On December 1, 2016, the Government of Canada lifted the requirement that Mexican nationals obtain a temporary resident visa (a “TRV”) prior to travelling to Canada.
As with all TRV exempt travellers, excluding Americans, Mexican nationals are still required to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation (an “ETA”) prior to boarding aircraft to travel to Canada.
The Government of Canada has also committed to gradually expanding eTA eligibility in 2017 to citizens of Bulgaria, Romania, and Brazil.
Electronic Travel Authorisation
The eTA is a new electronic document requirement for visa-exempt air travellers to Canada, excluding citizens of the United States. Travellers apply online for an eTA by providing basic biographical, passport and personal information, and includes questions about their health, criminal history, and travel history.
An automated system then compares this information against immigration and enforcement databases to determine if the traveller is admissible to Canada. The vast majority of applications are approved automatically, with a small percentage referred to an officer for review. Typical reasons for a further review include a previous denial of admission to Canada, a criminal record, or a pending permanent residence application.
The cost to apply for an eTA is $7.00. Applicants must have a valid passport, credit card, and e-mail address.
An eTA is only required for travel to Canada by air. It is not required for travel to Canada by land or sea.
Mexican citizens who already have a valid TRV do not need to apply for an eTA while their TRV is valid.
Future Visa Lifting for Brazil, Romania, and Bulgaria
The Government of Canada has also committed to expanding eTA eligibility to travellers from Brazil, Bulgaria and Romania.
Starting on May 1,Read more ›
During Canada’s 2015 federal election, the Liberal Party of Canada, led by Justin Trudeau, promised that if they were elected government that Canada would lift its visa requirement on Mexico. This campaign promise is reflected in now Prime Minister Trudeau’s mandate letter to John McCallum, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, which states that one of Minister McCallum’s top priorities will be to lift the visa requirement on Mexico.
The decision by the previous Conservative Government of Canada in 2009 to implement a visa requirement for Mexican citizens was extremely controversial. It is difficult to determine whether it was a good public policy decision because of the numerous factors involved, each with corresponding benefits and costs. It is clear, however, that the implementation of the visa requirement did achieve the government’s primary objective, which was to dramatically reduce refugee claims from Mexican citizens in Canada. However, subsequent changes to Canada’s immigration refugee system, likely mean that the visa requirement is no longer necessary to achieve this objective.
The Visa Requirement
Canada imposed a visa requirement on Mexican citizens on July 14, 2009. The Canadian government stated that it did so to dramatically reduce the number of unfounded refugee claims made by Mexican nationals due to their visa-free access to Canada. Mexico was at the time the top source country for asylum claimants in Canada, and had been so since 2005.
The imposition of the visa requirement imposed a significant burden on Mexican citizens wishing to travel to Canada. Instead of being able to simply board an airplane and travel to Canada, Mexican citizens now prior to travel have to apply for a temporary resident visa at a Canadian consulate, or online. In addition to completing numerous forms,Read more ›
On July 14, 2009, the Canadian government introduced a Temporary Resident Visa (“TRV”) requirement for Mexican nationals. The decision was and continues to be extremely controversial. Mexico responded by slapping a visa requirement on Canadian diplomats. During the 2011 Federal Election campaign, the Liberal Party promised to revoke the visa requirement. On May 9, 2011, the Globe and Mail featured an editorial titled “The Visa for visiting Mexicans has run its course.”
I believe that once Bill C-11 is in full affect, the costs of the TRV requirement will far outweigh its benefits, if they do not already.
Acknowledging the Success of the TRV Requirement
There is no question that the TRV requirement has reduced the number of refugee claimants from Mexico. In the first three months of 2009, 2,757 Mexicans applied for refugee status. During the same period in 2010 the number was 384.
The acceptance rate, which was always low, continues to hover at around 10%.
The Inconvenience to Travelers is Massive
While the TRV requirement has reduced the number of Mexican refugee claimants, it has also greatly inconvenienced tens of thousands of Mexicans, and deterred many hundreds of thousands more from coming to Canada.
In 2010, the Canadian embassy in Mexico City processed 57,966 temporary resident visa applications. The Mexico City embassy is only responsible for processing temporary resident visa applications for people who have been residing in Mexico with status. From 2006-2008, the Mexico City embassy processed an average of 1,500 temporary resident visa applications. Assuming this number remained constant in 2010, then it can be assumed that in 2010 approximately 55,500 Mexican nationals applied for a visa to visit Canada. Indeed, Mexicans have gone from not having to apply for a temporary resident visa to being the second largest applicant source country.Read more ›