On May 6, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced changes to its Transit Without Visa (“TWOV”) Program.
In July 2009, CIC in co-operation with the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) announced the formalization of the TWOV Program pilot at Vancouver International Airport (“VIA”) in July 2009. The TWOV Program allows certain foreign nationals with valid United States visas, travelling to and from the United States, to transit through Canada without having to first obtain a Canadian visa.
The objective of the TWOV Program is to facilitate the movement of bona fide travellers transiting through Canada while maintaining the security of Canadians and the integrity of Canada’s immigration and refugee protection programs. This program will also improve the international competitiveness of Canadian airports by making them more attractive to airlines and travellers originating from or destined to the United States.
Eligible Foreign Nationals
The TWOV Program applies only to nationals of the following four countries:
- The Philippines;
- Taiwan (Note: does not apply to holders of the ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan with personal identification number. These individuals are already waived from a visa requirement.); and
In order to be eligible to travel under the TWOV Program, nationals of these countries must:
- Be in possession of a valid visa issued by the United States;
- Be in possession of a valid passport issued by the authorities of a participating country;
- Hold a confirmed onward ticket for a connecting flight that departs Canada immediately (foreign nationals transiting Canada under the TWOV Program may not seek entry to Canada as temporary residents); and
- Arrive in Canada on an airline that has an up-to-date TWOV Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CIC and the CBSA; and transit through an approved Canadian airport.
The following airlines have an up-to-date TWOV MOU with CIC and the CBSA, and are therefore eligible to carry TWOV passengers:
- Cathay Pacific Airways;
- Philippine Airlines;
- Air Canada; and
- Jazz Aviation LP.
The TWOV Program was initially available through VIA. However, it has now expanded to include Toronto’s Pearson International Airport (“PIA”) (Terminal 1 only). Effective March 27, 2011 the only two Canadian airports at which this program is eligible are the VIA and PIA (Terminal 1 only).