What is the change? Canada has added five cities to its China Transit Program, more than doubling the number of mainland Chinese cities in the program.

What does the change mean? Chinese nationals departing from Chengdu, Fuzhou, Harbin, Shenyang or Xiamen may now travel to the U.S. via international airports in Toronto or Vancouver without obtaining a Canadian visa. Other cities with airports in the program are Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Manila, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: The new policy eliminates the need for certain travelers to obtain visas when transiting through Toronto or Vancouver to the U.S.
  • Who is affected: Chinese nationals traveling from any of the cities listed above to the U.S. via Toronto or Vancouver.
  • Business impact: Canadian officials hope the expansion of the program will bring business and help ensure that Canada’s airlines remain competitive internationally.
  • Next steps: Travelers can determine whether they are eligible for visa-free transit to the U.S. by visiting Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website on the program’s eligibility requirements.

Background: The China Transit Program has grown significantly in recent months. News that five additional Chinese airports have been added followed the addition of the Tokyo Narita, Tokyo Haneda, and Seoul Incheon airports in June. In order to be eligible, travelers must hold a valid Chinese passport and U.S. visa and must be traveling through Toronto or Vancouver to the U.S. They must also travel on one of the 10 airlines approved for the program: Air Canada, Air Canada rouge, Air China, Air Georgian, Cathay Pacific, China Southern Airlines, Jazz, Philippine Airlines, Sky Regional Airlines and WestJet.

BAL Analysis: Chinese nationals traveling from any of more than a dozen cities in China and other Asian countries can now benefit from visa-free transit through Canada to the U.S.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Canada. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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