerse themselves in Canada's vibrant culture without the burden of visa requirements.

Residents from these countries will be added to the existing list of over 50 places whose travellers are visa-exempt and eligible for an electronic travel authorization (eTA). To be eTA-eligible, individuals must have held a Canadian visa in the past 10 years or possess a valid non-immigrant visa from the United States. The eTA is a $7 pre-screening entry requirement linked to a traveller's passport, valid for five years, and allows for multiple short stays in Canada. The government release highlighted that eTA applications are swiftly approved within minutes.

The expansion of the visa-exempt list is also expected to reduce the visa caseload by diverting thousands of applications, thereby shortening the processing time, which can vary depending on the traveller's country of origin.

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly noted that the inclusion of certain countries, particularly the Philippines, aligns with Canada's Indo-Pacific Strategy, aimed at fostering closer ties in the region. Joly emphasized the importance of expanding the eTA program to make travel to Canada easier, faster, and safer, thereby strengthening people-to-people connections.

Canada anticipates a 20% increase in visitors from these 13 countries, which could generate nearly $160 million in tourism revenue over the next decade, according to the government release. The removal of visa requirements will not only promote convenience for travellers but also boost travel, tourism, and economic ties between Canada and the included nations.

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