Montreal, CA – Traveling to Canada has become a more intricate process in recent years. Not only is it a more arduous process, it is one that not everyone has been able to obtain approval from. This was made evident at an Artificial Intelligence (AI) research conference held in Montreal, Canada on December 7th. The conference was conducted without the presence of a number of worldly researchers whose visas were denied.
The conference, Black in AI, is meant to encourage global collaboration and networking amongst black people involved in the AI field. This year, the conference was held in Montreal, which was seemingly an ideal place for it to take place. Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, has been known for his support of Canada’s enthusiastic welcoming of knowledgeable immigrants.
However, over 100 researchers who had planned to attend this conference and present their work were unable to do so because of the denial or postponement of their visas. A lot of these researchers hail from African countries, which aren’t included in Canada’s visa exemptions.
However, researchers from visa exempt countries, like those located within the European Union, were able to attend the conference by completing a different process. These travelers only had to acquire an eTA to Canada. Canada began requiring eTAs for visa exempt travelers in 2016 as a security measure and to prevent people from staying in the country longer than legally allowed. Obtaining an eTA is a process that can be done online through companies like International Visa Service.
International Visa Service has been known to simplify the process of obtaining an eTA for travelers like the ones attending the AI conference. Those wishing to travel to Canada (or other countries) can fill out an eTA application form online through International Visa Service’s website. They only need a form of payment, a passport, and a valid email address.
In as few as 3 days, the eTA is immediately linked with the traveler’s passport upon its approval. International Visa Service recommends that travelers from visa exempt countries apply for their eTAs as soon as possible in order to ease the process and get ahead of any unforeseen issues.
The travel restrictions that the requirement of eTAs and visas present have been seen as an obstruction of international communication within Canada. While requiring visas from some travelers and eTAS from others is meant to minimize security threats, the process weakens Canada’s attempts at inclusiveness. However, the damage is minimized by companies like International Visa Service who make the process of applying for eTAs and visas easier with their online applications and assistance.