Fake News: Canada Did NOT Open Borders To Zimbabwean Visitors, Visa Still Required

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Canada Did NOT Open Borders To Zimbabwean Visitors, Visa Still Required

Can citizens of Zimbabwe now visit Canada for up to 90 days without needing a visa? No, that's not true: a fake news site with a misleading domain name that pretends to be the New York Times said the requirement had been waved but the story is not real.

The story originated from an article published by nytiwes.com (not nytimes.comΓ  on September 17, 2018 titled "Canada Opens its Borders to Zimbabwean visitors | No visa required for stay up to 90 days" (archived here) which opened:

The Canadian government has scrapped visa requirements for Zimbabwean visitors traveling on Tourism and Business grounds for a stay up to 90 days.

This marks the third phase of Canada's visa policy.

The 2017 Tourist Arrivals and Receipts report, which recommended a visa-free travels for Zimbabweans, saw Zimbabwe as 12% contributors to Canada's tourism revenue with 0.001% immigration risk. This positions Zimbabwe as the highest contributor to the Canadian tourism industry after the United States and Germany who contribute 23%. and 13% respectively.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail so some of them might have mistaken it for real news:

Canada Opens its Borders to Zimbabwean visitors | No visa required for stay up to 90 days

The Canadian government has scrapped visa requirements for Zimbabwean visitors traveling on Tourism and Business grounds for a stay up to 90 days.

However according to the "immigration" section on the official website of the Canadian government, people from Zimbabwe are still required to get a visa first before entering the country:

Find out if you need a visa

You need to apply online for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). You can apply with a valid passport, a credit or a debit card, and an email address.

The website that pushed the hoax is part of a larger network of fake news websites that has pushed several fake stories about visa-free travel in the past, along with many other fake stories. A while ago a large part of the network shut down after a Lead Stories investigation but it seems to have reactivated lately with some new sites:

Global Fake News Network Responsible For Dozens of Death Hoaxes Shuts Down After Ghana Connections Revealed | Lead Stories

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below. On April 17, 2018 former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away but a full day earlier an article prematurely announcing her death from a website pretending to be CNN managed to rack up a combined 2.3 million likes, shares and comments on Facebook.

We wrote about nytiwes.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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