Canada to Ease Travel Restrictions for Mexico

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A delegation from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canadian Border Services Agency concluded a two-day visit to Mexico City on May 2nd. The visit was one of the steps that have been taken to broaden and deepen the relationship between Mexico and Canada.

The meeting was held with the National Migration Institute and the Foreign Ministry to strengthen the bilateral dialogue on facilitating the movement of people and on the issuance of travel documents.

Canada had announced in April that their government would include Mexico under the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) program to make for easier travel for Mexican nationals.  Mexicans who are in possession of a United States visa or have had a Canadian visa in the past can apply online for the eTA and avoid having to apply for a visa. The option will be available in 2016.

It has been 6 years since Canada decided to require Mexican visitors to obtain a visa.

In July of 2009, a travel visa requirement was imposed on Mexican nationals to enter Canada after widespread abuse, citing a huge surge in refugee claims by visitors from Mexico.

Mexico had become the number 1 source of refugee claims, with the number almost tripling to more than 9,400 in 2009 since 2005, the Canadian Immigration Department said in a press release at the time. The figure represented one-quarter of all claims made. About 90 per cent of the claims were rejected.

Relations between Canada and Mexico remained at the very least, frosty, until Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced in May of 2014 that the government would make it faster and easier for Mexican visitors to come to Canada.

“Our government is opening the door to economic growth while protecting the integrity of Canada’s immigration system. By making the CAN+ program permanent, our government is making it easier and faster for Mexican travellers to come to Canada to do business, visit family or friends, or bolster Canada’s tourism industry. This will further strengthen relations with our valued NAFTA partner and will help foster economic growth in both our countries,” he said at the time.

Under the CAN+ program, Mexican nationals who had travelled to Canada or the United States within the last 10 years were eligible for expedited visa processing.

But with the bilateral meetings last week, the two delegations exchanged experiences and information on issues such as repatriation, the processes for issuing identity documents, conditions for foreigners’ stays in Mexico, an assessment of immigration documents, the admission process into national territory and the exchange of statistical data, among others.

In order to strengthen the dialogue and bilateral cooperation on these and other topics of interest, it was agreed to refocus the work in order to promote a better understanding between Mexico and Canada through the exchange of good practices.

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