Canada expands visa transit programme for Chinese

by Ray Clancy on May 21, 2015

Canada is expanding its China Transit Programme which allows eligible Chinese travellers to fly to and transit through Canada visa-free when they are enroute to and from the United States.

From 01 June, the programme will expand to three additional major transit hubs of Tokyo Narita, Tokyo Haneda, and Seoul Incheon, which are in addition to the Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Manila and Taipei airports that are already part of the programme.

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This expansion means more choice and greater flexibility for eligible Chinese travellers going through Canada

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said that this expansion means more choice and greater flexibility for eligible Chinese travellers to transit through Canada, and more business for participating airlines and Toronto Pearson and Vancouver International Airports, including additional revenue for airports through landing fees and spending by travellers.

He also announced that the Canadian government is simplifying the administrative process by which new airlines can participate in the China Transit Programme. This change will make it easier for airlines to carry eligible Chinese transit passengers through Toronto Pearson and Vancouver International Airports.

‘The Government of Canada is committed to the expansion of transit programmes and is assessing the eligibility of other departure cities in China to be added in the future,’ said Alexander.

Consultations with the air and tourism industries are ongoing as officials explores new opportunities for facilitating transit passengers through Canadian airports, particularly once the new Electronic Travel Authorisation system is implemented next year.

The Canada-China Air Transport Agreement, which was recently updated, has increased air traffic between Canada and China by approximately 14% between 2013 and 2014, to reach close to 1.5 million total one-way passenger trips.

China continues to be one of the top source countries for immigrants to Canada and is also a leading source country for international students and visitor visas. In 2014, for example, Canada issued a record 360,923 visas to Chinese citizens.

Other key ways Canada is facilitating travel for Chinese citizens includes expedited processing for visitors and businesspeople under such programs as CAN+ and the Business Express Programme and more broadly, the 10-year multiple entry visa.

In 2014, China was Canada’s second largest export market, with exports valued at nearly $19.3 billion, up 45.7% over the past five years.

‘The government is committed to facilitating legitimate trade and travel, including supporting Canada’s air industry efforts to attract more transit business to the country,’ said Alexander.

‘This expansion of the China Transit Programme will help generate more business for our airlines and airports, and could potentially lead to the opening of new routes and destinations, which would benefit all travellers, including Canadians,’ he added.

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