Barbadians to be screened before entering Canada
Barbadians will have to undergo prior screening for approval to enter Canada, from April next year.
The Canadian government has advised that the process will apply to all foreign nationals of visa-exempt countries.
“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, it will be introducing the new Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) which is a new electronic document requirement for visa-exempt travellers entering by air,” a statement from the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) informed.
The application fee for the eTA is CDN$7 (approximately BDS$12).
The new requirement is similar to the existing US Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) or Australian Electronic Travel Authority (eTA).
As a consequence, all people with Barbadian passports are expected to have the eTA prior to their departure for Canada. This includes all holders of diplomatic and official passports travelling to Canada 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 also be exempted.
The eTA programme was first announced by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan in December, 2011.
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 will also be required to have an eTA prior to travelling.
Although the programme will be rolled out in April 2015, it will become mandatory in October of the same year.
During this six-month grace period, Barbadian travellers not in possession of an eTA will not be refused entry to Canada.