What is the change? Canada’s immigration minister announced that the country’s visa waiver program will be extended to citizens of the United Arab Emirates on June 5.

What does the change mean? UAE nationals may travel to Canada without needing to apply for a visitor visa for stays of up to six months for business, tourism or family visits.

  • Implementation time frame: June 5, 5:30 a.m. Eastern Time (1:30 p.m. Gulf Standard Time).
  • Visas/permits affected: Visa waiver.
  • Who is affected: UAE nationals visiting Canada for business, tourism or family visits.
  • Impact on processing times: Travelers will no longer need to apply for a visitor visa at a visa application center, but will need to apply online for an electronic travel authorization (eTA) before travel. eTAs are usually issued the same day.
  • Business impact: The visa waiver will facilitate business travel from the UAE to Canada and is intended to increase new business, trade and investment.
  • Next steps: Emiratis traveling to Canada starting June 5 may apply online for the eTA at the Canadian Government’s eTA webpage.

Background: The visa waiver was announced at a meeting between the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Monday. To apply for an eTA, travelers must have a valid passport, an email address and a credit card to pay the CA$7 government processing fee.

BAL Analysis: The visa waiver is good news for UAE business travelers. The UAE continues to actively pursue visa exemptions, having secured visa waiver agreements with several other countries in the past year, including China, Ireland, Paraguay, Switzerland, Uruguay and Ukraine. Emiratis intending to conduct work activities in Canada are reminded that work is not permitted on a visa wavier, and they must apply for the appropriate work permit.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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