If you are Mexican national and have travelled within Canada or the United States for the past 10 years, you might want to consider applying to Canada’s CAN+ program. This program was launched by the federal government in the hopes of speeding the visa process for Mexican nationals who want to come to Canada.
On May 12th, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Chris Alexander, announced at Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport that the CAN+ program would make visa processing for Mexicans who have travelled into Canada or the United States in the past ten years more feasible and faster. The program is determined to expedite 50 percent or more of visa applicants. 95% of requests are approved. The visas can be processed as fast as seven days.
So, why the sudden preference for Mexican nationals?
It’s no question that in Canada, entry visas are the norm. How exactly will Canada benefit from the flood of Mexicans who are granted visas? Donald Goldstein, CEO of Tourism Industry Association, said that the program is “an important step forward that will make Canada a more competitive destination, while maintaining the integrity of our immigration system.” He also said that he would like to see Mexicans travel to Canada without a visa, but viewed the CAN+ program as the “next big thing.”
Chris Alexander also expressed that “by making the CAN+ program permanent, our government is making it easier and faster for Mexican travelers to come to Canada to do business, visit family or friends, or bolster Canada’s tourism industry. This will further strengthen relations with our valued NAFTA partner and will help foster economic growth in both our countries.”
It is important to note that back in 2009; Mexican nationals seeking to enter Canada were required to apply for a travel visa. The travel visa was deemed necessary in order to avoid the growing number of fake refugee claims. Enrique Pena Nieto, President of Mexico, discussed his issues with the strict visa requirement with Prime Minister Stephan Harper. Harper stated that Canada has no plans to lift the visa requirement due to national and public security criteria and illegal migration.
Interestingly, this year between January and April, more than 34,000 visitor visas, including student and work permits, were issued to Mexican nationals. This is nearly a 20 percent increase from the same period last year.
Under the program, Mexican nationals can apply online or to one of the three visa application centres in Mexico. Visa applications are only expedited after the passports are fully examined for proof of previous travel within Canada or the United States.