“All well that ends well! Visa-free travel between Canada & Antigua-Barbuda ended with introduction of revised travel regulation”

Beneficiaries of Antigua and Barbuda passport and citizens of the twin-island state travelling to Canada from now on-wards would require a visa. This happened after the North American country renounced an exemption for the twin-island state.

Government of Antigua and Barbuda regrets the decision taken by the Canadian authorities however the process went effective from June 27th, 2017.

The Communications Branch for Immigration; Refugees and Citizenship has this to say for the twin countries;

“Ties are long-lasting and rooted in history! The countries would however establish a healthy relationship mutually sharing opportunities and challenges that abound!”

However, the statement hasn’t been extended to the visa-free travel. Yet another bold citation added in conclusion to the above;

“After careful evaluation of the travel documents and relevant paperwork for Antigua and Barbuda in terms of integrity, government of Canada come to conclude that the twin-island state no longer meets the criterion for visa exemption as that of Canada”

And then came a warning

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda; none other than Gaston Browne along with his advisors learned about the decision from the Canadian government late following a statement directed towards citizenship by investment programme;

“The Canadian officials declared that citizenship by investment programme of Antigua and Barbuda is in actual not a residency programme”

Prime Minister Gaston Browne in response clarified on the strict, thorough and intense vetting of the programme and about revenues to the citizens of Antigua and Barbuda when it comes to threatening of the banking system as well as terms of trade and aid.

All existing electronic travel authorization (eTA) issued to bearers of Antigua and Barbuda passport are no longer valid henceforth travellers flying to Canada from the twin-island states won’t be able to use any such travel documents or paperwork.

Canadian government emailed to all the eTA holders informing them about validity of their travel documents being no longer effective.

Canada however is pleased to welcome visitors from Antigua and Barbuda whereas approved applicants are likely to receive multiple-entry visa with a validity of 10 years from the date of issuance. For each visa, a particular traveler can reside in Canada for six months.

Concerning all other travelers

Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda may submit online visa applications or in written either through mail service or visiting in person a registered Visa Application Center. The closest visa centre to the twin-island state is located in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

Most of the applications are processed within 14 working days following the submission date. Delays are rare and only if any complications arise in the application form.

Canadian officials further declared that per-booked travel plans or a previously valid electronic travel authorization (eTA) don’t guarantee issuance of a visa.

Events following effectiveness of the travel ban

To accelerate visa processing, all Antiguan and Barbudans already having pre-booked flights to Canada to be departed before July 11th, 2017 submitted complete application forms with proof of flight itinerary including relevant documents and fees directly to the visa office in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago for swift processing and convenience of all.

Applicants who visited the office in person before late noon have had their requests processed within a day whereas 24-hours for the applications that were received via courier service.

The visa-free travel ban came as a surprise and rather a blow for the twin-island state however in time, bearers of Antigua and Barbuda passport would reap long-term benefits as already observed.

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