Canada has announced that it will include the Philippines in its Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) program, granting eligible Filipinos visa-free entry for both business and leisure purposes when traveling by air. The decision aims to facilitate travel and strengthen ties between the two countries.
Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly expressed enthusiasm for welcoming more visitors to Canada and highlighted the importance of expanding engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.
The inclusion of the Philippines in the eTA program is effective immediately and applies to Philippine passport holders who have held a Canadian visitor's visa in the past 10 years or a valid United States non-immigrant visa.
Eligible Filipinos will only need to apply for an eTA instead of a visa, simplifying the travel process. The eTA application, available at Canada.ca/eTA, costs 7 Canadian dollars (approximately PHP300) and involves a light-touch and pre-travel screening by Canadian officials.
Most applications are automatically approved within minutes, making the process efficient for travelers.
Existing visa holders can continue to use their valid visas for travel to Canada. However, those who do not qualify for an eTA or who plan to travel to Canada by means other than air (such as car, bus, train, boat, or cruise ship) will still require a visitor visa.
The Canadian Embassy in Manila highlighted the benefits of visa-free air travel, such as faster, easier, and more affordable trips for thousands of known Filipino travelers to Canada for up to six months, whether for business or leisure purposes.
This move is expected to boost travel, tourism, and international business between the two countries while strengthening people-to-people and cultural ties.
Canada's decision to include the Philippines in the eTA program complements its existing mobility measures for Filipino nationals, including membership in the Transit Without Visa program, which allows eligible Filipinos to transit through Canada on their way to or from the United States without a Canadian visa.
Additionally, the Student Direct Stream expedites study permit processing for Filipino students applying to study in Canada.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo welcomed the inclusion of the Philippines in the eTA program, describing it as a milestone that reflects Canada's growing friendship and trust in the Philippines. He emphasized the strong people-to-people ties between the two nations and expressed optimism about a new era of engagement under this policy.