April 24, 2017 – The same Canada visa requirements applicable for Romanians will also apply to Bulgarians, it has been announced.
Bulgarians who held a Canada visa in the last 10 years or currently hold a US visa will have visa-free access to Canada from May 1, 2017.
The announcement was made by the Embassy of Canada for Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova.
Visa-free travel for all Bulgarians will start on December 1, 2017.
Bulgarians will require the Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization (Canada eTA) to board a plane to Canada.
Plan For Bulgarian and Romanian Access To Canada
|Until May 1, 2017||May 1, 2017 to December 1, 2017||Post December 1, 2017|
|All Bulgarians and Romanians need Canada visa.||Bulgarians and Romanians who held a Canada visa in the last 10 years, or currently hold a US visa, will not require a visa.||All Bulgarians and Romanians citizens will be able to travel visa-free, but will require a Canada eTA|
Canada agreed to lift the visa requirement for both Bulgarians and Romanians after the two countries threatened not to sign a crucial trade deal.
The Canada-EU Trade Agreement, or CETA, will soon become law after it was voted through by the European Parliament in February.
Opposition, particularly from Belgium but also from Romania and Bulgaria, had threatened to derail the deal at the final hurdle.
The deal must now be ratified by Canada’s parliament.
The visa issue with Bulgaria and Romania began when the EU changed its rules back in 2014.
Under the rule change, all countries granted visa-free access to the EU bloc had to provide the same privilege in return.
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Countries were given two years to provide the access, or face losing their visa-free access.
Canada was reluctant to grant the access to Bulgaria and Romania, with former Immigration Minister John McCallum saying neither met the requirements.
But when the issue became tied to CETA, Canada was left with no bargaining room.
Canada lifted the visa requirement for Mexicans from December 1, 2017, and has since seem a marked increase in asylum claims.
The first two months of 2017 saw 440 Mexicans detained at the Canada border, according to figures obtained by Reuters. That’s more than the 410 detentions in the whole of 2016.
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