27 September 2006

Estonians now visa free for Canada

The Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (CIC), announced today that Estonian citizens no longer require a temporary resident visa to visit Canada.

In a press release issued today, the Minister announced that Canada's analysis of Estonia indicates that they are ready for a visa exemption.

"Canada has the largest community of Estonians outside of Estonia and we enjoy strong trade and tourism ties. This decision will help build on that relationship," said Minister Solberg.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada regularly reviews the visa requirements placed on citizens from other countries who want to visit Canada.

Those reviews are done on a country by country basis to see if they warrant potential visa exemptions or the removal of an exemption. Country reviews weigh the risks and benefits of visa-free travel to Canada.

Possible risks to Canada include abuse of Canada's tradition of refugee protection,passport fraud or organized crime in the country under review. Some of the benefits to Canada may include increased trade and tourism.

By law, all visitors to Canada require a temporary resident visa, except citizens of countries where an exemption has been granted.

Visa requirements are Canada's first line of defence in maintaining the safety and health of Canadians where travellers to Canada are concerned. The visa is also an effective way to protect the integrity of Canada's immigration and refugee programs while facilitating the entry of legitimate visitors.

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