The Canadian government introduced a new program that will facilitate travel through Canadian airports yesterday. Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Canada Minister Jason Kenney, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan and International Trade and the Pacific Gateway Minister Stockwell Day announced the Transit Without Visa program, which will allow certain international travelers en route to the United States to pass through Canadian airports without a Canadian transit visa.

“Removing the requirement for a Canadian transit visa will make Canadian airports more attractive for international travelers going to and from the United States,” said Minister Kenney. “This will help airports expand their business, which will in turn have a positive impact on the local economy.”

Currently, the program is open to nationals from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan who are traveling to the US, on a valid US visa, through Vancouver International Airport in Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition, they must be traveling one on of the following airlines: Philippine Airlines, China Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways.

The government envisions expanding the program to include additional airports in Canada, as well as additional international airlines and foreign nationals. Major Canadian airports will now be able to apply for similar status as Vancouver International Airport, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) says that the government will make a full assessment of each request.

“We are embarked on a robust trade agenda to open doors for Canadian business in markets around the world. We are taking action here today to facilitate the flow of people and goods over the border so they can seek opportunities abroad and create jobs at home,” Day said.

At the same time, CIC announced a new trial program called the China Transit Trial, which will allow Chinese nationals with valid US visas to travel through Vancouver International Airport on their way to and from the US without a Canadian transit visa. They must be traveling on one of the pre-authorized airlines above, on non-stop direct flights to Vancouver from:

  • Beijing;
  • Hong Kong;
  • Shanghai;
  • Guangzhou;
  • Manila; or
  • Taipei.