Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda travelling to Canada will need a visa after the North American country lifted an exemption for the twin-island state.
The new process began 27 June at 5.30am Eastern Time.
The Antigua and Barbuda government has said that it regrets the decision by Canadian authorities.
According to a statement from Canada’s Communications Branch for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the two countries “share longstanding ties that are rooted in history” and the two will continue “working together on mutual challenges and opportunities.”
But this does not extend to visa-free travel.
“After carefully monitoring the integrity of Antigua and Barbuda’s travel documents, the government of Canada has determined that Antigua and Barbuda no longer meet Canada’s criteria for a visa exemption,” the statement added.
Warning last week
Citizens from Antigua and Barbuda will now need a visa to travel to Canada.
WIC News understands that Prime Minister Gaston Browne and his advisors learned of the decision late last week.
In a statement, Browne’s administration said they were told the move related to citizenship by investment.
“At the time, the Canadian official said that a concern is that Antigua and Barbuda’s citizenship by investment program is not a residency program.
“In response, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne pointed to the intense vetting of its CIP system, the revenues to the people of Antigua and Barbuda when the terms of trade and aid have declined and the banking system is threatened.”
From today, any existing electronic travel authorisation (eTA) issued to an Antigua and Barbuda passport holder will no longer be valid and these travellers will not be able to use their eTA to travel to Canada.
The government of Canada is sending emails to all affected eTA holders to inform them that their eTAs are no longer valid and that they will need a visa to travel to Canada.
“Canada continues to welcome visitors from Antigua and Barbuda. Most approved visa applicants will receive a multiple-entry visa, which allows travellers to visit Canada as many times as they want, for up to 10 years,” officials from Canada said.
“For each visit, travellers can stay for up to six months. Travellers with questions or concerns should take note of the following.”
For travellers in Antigua and Barbuda (with confirmed flights to Canada during the next two weeks)
To help speed up visa processing, citizens who are in Antigua and Barbuda and who have already booked a flight to Canada, departing on or before 11 July, can send their complete visa application, along with proof that they purchased their flight before 27 June, the appropriate fees and supporting documents, directly to the Visa Office in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, for priority processing.
If they go in person before noon, their application will be processed that day. If they send via courier, their application will be processed within 24 hours.
All other travellers
Antiguan and Barbudan citizens can apply online for a visas or submit a paper application in person or by mail to any Visa Application Centre.
The Visa Application Centre in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, is the closest one to Antigua and Barbuda.
Most applications (around 80%) are processed within 14 days.
Canadian officials have pointed out that having pre-booked travel plans or a previously valid eTA does not guarantee that a traveller will be issued a visa.