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Antiguan Nationals can no longer travel to Canada visa-free

Canada ends visa-free for Antigua and Barbuda citizens

Visa-free is no longer available for Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda. The Canadian government has made this decision in relation to individuals that obtain passports and citizenship by investment programmes in the Caribbean. The official statement from the Communications Branch for Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship, says, "After carefully monitoring the integrity of Antigua and Barbuda's travel documents, the Government of Canada has determined that Antigua an Barbuda no longer meets Canada's criteria for visa exemption."

Even though the government in Canada has ended visa-free for people of Antigua and Barbuda, the country will continue to welcome its citizens. However, they are now obliged to apply for a visa. Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda with an existing electronic travel authorization, the eTA, cannot use it to travel to Canada. An existing eTA is not valid to travel to Canada. The Canadian government will communicate to all affected eTA holders.

On the released statement Canada has also said that people from Antigua and Barbuda with an approved visa will receive a multiple-entry visa. This visa would allow travelers to visit Canada as often as they like for a period of up to 10 years. During each visit, the traveler can stay up to six months. The Canadian government has also specified that they appreciate the longstanding relationship they have with this country, "Canada remains firmly committed to its partnership with Antigua and Barbuda and values working together on mutual challenges and opportunities."

Several countries take stronger measures to improve security

Worldwide, there's a heightened concern toward terrorism and refugees, especially in North America and Europe. There's evidence that ISIS recruits in the Caribbean and Antigua's Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, recognized Canada's concerns over these real threats. Browne assured that Antigua and Barbuda would be cautious with passports and border security.

Many countries wish to monitor and pre-screen who is entering their land. Electronic travel authorization programs and e-visas are being established by many nations, including Egypt, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, and many others. Canada offers foreign visitors of visa-waiver countries the opportunity to apply for an electronic travel authorization, otherwise known as the eTA. The US has a similar program, the ESTA. The purpose of all of these electronic systems is to improve security and screen foreign visitors before they even travel. After careful consideration and conversation, the European Union has come up with their own electronic program, the ETIAS which will be effective as off 2020.

All electronic travel authorization programs link to the applicant's passport. They collect biographical data and compare it with other databases. An applicant must provide passport details, a valid email and a credit or debit card. Travelers are expected to provide information about their travel plans. As a whole, the process if easy to complete and do not take longer than 20 minutes. It should not come as a surprise that many more countries continue to work on strengthening security.

While some Antigua and Barbuda citizens have expressed concern over Canada's recent decision, they will be expected to apply for a visa. Meanwhile, Canada will continue to work on improving their border security even if they need to set more travel restrictions.