Canada’s Visa-Free Travel Expansion: Benefits and Missed Opportunities

In a significant move aimed at improving travel and immigration programs, Canada has expanded its list of visa-free countries, allowing eligible travellers from 13 additional nations to benefit from the electronic travel authorization (eTA) program. The announcement, made by the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, is expected to reduce wait times for visa applications globally, leading to faster decisions for Canadian visa applicants.


The 13 countries to benefit from the Canada visa-free program are 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.

One of the key advantages of this expansion is the diversion of thousands of applications from Canada’s visa caseload. By streamlining the visa process, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) can allocate resources more efficiently, resulting in benefits for all visa applicants.

As of now, individuals applying for Canadian visas from Ghana face a waiting period of 350 days, while applicants from Nigeria endure an astonishing wait of 737 days. The inclusion of the 13 countries in the visa-free travel list will significantly reduce processing times, alleviating the burden on applicants.


While the news of visa-free entry for 13 additional countries into Canada is undoubtedly welcomed, argues that the Canadian government could have gone a step further by extending this privilege to every nation. The current announcement grants visa-free travel to individuals from the mentioned countries who have previously held a Canadian visa in the past 10 years or hold a valid United States non-immigrant visa. If only those falling under these specific conditions can benefit from visa-free travel, then it raises questions as to why this opportunity was not extended to nationals of all countries. It’s worth noting that Canadian visa applications from individuals who have previously held Canadian visas or possess valid visas for the United States tend to have an almost 100% success rate.

Nonetheless, this expansion is a significant stride towards making travel to Canada more accessible and efficient for individuals from the 13 included nations. With the anticipation of increased tourism revenue and strengthened global relationships, Canada’s visa-free travel policy sets the stage for a more connected and vibrant future.

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Akesse Sanza

Akesse Sanza is a Ghanaian Travel Blogger, Travel and Tourism Consultant, and Anti-human Trafficking And Safe Migration advocate. Akesse loves everything Travel & Tourism and aims to see every single country in the world.

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