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Canada reimposes visa requirements for Mexican nationals


On Feb. 29, 2024, the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that it will be immediately reimposing visa requirements for Mexican nationals. The change comes amidst a significant increase in asylum claims from Mexican nationals since the visa restriction was first lifted in 2016. In response to this, IRCC has reimposed visa requirements for some Mexican nationals.

As of 11:30 p.m. EST on Feb. 29, 2024, any electronic Travel Authorizations (eTAs) that were previously authorized for Mexican nationals will be cancelled. The only exception to this is for individuals who already hold a valid work or study permit.

However, IRCC has acknowledged that some eTAs may be accidentally cancelled as they roll out this policy change. Those individuals will have access to a special web form request to apply to have their eTAs reinstated. Individuals are encouraged to check the status of their eTAs online starting March 1, 2024, to ensure that they remain valid if they hold a current work or study permit.

Accompanying dependents of individuals with a valid work or study permit who are in Canada on a visitor record will have their eTAs cancelled as of 11:30 p.m. Feb. 29, 2024. Visitor records will remain valid.

It is important to note that any eTAs that remain valid or will be granted in the future are only valid for air travel. Mexican nationals, even those with a valid eTA, who want to travel by car, bus, train, or boat (including cruise ships simply docking in Canada) will require a temporary resident visa (TRV) to facilitate travel. Consequently, even Mexican nationals with a valid eTA are encouraged to apply for a TRV to retain full flexibility to enter Canada.

Individuals are being asked to wait until after 11:30 p.m. EST on Feb. 29, 2024, to submit new TRV or eTA applications.

Individuals with dual nationality from Mexico and another visa-exempt country may be eligible to apply for an eTA to fly to Canada using the passport of the visa-exempt country.

Lawful permanent residents of the U.S. who are Mexican citizens do not need a TRV or eTA to enter Canada. This policy remains unchanged, and individuals continue to be able to travel with their U.S. green card and valid passport.

Individuals who hold a valid U.S. nonimmigrant visa or who have previously held a valid Canadian TRV in the last 10 years are eligible to reapply for a new eTA.

With the reimposition of a visa, it is expected that Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations will be amended to align with this new policy. As a result, it is also expected that Mexican nationals will lose the ability to apply for work permits at the port of entry. Instead, they will likely have to apply for work permits through their local consular office.

Monitoring policy changes and their impact

We will be closely monitoring these developments, with a specific focus on whether the reimposition of TRV requirements for some Mexican nationals increases the processing time overall for TRV and work permit applications inside and outside Canada.

We will provide further updates on policy changes and operational capacity as they become available.

In the meantime, should you have any questions about how the above policy changes impact you or your company, please contact BDO Law LLP’s Immigration Services team at [email protected].

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The information in this publication is current as of February 29, 2024.

This publication has been carefully prepared, but it has been written in general terms and should be seen as broad guidance only. The publication cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information contained therein without obtaining specific professional advice. Please contact BDO Canada LLP to discuss these matters in the context of your particular circumstances. BDO Canada LLP, its partners, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information in this publication or for any decision based on it.

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