Canada allows visa-free access to some Filipinos

For most Filipinos, travelling to any Western country or country with a complete set of four seasons will require a visa, even for tourist purposes.  Getting a visa can be a time-consuming, expensive, and nerve-wracking process.  They know they need to gather evidence to demonstrate they are responsible and self-sustaining travellers.  However one country is going to make travelling simpler for the Philippines.

Effective June 6 2023, Canada is going to include the Philippines in its electronic travel authority (eTA) programme.  This means certain Filipinos can travel to Canada without having to secure a traditional Canadian visa.  

Vancouver International Airport
Image source: Iqbal Sikander/Wikimedia

However Filipino travellers must meet several requirements to use the scheme.  They must have held a Canadian visa issued within past 10 years or currently hold a valid non-immigrant US visa (e.g. B1/B2, F1 student visa, H1B work visa).  They must also plan to enter canada by air transport.  These are in addition to the usual admissibility requirements all travellers must meet at the border (e.g. no criminal record, no intention to take up paid income or long-term study).  

US lawful permanent residents (also known as "green card" holders) are already granted visa-free access to Canada for short-term visits under separate legislation.

In addition to the Philippines, travellers from these countries who meet the said requirements may avail of the scheme:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Costa Rica
  • Morocco
  • Panama
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Seychelles
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uruguay 
Travellers can check their eligibility and/or apply for an eTA by visiting  The application fee for an eTA is C$7 and must be paid via a credit/debit card online (US$5.30, £4.13, €4.85).  The approval takes minutes and must be secured before travel.   

This scheme means Filipinos who hold a non-immigrant US visa can travel anywhere in North America (e.g. US, Canada, Mexico).  Mexico has a similar policy of allowing visa-free access to Filipinos who currently hold a US visa.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser remarks “This exciting development means that more individuals from around the world can now embark on unforgettable adventures, explore our diverse landscapes, reunite with family and friends, and immerse themselves in our vibrant culture without the hurdle of visa requirements. This expansion not only enhances convenience for travellers, it will also increase travel, tourism and economic benefits, as well as strengthen global bonds with these 13 countries.” 

Philippine Airlines flies nonstop to Vancouver daily and Toronto twice a week.  Additionally, Filipinos can connect via Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul-Incheon, and Tokyo to travel to Canada.

Source: Canada's Government website


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