New Canadian Visa Requirements for Nationals of Mexico to reduce Refugee Claims

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today that as of July 14, 2009 Mexicans will require temporary resident visas or more commonly known as visitor visas to enter Canada. Citizens of the Czech Republic will also face such restrictions.

The rationale given is to stem the flow of refugee claims from Mexico which are allegedly flooding the Canadian refugee system. The large volume of claims, says the Minster, is causing undue delays and is “undermining our ability to help people fleeing real persecution”. Refugee claims originating from Mexico is on the upswing due to the escalating drug wars there. Over 5500 refugee claims have been made in the first half of 2009.

While we can understand the Minister’s concerns about overloading our refugee system with so many claims from Mexico, imposing Canadian Visa requirements for all Mexicans, is in our view, overblown and somewhat knee-jerk. After all, Mexico is a major trading partner with Canada and is party the the NAFTA agreement. For many years Mexicans have enjoyed expedited processing of their Canadian work permits thanks to NAFTA. This has without a doubt benefited Canadian businesses who rely on manpower from south of the border to fill certain key positions, resulting in a benefit to our economy.

Given the harsh economic conditions we face, now is not the time for measures which would effectively close borders and strain relations between Canada and Mexico. Further, admittedly there are indeed dangerous social conditions that many Mexicans face. By requiring Visas for all Mexicans to enter Canada, we are preventing many legitimate refugee cases from Mexico from being heard. This is certainly not what Canada’s refugee policies were designed for.

Perhaps a better solution would have been to impose more stringent criteria in terms of making and proceeding with refugee claims from Mexico to avoid abuse rather than to just impose a blanket Visa restriction that would effectively prevent many well meaning visitors and workers to Canada as well as putting some in danger of persecution by stopping credible refugee claims.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

26 thoughts on “New Canadian Visa Requirements for Nationals of Mexico to reduce Refugee Claims

  1. Dale

    Hi Michael,
    We are Canadian have been trying to help my sons girlfriend visit Canada for the first time. We provided a invitation letter as well as certified copies of our identification as well as advised we have purchased some of the airfare already.
    They refused her application on the basis of finances and they believe she will not leave Canada. How can they make that assumption? My son wants us to send our financial information to his girlfriend but I am sorry, we already lost documents trying to get them to her and I don’t want that to include my bank information. What a ridiculous process!
    Can you suggest anywhere I can go or what I can do to help him further? Apparently they won’t contact me even though I gave them permission to do so in my invitation letter.

    Best Regards.

    1. owen

      Hello Dale,

      Thanks for the question. I’m sorry to hear about the prior refusal, and these applications can be very difficult, but we have a lot of experience in this area and can help to strengthen any aspect of your application that was previously weak. Please see for more information.


  2. Lorena escobar

    A Canadian citizen,
    I was wondering if my husband could just show up at the border would he be aloud into the country ? ,

    1. owen

      Hello Lorena,

      Thank you for the question. Depending on what citizenship your husband holds and what his intentions are in Canada, then he may or may not be required to file a visa application prior to entering Canada. As a Canadian citizen, you may sponsor your husband for permanent residency, and this is something we would be happy to help you with. Please fill out our free online assessment form and one of our immigration professionals will be in touch with you shortly


  3. Akshay K S

    Hello sir
    Am an Indian my wife is Mexican we want to settle in Canada because of Mexico problem we facing problems here kindly tell me what steps i need to take to move Canada for better future
    waiting for your answer

    1. Sarah Jane MacDonald

      Hello Akshay,

      There are many different ways that you can Immigrate to Canada. In order to assess your eligibility and figure out which category fits you best you need to provide us with more information. Please complete our free online assessment form and we will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your options.

      Sarah Jane

  4. Alberto Castillo

    Hi, I’m very glad that there is someone that can help us solve our questions about visas because consulates are not doing so.

    I would be very grateful if you could help me answer one simple question: I am mexican studying on a student visa f-1 in USA, what documents do I need to enter and visit Canada during the summer break??

    Thanks a lot.

    1. Donnell Kent

      Hello Alberto,

      Thank you for your post. As a citizen of Mexico, you are required to submit an application for a Temporary Resident Visa in order to enter Canada. This application is something our firm can assist you with.

      Kindly visit . Once there please fill out our free on-line assessment and book a consultation with one of our qualified consultants who can discuss your matter in detail with you and provide you with advice on how this type of application is made.

  5. Mariano Morales

    I see that people gets his answers here and I’m glad to find that our, since the consulate hasn’t been very helpful.
    I am a Mexican student currently studying in the US under a Student VIsa (F-1), and therefore I have an D/S I-94. I applied for my visa a while ago, but I haven’t received it back and my flight is in a week.

    If I don’t get a visa, there is no way I am going to be able to travel to Canada, right?

