Canadian immigration update - New visa requirements for Mexican citizens

4 minute read
01 March 2024

Effective 11:30 p.m. EST on Feb. 29, 2024 (the "Effective Date"), the entry requirements for Mexican citizens travelling on a Mexican passport to Canada have changed and are more restrictive.

The following is a summary of the changes that now affect Mexican citizens:

  • Electronic Travel Authorizations (eTAs) issued to Mexicans before the Effective Date will be automatically cancelled as of the Effective Date, unless the Mexican citizen already holds a valid Canadian work permit or study permit. 

Therefore, Mexican citizens holding a valid work permit or study permit as of the Effective Date can still travel to Canada by air with their existing eTAs.

  • After Feb. 29, 2024, before travelling to Canada by air, Mexican citizens will either need to have an eTA, or if they are not eligible for an eTA, they will need to apply online for a Temporary Resident Visa ("visa"). A visa will be needed to enter Canada by land.
  • Mexican citizens who hold a valid U.S. non-immigrant visa, or have held a Canadian visa in the past 10 years, will be able to apply for an eTA to enter Canada by air.
  • Mexican visitors who are already in Canada can stay for as long as they are authorized. However, if they plan to leave Canada and wish to return by air, they must have the proper travel documents – a visa must be applied for through the consulate, unless they otherwise qualify for an eTA. A return by land requires a visa.

The Canadian government has stated that the new visa requirements for Mexican citizens are in response to an increase in asylum claims filed by Mexican citizens.

For further information on the new requirements for Mexican citizens travelling to Canada, see Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's overview of the changes.

Impact on employers

This change to the entry requirements of Mexican citizens will have a significant impact on Canadian companies. For example:

  • Business visitors from Mexico will no longer simply be able to fly to Canada to attend business meetings or provide after-sales services. They may need to obtain a visa, which will take some time to be processed.
  • The processing of new work permit applications for transferees or new hires will be more complicated, as most applications will now need to be filed online. The requirement to file a consular application will result in increased costs for Canadian employers as well as increased delays in work permit processing.
  • Accompanying family members of work permit or study permit holders in Canada, who are in Canada as visitors, will be required to apply for a visa if they depart Canada and wish to return.

Gowling WLG

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