2024 New Canada eTA & Visa Rules for Mexican Citizens

The new TRV requirements for Mexicans in Canada

Luisa, a 34-year-old Mexican graphic designer, recently learned her eTA to Canada has been cancelled due to new policies. Used to breezing through travel preparations, she now faces uncertainty about her next steps. Does she qualify for a new eTA, or must she embark on the visa application journey? As she seeks clarity, Luisa stands at a crossroads. Luisa is ready to untangle the latest immigration updates and is determined to maintain her connection to Canada. This moment marks the beginning of Luisa’s quest to navigate the evolving landscape of Canadian travel regulations in 2024 for Mexicans.

What did change for Mexicans in 2024?

In 2024, significant changes have affected Mexican citizens planning to travel to Canada. The following list shows them briefly. However, I’ll expand on the main issues in this post.

  • Updated eTA Requirements: Effective 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time on February 29, 2024, Mexican citizens must meet new criteria to qualify for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). They must hold a valid US non-immigrant or have obtained a Canadian visa in the past ten years. Nonetheless, the new eTAs are only valid for air travel to Canada.
  • Immediate eTA Cancellation: Authorities have cancelled existing eTAs, except those linked to valid Canadian work or study permits. This change responds to the increasing number of Mexican asylum claims that do not succeed.
  • Mandatory Visitor Visa for Some: Mexicans who do not fulfill the new eTA criteria must now secure a Canadian visitor visa. This adjustment aims to streamline travel for many Mexicans while safeguarding Canada’s immigration framework. Moreover, Mexican citizens must obtain visitor visas if they intend to travel to Canada by land or sea.
  • Steady Work and Study Permit Processes: The process for Mexicans applying for work or study permits remains unchanged, ensuring access to Canada’s labour pathways remains open. However, they mostly need to apply online.
  • Enhanced Bilateral Engagement: Canada fosters travel, tourism, and business ties with Mexico. It includes widening the network of visa application centers in Mexico to support applicants better.
  • Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) Update: Canada plans to collaborate with Mexico to enhance and modernize the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program. It introduces new opportunities for Mexican workers in year-round agriculture and other sectors.

These updates mark a critical pivot in the travel and immigration rules for Mexicans, aiming to streamline travel while maintaining the integrity of Canada’s immigration system.

The existing eTAs

If you are a Mexican who holds an eTA, the chances are you have lost your eTA. IRCC cancelled almost all eTAs for Mexican citizens at 11:30 p.m. EST on February 29, 2024. However, if you hold a valid work permit or study permit, your eTA remains intact. I must emphasize that if you do not hold a valid Canadian work or study permit, you no longer have an eTA.

If you’re unsure about the status of your eTA, don’t worry. You can quickly check its validity. Visit the Check eTA Status page on the IRCC website. You’ll find all the information regarding your eTA’s current status there.

Furthermore, if your eTA gets cancelled and you plan to travel to Canada again, you’ll face two scenarios. Firstly, if you qualify under the new rules, you can reapply for an eTA. Secondly, if you no longer meet the criteria, you must apply for a visitor visa instead. Remember, the new eTAs are effective for air travel to Canada only. Consequently, you must obtain a TRV if you intend to travel by land or sea. Of course, you may visit the official IRCC website to ensure if you need a TRV.

In summary, ensure your travel documents are current before planning your journey. This proactive approach helps avoid unnecessary complications and provides a smooth travel experience to Canada.

eTA exemptions for Mexican travelers to Canada

Specific groups are exempt from the eTA requirement but fall outside the usual scenarios for Mexican travellers. For example, Canadian citizens, including dual Canadian-Mexican citizens, must use their Canadian passports to travel, bypassing the eTA requirement altogether. Additionally, lawful permanent residents of the United States (green card holders) can enter Canada without an eTA, but they must carry their green card and a valid passport during travel. Another group is permanent residents of Canada, who need their valid PR card to travel to Canada without an eTA.

Remember, if your travel documents change or your permit expires, you must reassess your need for an eTA based on the current regulations. Always ensure your travel documents are up to date to facilitate a smooth entry into Canada. Stay informed and prepared to comply with the latest immigration requirements.

Status update for Mexicans currently in Canada

Mexican nationals already in Canada must understand how the new eTA changes affect them. Here’s a breakdown tailored to different groups:

Visitors: If you are in Canada as a visitor, rest assured your status remains unchanged (assuming you have not overstayed). However, if your eTA was linked to this visit, it is cancelled due to the new rules. Should you leave Canada and wish to return, you’ll need either a new eTA, if eligible, or a visitor visa (TRV). Moreover, you may remain in Canada if you extend your stay or change it to a worker or a student.

Study and Work Permit Holders: For those with valid study or work permits, your situation looks more stable. Your eTA will not be cancelled, preserving your ability to travel to and from Canada by air. Your ability to study or work in Canada remains based on the conditions of your existing permit.

Individuals Without Legal Status: If you’re in Canada without legal status, the new eTA rules do not directly change your situation within Canada. Yet, if you leave, the re-entry could be challenging. You might need to apply for and obtain a visitor visa or, if eligible, a new eTA. However, remember that non-compliance could expose you to a removal order of future challenges to return to Canada.

Lastly, for all Mexican citizens in Canada, it’s crucial to stay informed about your travel and immigration documents. Ensure everything is current, especially if you plan to travel outside of Canada and wish to return. Keeping abreast of changes helps avoid unexpected issues at the border. You may book a consultation session to explore the best course of action.

Applying for a work or study permit at a port of entry

As a Mexican citizen, you may not apply for a study permit at a port of entry (POE). However, here is how the new rules affect your application for a work permit at a POE.

  • You may not apply for a work permit at the POE anymore.
  • Work permit applications at a land crossing are only available via flagpoling.

Please note that the recent changes do not affect CUSMA policies. Therefore, if your job was exempt from an LMIA in the past, it remains LMIA-exempt.

Let us help!

If you are a Mexican and doubt the eTA or TRV requirements, check out the IRCC official website. However, you may book a session with me to receive official advice. Moreover, you may fill out the following form if you face immigration complications.

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.