New visa requirements for citizens of Mexico, Brazil, Bulgaria and Romania

Publication November 2015

As of March 15, 2016, certain travellers from Mexico, Brazil, Bulgaria and Romania will no longer require a temporary resident visa (TRV) to enter Canada.


To qualify as TRV-exempt travellers, citizens from Mexico, Brazil, Bulgaria and Romania must have held a TRV in the last 10 years or hold a valid US non-immigration visa. A TRV is an official document issued by a Canadian visa office that is affixed in the foreign traveller’s passport to show that he or she has met the requirements for admission to Canada as a visitor. A US non-immigrant visa is an official document affixed in the foreign traveller’s passport that permits such traveller to travel to the United States during the validity of the visa on a temporary basis (i.e., tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work, or study).

These travellers will need to fill out the electronic travel authorization (eTA) prior to entering Canada by air. Visitors coming by land or sea will not need an eTA but must travel with proper identification, such as a valid passport and permanent residency card, if applicable.

Citizens from Mexico, Brazil, Bulgaria and Romania who have not held a Canadian TRV in the last 10 years or do not hold a valid US non-immigration visa do not qualify as visa-exempt travellers. Therefore, they must obtain a TRV at a Canadian visa office prior to entering Canada.

Also starting on March 15, 2016, all citizens from TRV-exempt countries must have an eTA before entering Canada by air. Citizens from the United States are exempt from the eTA program and they do not need to submit an eTA application prior to entering Canada. Visa-exempt countries include France, Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea. A complete list of countries can be found here.

The eTA application is available online, through the CIC website. Those unable to apply electronically due to a physical or mental disability can submit a paper application form.

To learn more about the eTA and its requirements, please see our legal update on “New requirements for foreign nationals entering Canada.”

The author wishes to thank Viviane Albuquerque, student-at-law, for her help in preparing this legal update.

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