OTTAWA — The United States will no longer require a short-term visa to visit the country from November following changes from the previous government, a new agreement between the United States and Canada announced Friday.
The two countries also agreed to lift the length of time Americans must spend in Canada before obtaining a visa from 2019.
In a Sept. 21, 2014, memo to then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, then-Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said that Americans would need a visa to visit Canada for 90 days or fewer under the normal trimester schedule starting Nov. 15.
Since then, Canada has scaled back the limits to 60 days, but Americans have continued to need visas to visit Canada. The new agreement will eliminate this requirement on short-term visitors to Canada starting Nov. 30.
“These changes are a result of the continued U.S.-Canada close diplomatic and security relationship and a successful bi-lateral free trade agreement,” said Carla Qualtrough, minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
She added: “These visas are a barrier for travelers, and eliminating them will increase convenience and improve security for travelers in both countries.”
The agreement to end the 90-day visa requirement also calls for the United States to remove a system that measured visitors’ “seasons” by means of a new system developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The shortened visa requirement also will mean that Americans are required to stay in Canada for 90 days or fewer.
The new visa rules also outline a timeline for the American visa waiver program to be reviewed in April 2020 and implemented a year later. In 2015, more than 605,000 Americans qualified for the program; Canadian travel specialists estimate that more than one million Americans visit Canada each year.
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