What is the change? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that Canada would lift its visa requirement on Mexican nationals on Dec. 1.

What does the change mean? Beginning Dec. 1, Mexican nationals will be able to travel to Canada without first obtaining a visa. Mexican nationals will be required to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization, or eTA, when traveling to or transiting through Canada, a requirement that is imposed on nationals of all visa-exempt countries except the United States. Mexican nationals who plan on working or studying in Canada will be required to obtain work or study permits at a Canadian embassy or consulate in advance of travel.

  • Implementation time frame: Dec.1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Temporary Resident Visas (visitor visas).
  • Who is affected: Mexican nationals traveling to or transiting through Canada.
  • Impact on processing times: Affected Mexican nationals will save the time it takes to obtain a visa; the process for obtaining an eTA is significantly quicker and less expensive than the visa process.
  • Business impact: Officials hope that lifting the visa requirement will strengthen business ties between the two countries.
  • Next steps: Beginning Dec. 1, Mexican nationals will only be required to obtain an eTA when visiting or transiting through Canada. Until then, a visa is required. Visa applications may be submitted via the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website or at a visa application center in Mexico City, Guadalajara or Monterrey.

Background: Trudeau made the announcement Tuesday at the end of a state visit by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Lifting the visa requirement will fulfill a campaign promise, after Canada imposed the visa requirement in 2009. Officials said the two countries would work together to finalize the visa waiver in the coming months.

BAL Analysis: The change will eliminate lengthy consular visa processing for Mexican nationals. ETAs are significantly easier to obtain than visas. While work and study permits will have to be obtained prior to travel for those who wish to work or study in Canada, the announcement Tuesday will be welcome news to Mexican nationals who travel frequently to Canada.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Canada. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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