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CANADA – Government Lifts Visa Requirement for Mexican Nationals

, 01/07/2016

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau announced this week, that the visa requirement for Mexican citizens will be lifted on 1 December 2016. The announcement was made during a state visit by Mexican President Pena Nieto and follows through on a promise that Trudeau made during his recent election campaign.

How will this visa exemption work?

  • Citizens of Mexico travelling to Canada before 1 December 2016 will be required to obtain a visa to visit Canada.
  • After 1 December, Mexican passport holders who do not already hold a valid Canadian visa will need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) prior to flying to Canada.


Canada imposed a visa requirement on Mexican citizens in 2009 in response to a dramatic increase in the numbers of Mexican citizens making refugee claims in Canada. The visa requirement was not well received by Mexico and has been an irritant in bilateral relations between the two countries. Mexico and Canada are partners in NAFTA.

It has been reported that Canadian immigration officials were opposed to the lifting of the visa requirement citing increased risk of visa fraud, asylum claims and international crime.

For his part, President Pena Nieto announced that Mexico would open its market to Canadian beef imports.

Action Items

  • Ensure that, after 1 December 2016, Mexican nationals travelling to Canada have obtained an eTA, unless they hold a valid Canadian visa.