Canada has reimposed visa requirements for some Mexican nationals.

Key Points:

  • Under a change that took effect Thursday, Feb. 29, Mexican nationals traveling to Canada must obtain a visa unless they are traveling by air and:
    • Hold a valid U.S. nonimmigrant visa.
    • Have held a Canadian visa in the past 10 years.
  • Individuals in either of these categories will be able to travel to Canada by obtaining an electronic travel authorization (eTA). All others must apply for a Canadian visitor visa.
  •  The government stated that because of the “high number of Mexican citizens currently holding U.S. visas, the majority will continue to enjoy visa-free travel to Canada.”
  • The Canadian government canceled all eTAs issued to Mexican passport holders before 11:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 29, except for eTAs linked to a valid Canadian work or study permit. Mexican nationals whose eTAs were canceled must apply for a visitor visa or reapply for a new eTA, if eligible.

Additional Information: Canada lifted visa requirements for Mexican travelers in 2016. The requirement was reimposed this week amid a surge in asylum claims from Mexican nationals, the majority of which are ultimately denied. Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said, “We strive for balance between the movement of people between our two great countries, and the need to relieve pressure on our immigration system so we can provide protection to those who need it the most.”

BAL Analysis: The change will increase the time and money required to travel to Canada for Mexican nationals who now must obtain a visa. Press reports said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador offered a “respectful” criticism of Canada’s decision and indicated that Mexico would act with “prudence” in response. BAL will continue following this story and will provide updates as information becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group.

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