    1. Michael Niren

      Hello Mariano

      Thank you for your question. If you are Mexican, you can come to Canada but you would need a visa first. You can apply for one in the US as you are on a student visa there.
      I hope that helps

  6. Roberto Rangel

    What is the first step to take to apply for a work permit in Canada?Im a Mexican national

    1. Michael Niren

      Hello Roberto

      Thank you for your question. The first step to apply for a work permit is to get a job offer in Canada. Once you have a job offer you can contact a lawyer to assess whether you qualify for a work visa which will depend on the nature of the job, your qualifications and your employer’s willingness to sponsor you.

  7. Gloria


    My name is Gloria. I am a Canadian resident, but my boyfriend is from Mexico.
    I would like him to come visit me, but he got his Visa denied. When should he re-apply for his TRV? Do you think he can visit Canada without a visa?

    1. Alicia Kim

      Dear Gloria,

      He can apply again. As some visa offices may have deadlines for re-submission, he may have to contact the visa office responsible for his area.

      What is more important is that he provides any information or documents that were missing from his first application. If he does not send new information or if his situation has not changed, it is most likely that his new application will not be accepted. It might be helpful to seek a qualified immigration lawyer to review what went wrong with his first submission to ensure that his second submission is stronger and more complete.

      Unfortunately, Mexico is one of the countries that requires a visa to visit Canada.

      Hope this helps.


    How are you?

    I want to visit Canada for one month from Pakistan (Islamabad). What should I do?

    Thank you.

    1. Alicia Kim

      Dear Shah,

      In order to visit Canada for a short period of time, you need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa. If you are applying from Pakistan, the visa office responsible for your country is located in Islamabad. You will have to check their website to get a list of required supporting documents you need to submit.

      Thank you.

  9. Michael Niren

    Hi Paulina
    The answer is “no”. If the Mexican national is a US landed immigrant or a US Green Card holder, he or she does not require a visa to enter Canada.

  10. Paulina

    Does a mexican landed immigrant in the United States need a visa to enter Canada?

  11. Michael Niren

    Hi Carli
    The Canadian baby has a right to enter Canada. If the child was to come with a Mexican national, that person would still require an approved TRV to enter Canada.

  12. Michael Niren

    Hi Jordana
    I am sorry you and other Mexican’s are so frustrated and inconvenienced but these new Canadian Visa requirements for Mexicans. Unfortunately, for now, Mexican’s have to get Temporary Resident Visas (TRV) before they are approved even if air tickets were purchased before these rules were announced. Your TRV application should show ties to your home country and evidence that will only stay in Canada for a temporary purpose.

  13. carli

    My cousins wife from Mexico was admitted to Canada with her 2 month old baby to visit her family. She is now not allowed back in Canada without a visa and was denied.. My cousin is now here by himself while is wife and daughter are stuck in Mexico. The baby is a Canadian citizen and she come home? Who can i contact to get this resolved or at least make an attempt to without having to spend thousands on an immigration lawyer?

  14. Jordana Castro

    Hi, I was hoping somebody could help me.
    For a few months now I’ve been planning a trip with my brother to Montreal, Canada. We purchased air tickets 2 weeks ago. We are from Mexico. However, now we learned we need Visas to enter Canada as Mexicans. I have some questions about the visa applications but I can’t seem to find anybody to answer this questions, not on the phone, not at the consulate. What documents and information is needed to get a Visa to Canada for Mexicans? And do we need Spanish documents translated in English? I am upset that the new Visa rules are imposed for Mexicans. I’m leaving in a month, and my flight tickets are not refundable.

  15. Michael Niren

    Hi Nancy
    Thank you for your comment. I think your feelings are shared by many people in Canada and abroad. Hopefully the Minister will reconsider these Visas Restrictions and approach the Refugee backlogs in a more constructive manner.

  16. Michael Niren

    Full Charter Rights are afforded to Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada. Refugee Claimants are neither. Legislative and policy changes for Refugee protection have been implemented for years. True court challenges may be made against some reforms but that is part of the judicial process.

  17. Brian Dell

    How can there be “more stringent criteria in terms of making and proceeding with refugee claims” be legislated when Singh vs Minister (1985) makes it clear that ANYONE can claim full Charter rights, and therefore full legal proceedings, associated with a refugee claim?

  18. Nancy

    I agree wholeheartedly. I feel quite angry because they did it on such short notice. My husband is Mexican and runs his own business in Mexico. I´m Canadian, our children and I live in Canada and he is applying for permanent resident. Now he´s stuck in Mexico (normally he commutes back and forth every month) and we can´t even find out if he should get the temporary travel visa, or maybe he´s not allowed while he has another process going. My kids won´t see their daddy for awhile. Great!

    They just don´t care and are killing all the good contacts, legitimate tourists, a lot of Mexicans send their kids to school, or summer camps here, or they love to go skiing in Whistler. My Mexican friends just went on a cruise based out of Vancouver. Other mexican friends planning a cruise in Aug, other mexican friends looking at sending their kid to a private school here. And that is just my contact list! I´m so angry that they did this suddenly without warning to arrange our lives accordingly.



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