More than five million people visit Canada every year — and now more of them are going to have a harder time getting in the door.
Every visitor to Canada has to meet some basic requirements. For instance, they must possess a valid travel document, be in good health and convince an immigration officer they will leave Canada at the end of their visit.
For visiting residents of more than 50 countries, such as Barbados, Australia and Japan, this is generally all that’s needed. However, for those visiting from more than 140 other countries, ranging from the Philippines to Chile to Russia, a visa is required.
As of Tuesday, the Czech Republic and Mexico were added to the list of those countries whose citizens require a visa to visit or pass through Canada.
The Czech Republic joins Bulgaria and Romania as the only states out of the 27 that make up the European Union that require visitor visas to Canada.
With the new limitations imposed on Mexican visitors to Canada, the United States is now the only country in the Americas whose citizens are exempt from visitor visas, except for Saint Pierre and Miquelon, French Guiana and the Falkland Islands, all areas in the Americas belonging to either France or England. Of the 10 most populated countries in the world, eight of them require visitor visas — the U.S. and Japan are the exceptions.
“Visa requirements are decisions made in the context of either a desire to control and be aware of everybody who enters the country, or a desire to handle a problem, such as an increase in refugee claims, in the most expeditious way possible. In this case, the visa acts as a disincentive,” said Maureen Molot, professor of international affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa.
Foreigners applying for a Canadian visa complete a two-page application form and submit documents such as a valid passport and financial statements to Citizenship and Immigration. Application fees range from $75 for a single entry visa to $400 for a family.
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