The visa requirement meant that Mexican nationals wanting to visit, study, or work in Canada would first need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) before arrival. The imposition of the requirement happened at the height of the tourist season, and without prior warning. While the situation eventually stabilized, many families, workers, visitors, and students were affected, as they scrambled to make sense of the new requirements in time for their planned visits. For students that had been caught up by the changes, it made starting programs and securing booked accommodation particularly challenging. The decision also affected Canadian language schools, colleges, and universities. “The sudden requirement for Mexican students to get a visitor visa happened at the busiest time of the year for us. When it became apparent visa processing would take up to 3 months, a lot of refunds were issued and we had to cancel some of our language and career programs” Jeff Romonko, Director of International House Pacific, said, adding that, “I think many students looked elsewhere.”
Resumption of the Visa-Waiver Status for Mexico
The decision to remove the visitor visa requirement was announced during a bilateral summit between Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Mexican counterpart, Peña Nieto, earlier this summer. Prime Minister Trudeau said, “Today’s announcement will expand our people to people ties for generations to come, and give young Canadians and Mexicans the opportunities they need for the future they want.”
When Will Changes Take Place?
The requirement is scheduled to be lifted on December 1, 2016. Mexican nationals still need to apply for a TRV (and if applicable, a study permit) until these proposed changes take force. For all students studying in programs that are scheduled (or likely) to conclude in more than six months, a study permit is still required.
What This Means for Students and their Families
Canada’s law allows foreign students to study in Canada for short periods without a study permit. Once the visa requirement is lifted, therefore, Mexican students accepted to short term programs (defined as concluding in six months or less) will be able to arrive in Canada and begin those studies with neither a visa nor a study permit. This should undoubtedly make Canada an attractive short-term study option for Mexican students, particularly in language schools and career colleges. Longer term students can also rejoice at the prospect of applying only for a study permit without the requirement to also apply for a TRV.
International students should soon be able to travel to and from Mexico with greater mobility, allowing for family visits in both countries. For the impact on pathway students, remember to check out Canada’s newest study permit policy covered in our article here.
As of December 1, 2016, Mexican nationals will still need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if travelling to Canada by air, a requirement for all travelers from visa-exempt countries other than U.S. citizens.
An eTA application can be made online and the process is simple, inexpensive, and fast. The eTA is valid for five years, or until the traveler’s passport expires, whichever date occurs first. To learn more, review our comprehensive electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) FAQ.
If travelling by land or sea, Mexicans will only need to have their travel documentation (i.e. passport) check at a Canadian Port of Entry.
To use the Visiting Canada Tool and determine what you need to do to visit Canada, click here. If you have any questions or concerns about the process of obtaining an eTA and gaining entry to Canada, please send a detailed email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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