Starting on July 14, 2009, Mexican and Czech Republic Citizens will require a visa to travel to Canada. For the first 48 hours, Mexicans and Czechs will be able to apply for entry on arrival in Canada. However, after 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, they must have a visa.

The reason for the Visa requirement is a drastic increase in refugee claims from these 2 countries. Mexico has become the #1 source of refugee claims, with the number almost tripling to more than 9,400 since 2005. The Czech Republic is #2 with nearly 3,000 refugee claims filed since the visa requirement for visitors from that country was lifted in October 2007.

Mexicans and Czechs who want to travel to Canada will first need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) and meet the requirements to receive one. The applicant must satisfy the visa officer that their visit to Canada is temporary, they will not overstay their approved time in Canada, they have enough money to cover their stay in Canada, they are in good health, they do not have a criminal record, and they are not a security risk to Canadians. These requirements are the same for anyone who wants to visit Canada.

In response to Canada's action, Mexico issued a release saying it regretted the decision, but gave no indication that it would require Canadian visitors to obtain visas. The Czechs are likely to impose visa requirements on Canadians travelling to the country.

What does this mean for travelers from these 2 countries coming to Canada? No longer will they be able to hop on a plane and come to Canada. Mexican and Czech travelers must now submit a complete application to the Visa Office, which should be done well in advance of any anticipated travel.