February 24, 2016
Travelers Continue to Benefit From Canada’s Shift to Multiple-Entry Visas
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada recently revealed that the issuance of long-term multiple-entry visas (rather than single-entry visas), should now be considered the standard. Travelers to Canada can now enjoy a more flexible and convenient application process.
If you are travelling from a country that requires a visa to enter Canada, you must apply for and obtain a visitor visa, which is also known as a temporary resident visa, before you can enter. Put simply, a single-entry visa allows a person to enter Canada once, while a multiple-entry visa allows individuals to enter Canada several times during the period of their visa validity. Presently, it is at the discretion of the reviewing Immigration Officer to decide whether to refuse the application, or approve it by issuing either a single or multiple-entry visa. In 2014, the Conservative government announced that all visa applicants would automatically be considered for multiple-entry visas, even if the application was made for a single-entry visa. Now, this shift to multiple-entry visas is growing momentum as the new Liberal government seems to be taking things one step further. On February 19th, 2016, they announced that if single-entry visas are issued, the reviewing Immigration Officer is required to provide an explanation as to why this was chosen rather than a multiple-entry visa. This explanation is to be included in the application notes.
As it has become obligatory to include the reasons behind the decision, Immigration Officers are required to explain why they felt their decision was justifiable in the circumstances, possibly making it easier to hold officers accountable for unreasonable decisions.
If you are from a country that does not require a visa to travel to Canada, starting March 15th, 2016, if you are planning to fly to or transit through Canada by air, you will be required to get an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Permanent Residents of Canada are exempt from this requirement, provided that they hold a valid Permanent Resident (PR) Card. Starting March 15th, 2016, before anyone travelling to Canada can board, an eTA or a PR Card needs to be presented. If your PR card is expired, you will need to obtain a travel document before being able to board the plane.