Canada has declared that eligible Filipinos traveling for business or leisure purposes by air will be offered visa-free entry, as Philippines joins the country’s Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) program. This move aligns with Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, aiming to simplify travel procedures for individuals across the globe, reported the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Eligibility Criteria and Process
Eligible categories for the visa-free entry include Philippine passport holders who, in the past ten years, have held a Canadian visitor’s visa or currently possess a valid United States non-immigrant visa. These travelers are required to apply for an eTA instead of a visa. The application process can be done through the website Canada.ca/eTA, a platform designed for ‘light-touch and pre-travel screening of air travelers’. The eTA application costs 7 Canadian dollars or approximately 300 peso. However, travelers who already have a valid visa can use it to travel to Canada.
Additional Programs for Filipino Travellers
The decision supplements other existing measures for Filipino travelers, such as Canada’s Transit Without Visa program and the Student Direct Stream. These programs aim to facilitate and encourage travel between the two countries.
The Contrast with Kuwait
Interestingly, the announcement comes at a time when Kuwait has imposed a ban on Filipino domestic workers and initiated a campaign to deport them. This situation underlines a stark contrast in immigration policies between Canada and Kuwait.
In summary, Canada’s new policy of visa-free entry for eligible Filipino travelers signifies its commitment to fostering stronger ties with the Philippines, and contrasts with the approach taken by countries such as Kuwait. This decision not only simplifies travel but also opens up opportunities for Filipinos to explore business, leisure, and study options in Canada.