Fri | Sep 22, 2023

Canada allowing visa-free travel for some Caribbean travellers

Published:Wednesday | June 7, 2023 | 12:51 AM


Canada Tuesday said it will allow visa-free travel to “known travellers” from 13 more countries, including St Vincent and the Grenadines passport holders.

The visa-free travel has been extended to Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts-Nevis, Panama, Argentina, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Morocco, Seychelles, Thailand and the Philippines.

Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, said that the “known travellers” will be allowed entry into the country after obtaining an electronic travel authorisation.

A known traveller is someone who currently holds a Canadian visa, obtained one over the last 10 years or holds a valid United States visa. The electronic travel authorisation will be valid for five years, or until the holder’s passport expires, whichever comes first.

The visa-free travel comes 11 years after Canada imposed visa requirements for St Vincent and the Grenadines passport holders, expressing concerns about the integrity of the issuing procedures in Kingstown.

Canada had claimed that some passport holders who had been deported from the North American country had returned on passports in different names.

The Ralph Gonsalves government rejected the concerns saying that the Vincentian passport is issued only after a rigorous process of document authentication.

Fraser described Tuesday’s announcement as “very good news” that will facilitate more people visiting Canada.

He said that Canada is “a nation of newcomers”, noting that with the exception of the indigenous population, every chapter of the nation’s history is written by immigrants, including his own family that arrived in Canada 250 years ago.