Visa Requirements for Mexicans

Canada’s Revised Visa Requirements for Mexicans

In a significant policy shift, Canada has introduced a new visa requirement for Mexican citizens, set to take effect on February 29, 2024, at 11:30 p.m. EST. This adjustment comes as a response to the escalating number of denied, withdrawn, or abandoned asylum petitions filed by Mexican citizens, posing challenges to Canada’s immigration system.

Understanding the Changes: What You Need to Know

  • Immediate Implementation: The new visa requirement applies to all Mexican citizens, even those who have already booked their trips to Canada.
  • No Guarantee for Previous Travel Authorization: The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) emphasizes that possessing pre-booked travel reservations or a previously valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) does not ensure automatic approval for a new eTA or visa.
  • Cancellation of Current eTAs: Most existing eTAs for Mexican passport holders are being canceled. However, Mexicans can reapply for a new eTA if they have held a visitor visa to Canada in the last ten years or currently possess a valid nonimmigrant visa to the United States. Otherwise, a visa will be required.
  • Unchanged Application Process for Permits: The application process for Mexican citizens seeking work or study permits will remain unchanged.
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Impact on Different Scenarios

  • Valid Canadian Employment or Study Permits: Mexican citizens with valid Canadian employment or study permits remain unaffected. Their eTA will not be canceled, ensuring uninterrupted travel to Canada.
  • No Valid Work or Study Permit: Mexican citizens without a valid work or study permit, who are already in Canada, may stay for the permitted duration. However, their eTA will be terminated. If they leave Canada and wish to return, obtaining a visa or a new eTA is mandatory.
  • Possible Delays: Mexican visitors may experience delays when arriving at Canadian airports due to revised entrance regulations.

Understanding the Why: Surge in Asylum Requests

The surge in asylum requests from Mexican citizens in 2023 has prompted Canada to reevaluate its visa policies. In that year alone, asylum petitions from Mexicans accounted for 17% of all claims globally, reaching an unprecedented high. The majority of these claims (about 60%) faced denial or were withdrawn, adding strain to Canada’s asylum system, social services, and housing facilities.

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Crucial Points to Note

  • All eTAs granted to Mexican passport holders before February 29, 2024, at 11:30 p.m. EST will be invalid, except those linked to passports with a valid Canadian work or study permit.
  • Mexican citizens traveling without a valid employment or study permit must apply for a visitor visa or reapply for a new eTA if eligible.
  • Mexicans in Canada on an eTA can stay for the authorized duration (up to six months from arrival). However, for a return trip, they must possess the necessary travel documents (visa or a fresh eTA).
  • Successful visa applicants are usually granted multiple-entry visas, allowing them to visit Canada for up to ten years or until passport expiration.
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What is Canada’s eTA?

The Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is a digital travel document mandatory for most visa-exempt passengers entering Canada by air. Introduced in 2017, the eTA program has expanded to include citizens from visa-required nations, including Mexico.

Reapplication Timing and Requirements

Mexicans can reapply for a visitor visa or eTA after February 29, 2024, at 11:30 p.m. EST. New requirements will be in place, ensuring eligibility for an eTA or visitor visa.

As Canada adapts its immigration policies to address emerging challenges, Mexican citizens planning to travel or immigrate are advised to stay informed and comply with the new visa requirements. The revisions aim to strike a balance between welcoming visitors and ensuring the integrity of Canada’s immigration system. For those affected, timely reapplication and adherence to the updated regulations will be crucial for a smooth and successful journey to the Great White North.

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