Canada places new requirements for entry

This is a privilege that they enjoyed for years, as St. Kitts and Nevis was just one of a few countries worldwide, whose citizens were exempt from such visa requirements. All that changed however when the Canadians took the very public decision amidst concerns over the Caribbean country’s Citizenship by Investment Program and the security weaknesses that were identified.

The new administration in St. Kitts has made this matter one of its top foreign affairs issue and is even making final arrangements to open, for the first time, an embassy in Ottawa.

But hough a new government has been installed in Basseterre, the Canadians seem determined to have greater control over who enters its borders, including those who may qualify as “economic citizens” of countries like St. Kitts and Nevis.

Even those countries that have maintained their visa-free status, like Barbados, will from next year have new guidelines to follow.

In a release this week, the Canadian Government confirmed that it has issued a revision to its new entry requirements for all visa-exempt travellers seeking to enter that country by air.

It said that from March 15, 2016, it will become mandatory for Barbadians travelling to Canada to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA).

The application must be submitted online and will be available from August 1, 2015.

This is due to the Canadian Government’s limited capacity to identify and screen foreign nationals who do not require a temporary resident visa to travel to Canada, continued the statement.

The application fee for the eTA is CDN$7 (approximately $12).

It said the new requirement is similar to the existing US Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) or Australian Electronic Travel Authority (eTA).

All persons with Barbadian passports are expected to have the eTA prior to their departure for Canada, and this includes all holders of diplomatic and official passports travelling on official or personal business. Only holders of diplomatic and official passports who are accredited to Canada will be exempt from this requirement.

Additionally, an application for a work or study permit would constitute an eTA application and therefore, a separate application would not be required.

Students in possession of the relevant student visa will be exempted.

The eTA programme, which is only applicable to visa exempt travellers arriving by air, will only require an online application. 

The vast majority of eTA applications will be auto-granted by an electronic system, and will be valid for five years, or until the passport expires or whichever comes first.

All Barbadian travellers arriving in Canada and in possession of an eTA will still be interviewed by a Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) official, who will determine final eligibility. Persons transiting Canada are also required to have an eTA prior to travelling.

Barbadians and other nationals of visa-exempt countries seeking further information on the new requirements may visit Canada Gazette’s website at http://canadagazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2015/2015-04-22/html/sor-dors77-eng.php.

 

 

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