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Many visitors to Canada will pay $7 fee beginning next year under security plan

Many visitors to Canada will pay $7 fee beginning next year under security plan

Posted by Shanelle Weir on June 25, 2014

Millions of visitors to Canada will pay a $7 application fee beginning next April under a new electronic security screening plan. The federal government announced the fee Friday for online travel applications, a key element of the perimeter pact with the United States intended to protect the continent from security threats.

Foreign nationals who currently do not need a visa to visit Canada -- including people from Britain, France and many other countries -- would have to successfully apply for a so-called electronic travel authorization before arriving by air.

U.S. citizens would be exempted from the requirement. Visitors would apply through the Citizenship and Immigration website by entering biographic details, passport and background information -- the kind of data now requested by officers at Canadian entry ports or in a visa application.

Officials would verify the information against immigration and enforcement databases and conduct a risk assessment of the applicant. Canada expects approximately 3.5 million electronic travel authorization applications annually. "The information required by these proposed amendments would allow Canada to determine the admissibility of foreign nationals before they arrive at the border and whether their travel poses migration or security risks," says the federal notice published Friday.

In 2012--2013, more than 7,000 visa-exempt foreign nationals were found ineligible to enter Canada for various reasons upon arriving in Canada by air, the government says. That includes 28 people who had previously been handed removal orders and were trying to return to Canada without authorization.

Reasons for refusing entry can include membership in terrorist or organized crime groups, espionage, participation in war crimes, human rights violations or endangerment of public health due to tuberculosis or other conditions.

"At present, the government of Canada does not possess the necessary authority to screen these individuals before they travel to Canada," the federal notice says. "This causes significant expense, delay and inconvenience for the inadmissible foreign national, other travellers, airlines and the Canadian government."

Under the new system, unwelcome travellers would be advised before getting on a plane to Canada.

 

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