Saint Lucia
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UK Suspends Dominica Visa Waiver, Saint Lucia next

WICNEWS – The United Kingdom government is formulating plans to suspend the current visa-waiver agreement with Dominica this July. Following this initial action, similar suspensions are set to be implemented in a phased approach for St Lucia, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, and St Kitts and Nevis by the end of 2023.

This targeted action against multiple Caribbean nations, particularly those offering Citizenship by Investment Programmes, has been reported by the Miami-based news outlet, Associates Times.

The news provider said this significant decision will be announced during the present week and is expected to be the first phase in the broader execution of the recently announced ETA – Electronic Travel Authorisation System.

According to the Associates Times, this policy shift aims to enhance national security and streamline the immigration process. The report also predicts that, following the initial phase, these Caribbean nations will likely be incorporated into the list of countries requiring Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) by the end of the current year. However, the specifics of these projections are still not clear.

Furthermore, the UK government has also decided to suspend the visa waiver agreement with the Commonwealth of Dominica as its first step before the introduction of ETA. Associates Times reported that this decision will come as the UK plans to add the island of Dominica, among other Caribbean countries, to the list of eligible nations for ETA.

The UK government introduced the Electronic Travel Authorisation System on Tuesday, July 18, which requires travellers travelling to the UK without a visa to need an electronic document. It enables people to enter and stay in a nation for a specific time.

To get an ETA document, a person must fill out an online application form with personal information, including their name, passport details and travel purpose. This recent change by the UK seems to follow the footsteps of Canada in 2017. During that time, Canada strategically decided to suspend the visa-free waiver agreements with nations that are part of the OECS – Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States in two separate phases.

Like the UK’s present plan, the decision strived to ease immigration procedures and robust national security. The move was seen as a major step to modernise Canada’s immigration framework, and it appears the UK government is keen to imitate this success by implementing its own ETA system (Electronic Travel Authorisation).

It is to be noted that Canada removed visa waivers with Caribbean nations in two phases. The first phase launched on June 27, 2017, in which Canada withdrew visa-free travel for the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda. During the second wave, the country removed visa waivers for all other nations within the OECS, such as Grenada, Dominica, Saint Lucia and St Kitts and Nevis.

Associates Times also said that the Canadian government had not stated the reasons behind the removal of visa waivers for Caribbean nations. But, it is possible that the decision was made to boost its immigration process.

But, Canada reintroduced its visa-free travel in June 2023 for eligible travellers from 13 new nations, including OECS countries such as St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda and others.

The citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia who earlier held a Canadian visitor visa within the past ten years or presently hold a valid United States non-immigrant visa were eligible to apply for an ETA instead of a Visa.

As per the information provided by Associates Times, the UK government is anticipated to extend its policy revamp beyond the initial group of nations. In the initial phase, the visa-free travel agreements with other OECS or other Caribbean countries will likely be suspended.

The predictions of the Miami-based news website added that, as of the first stage, these countries would then be incorporated into the ETA system, further extending the UK’s modernised immigration framework.

The move signifies the commitment of the UK to fortify national security and enhance immigration management, reflecting the earlier successful strategy by Canada. The exact timeline, as well as the list of nations to be impacted during the next phase, are yet to be announced by the UK, said Associates Times.

The preceeding was originally published by WICNEWS. Original article can be found here.