Not entirely sure when this change happened but one can now apply for a visit visa to Canada online (assuming you live in the US). No idea why these changes are never publicized more broadly. Note that the following is still in place:
- Indian passport with valid US visa: Need to apply for a visit visa to Canada.
- Indian passport with valid US visa: Need to apply for a transit visa to Canada when transit is under 48 hours.
Of course, I think the CA government is still turning away money in droves by having this restriction in place. I have discarded countless trips to CA in the past 10 years simply because it would mean having to go get a visa. Especially when our neighbors to the south gladly welcome our $$ with open arms and no visas. I have redirected plenty of funds away from Air Canada simply because I would have to transit CA, and transiting CA requires a visa.
Paying for the privilege to transit a country is beyond me. I already pay taxes and fees to transit your airport. I then spend money at your airport while there. And you want me to pay a fee for that privilege? Thanks but no thanks. Yes, I am well aware that the US does the same thing….if I didn’t live here, I would make it a point to avoid the US for any transit purposes.
But really…an online application? Why not just go all the way and do a waiver? Mexico was smart enough to change that and rake in the tourism dollars. I now put a trip down there at least once a year as opposed to about once every 5 years when you were required to get a visa. If you have a valid US visa, then you are good to go. Why not adopt the same? Previously, getting to CA meant a visit to the Canadian consulate, an expensive fee (I believe I paid around USD 80 about 7 years ago….and decided it wasn’t worth it to spend a couple of days, lots of paper work and an additional $80 to jump on a $250 ticket to Vancouver from LA. My money goes to Mexico now instead.) and a ton of paper work.
Now the only difference is that its online. Sure, you saved a couple of days but still need to spend an additional $75 for the privilege. Oh, the plus point is that unlike before where you got a 30 day visa, you now get a 10 year multi entry one. Takes the sting out a lot for sure.
From my experience, Vancouver is an amazing place and I have no doubt that the rest of CA probably is equally so. I just wish they would be more welcoming!
Here is a link to determine what kind of visa you need (transit or visit) and determine eligibility for the online application vs in person.
NOTE: if you have a green card on an Indian passport, you don’t need to apply for a visa to visit Canada.