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Canadian Immigration Blog


Canada Says “Adios” to Visas for Mexico!

July 11, 2016
airplane Chris Collette

Tens of thousands of Mexican nationals visit, work, and study in Canada every year. However, getting into Canada has not always been a simple affair with visa requirements having changed on numerous occasions over the past decade.

In July 2009, Canada introduced visa requirements on Mexican nationals owing in part to an increase in asylum claims and immigration violations during the years prior. Since that time, Mexican citizens seeking entry to Canada to visit, study, or work have required a visa.

Five years later, in March 2014, former Minister of Immigration Chris Alexander announced the CAN+ program to expedite visa processing for Mexican nationals wishing to visit Canada who had visited Canada or the United States within the previous 10 years.

Last week, a new development aimed at further facilitating travel to Canada took place: Prime Minister Trudeau announced Canada’s intention to lift the visa requirement for Mexican visitors. Canadian officials are currently working with their Mexican counterparts on final details to ensure a successful visa lift. The goal is to encourage travel between Canada and Mexico while minimizing asylum claims or other irregular migration.

Until November 30, 2016 the current visa requirements will remain in place, and Mexican citizens will need to apply for a visa to visit, study or work in Canada. Beginning December 1, 2016, however, citizens of Mexico will no longer require a visa; those seeking to enter Canada will only require an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). Visitors will generally be allowed a six-month stay from the day they enter Canada, although a Border Services Officer could impose a different duration.

After the changes occur, students and workers will still need to apply for study and work permits. It is not yet clear whether applicants will need to submit these applications in advance of their arrival or whether they will be able to submit them upon arrival at a port of entry, as is currently possible for citizens of many visa-exempt countries.

The Prime Minister’s office has indicated that additional information will be provided to Mexican citizens in advance of the visa lift, including details on when Mexican travelers can begin applying for their ETA.

This announcement was followed by others made in the spirit of improving travel and economic cooperation between Canada, Mexico and the United States, including the implementation of a Trusted Traveller arrangement. This arrangement will allow members of the NEXUS program to apply to the Mexican equivalent Viajero Confiable program, and vice versa. Those approved will be eligible for expedited processing at land ports of entry and upon arrival when travelling between the three countries.

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