CaribbeanPolicy Updates

Antigua, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts Gain Visa-Free Access to Canada (With Exceptions)

In a press release issued today Sean Fraser – Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship – announced the addition of 13 countries to the electronic travel authorization (eTA) program. Among the countries included on the list were CBI countries Antigua & Barbuda, Saint Kitts & Nevis, and Saint Lucia. Nationals of these countries who have either held a Canadian visa in the last ten years or who currently hold valid United States non-immigrant visas can now apply for an eTA, rather than a visa, when traveling to Canada by air.

Similar to the United States’ ESTA (and the long-planned-but-still-delayed European ETIAS), most visa-exempt nationalities still need an eTA for Canada. Eligible nationalities can apply for an eTA online and typically obtain approvals within minutes. Once approved, the eTA typically has a validity of five years.

Antiguans, Saint Lucians, and Kittitians who have not had a Canadian visa in the last 10 years, don’t currently hold a valid US visa, and those entering Canada by land or sea, will still need to obtain ordinary visas. Those who already hold a valid Canadian visa can continue to use it for entering Canada.

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Beyond enhancing the travel freedom of Caribbean nationals, the development represents a positive turn for the CBI sector. When it first revoked Antigua & Barbuda’s visa-free travel to Canada six years ago, the Canadian High Commission had cited “concerns over persons who obtain passports under Citizenship by Investment Programmes in the Caribbean.”

Today’s reinstatement implies that Antigua & Barbuda – as well as Saint Kitts & Nevis and Saint Lucia – has been able to mollify Canada’s concerns about citizenship by investment vetting.

“This exciting development means that more individuals from around the world can now embark on unforgettable adventures, explore our diverse landscapes, reunite with family and friends, and immerse themselves in our vibrant culture without the hurdle of visa requirements,” commented Minister Fraser in the press release. “This expansion not only enhances convenience for travellers, it will also increase travel, tourism and economic benefits, as well as strengthen global bonds with these 13 countries.”

The 10 other countries on the list, which included several popular investment migration destinations, were:

  • Argentina
  • Costa Rica
  • Morocco
  • Panama
  • Philippines
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Seychelles
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uruguay

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