December 4, 2017 – All Romanians and Bulgarians can travel here without requiring a Canada visa as of December 1, 2017.
Citizens of the two EU countries now require an Electronic Travel Authorization to fly to, or transit through, Canada. Those travelling overland or by boat only require their passport.
The full visa lift comes after a partial lift on May 1, 2017, from when Romanians and Bulgarians who held a Canada visa in the last 10 years, or held a US visa, did not require a visa.
Canada agreed to lift the visa requirement for Romanians and Bulgarians after officials from the two countries threatened not to sign a crucial trade deal.
- Many Romanians Will Not Need Canada Visa From May 1
- Lifting Of Bulgaria Canada Visa Requirement Set For May 1
- Romanian PM Threatens to Vote Against Canada-EU Trade Deal Unless Visa Requirement Lifted
- Canada Asylum Claims From Mexicans Quadruple in 2017
The Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, or CETA, became law in September, giving Canada access to the world’s largest market outside the U.S., with 98 per cent of Canadian goods now entering the EU free of tariffs.
With uncertainty over trade with the U.S. – Canada’s largest trade partner – the deal giving Canadian companies access to a $20 trillion market became of utmost importance.
Opposition, particularly from Belgium but also from Romania and Bulgaria, had threatened to derail the deal at the final hurdle.
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 to all EU members in return.
Countries were given two years to provide the access, or face losing their visa-free access.
Canada was reluctant to grant the access to Romania and Bulgaria, 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, 2016, and has since seem a marked increase in asylum claims.
The number of Canada asylum claims from Mexican nationals rose to nearly 1,000 up to October 2017.
The figure is nearly quadruple the 250 claims received in 2016, and approaching 10 times the 2015 total, when 111 claims were received.
Canada has said it will reimpose the Mexico visa requirement if it gets too many claims. It is not known if the same condition applies to Romania and Bulgaria.
Do I need an Electronic Travel Authorization?
You need an eTA if you are travelling to Canada by air from a visa-exempt country. A full list of visa-exempt countries is available here.
The following are exempt from requiring an eTA:
- Those who have already obtained a valid visa to enter Canada.
- Anyone entering by land or sea.
- Armed Forces visiting Canada on official duty.
- Students who have a valid Canadian study permit dated on or after August 1, 2015.
- Flight crew, civil aviation inspectors, accident investigators.
- Temporary Foreign Workers who have a valid Canadian work permit date on or after August 1, 2015.
- French citizens who live in and are travelling from St. Pierre and Miquelon.
- Persons entering from the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon, while holding valid status in Canada.
- Accredited diplomats.
- Canadian citizens and dual citizens (provided you are travelling on a Canadian passport)
- Canadian permanent residents (you need your PR card or point of entry documentation)
- US citizens (US permanent residents, or green card holders, DO require an eTA when travelling by air)
How do I get an Electronic Travel Authorization?
You can apply for an eTA through the Canadian federal government website.
Before you apply, you will need:
- Valid passport
- As a US permanent resident, you can apply with:
- Valid US refugee travel document (I-571)
- Valid permit to re-enter the US (I-327)
- Credit card to pay the $7 fee
- Valid email address
To apply for an eTA click here.
When should I apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization?
The Canadian government advises you to apply as soon as you know you travel itinerary.
However, an eTA can be obtain at the last minute via a smartphone. All you need is an internet connection. The email authorization often only takes a few minutes to come through.
There is no requirement to print an eTA. It is electronically linked to your passport or travel document.
How long is an Electronic Travel Authorization valid for?
An eTA can be valid for five years, or until your passport or travel document expires.
Interested employers: Kindly contact us here to receive further information.
Interested candidates: Find out whether you qualify to Canada by completing our free on-line evaluation. We will provide you with our evaluation within 1-2 business days.
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