In A Flash

IRCC Announces New Entry Requirements for Mexican Citizens Travelling to Canada

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) has announced new entry requirements for Mexican citizens travelling to Canada. These requirements came into effect on February 29, 2024 at 11:30 p.m. EST.

For approximately 10 years, Mexican citizens have been considered ‘visa-exempt’ and have only been required to hold an Electronic Travel Authorization (“eTA”) when travelling to Canada by air. As a result of these changes, most Mexican citizens will now be required to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (“TRV”) in order to enter Canada.

Some Mexican citizens will still be exempt from the requirement to hold a TRV, but only if they meet the following requirements:

  • Must be travelling to Canada by air using a valid Mexican passport;

  • Must hold a valid U.S. non-immigrant visa OR have held a Canadian visitor visa (i.e. a Temporary Resident Visa) in the past 10 years; and

  • Must be coming to Canada for a short visit (typically for up to six months).

As eTAs are valid for air travel only, Mexican citizens who would otherwise be eligible for an eTA under these new rules will require a TRV if entering Canada by car, bus, train, or boat (subject to certain limited exceptions).

Any eTAs issued on Mexican passports before 11:30 p.m. EST on February 29, 2024, will no longer be valid, except for eTAs linked to Mexican passports associated with a valid Canadian work or study permit. Persons without a valid work or study permit, and those who had an eTA application still in process will now need to either apply for and obtain a new eTA (if eligible under the new rules) or TRV before entering Canada.

Importantly, IRCC clarified that Mexican citizens who hold a valid Canadian work or study permit can continue to travel to Canada by air using their existing eTA, as long as it remains valid. As well, they may continue to work or study in Canada pursuant to the conditions and validity of their permit. In addition, Mexican citizens who are currently in Canada as visitors and entered using an eTA may remain in Canada as long as they are authorized to do so: the validity of Canadian visitor records will not be impacted.

These changes have been introduced in response to a sharp increase in the number of asylum claims made by Mexican citizens in Canada.

The new requirements will ultimately impact Canadian employers seeking to hire Mexican citizens. Previously, Canadian employers could typically rely on a relatively quick work permit application process, whereby a Mexican citizen could apply for their work permit in person, at the port of entry. These new requirements will impact their ability to do so and will add significant time to the work permit application process as a whole.

IRCC has provided an overview of these new entry requirements here.  

If you have any questions about this topic, or any questions relating to workplace law generally, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.

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