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New visa rules for Mexican nationals: Your questions answered | CBC News

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This story idea came from audience members, like you, who got in touch with us. Email us your questions. We are listening: ask@cbc.ca.

Dozens of you emailed us asking questions about the newly reimposed visa regulations for Mexican nationals and how they could impact your travel plans.

We’re here to answer those questions, now that Mexican travellers will need to apply for a visitor visa or for a new electronic travel authorization (eTA) to enter Canada.

What if I already had a visitor visa or an eTA? Is it still valid?

The short answer is that your visitor visa will remain valid, but your eTA won’t be.

All eTAs issued to Mexican passports before 11:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 29, 2024, are no longer valid — except those linked to a valid Canadian work or study permit. That means you will need to apply for a new eTA to travel to Canada by air.

If you plan to travel to Canada by car, bus, train or boat, including a cruise ship (even if you don’t leave the ship), you will need to apply for a visitor visa.

To be eligible to apply for an eTA, Mexican citizens will need a valid U.S. non-immigrant visa or have held a Canadian visa in the past 10 years.

An estimated 60 per cent of people travelling from Mexico will not actually need a visa under the new rules, because they qualify for an eTA, according to the federal government. 

In most other scenarios, a visitor visa would be required. If you are not sure whether you need a visitor visa or an eTA, use this tool from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to find out.

How long does it typically take to get an eTA or visitor visa? 

Most people get their eTA approved in a matter of minutes, but if you are required to submit additional documents, it could take several days to process, according to the IRCC.

As for visitor visas, Mexican citizens should expect to wait up to 40 days to get theirs approved. IRCC processing times are updated regularly, and you can use this tool to check them.

Will temporary foreign workers or international students be affected?

No. 

If you are a Mexican citizen in Canada on a temporary foreign worker visa or a student visa, you don’t have to worry about these new changes.

You already have a valid visa, and your eTA won’t be cancelled — you can continue working or studying until your permit expires. 

If you have applied for a new work or study permit, you will automatically be issued a visa or eTA based on your eligibility. 

Can I apply for an eTA when I land in Canada?

No, you will need your eTA or your visitor visa before you check in for your flight.

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