On November 22, 2014 the Government of Canada announced that Chilean citizens would no longer require a visa to visit Canada. This means that Chile joins other visa-exempt countries whose citizens may stay in Canada for up to 6 months without a visa.
At the same time, Canada imposed new visa restrictions on visitors from St. Kitts and Nevis. This was done in response to concerns over inadequate identity management practices pertaining to that country’s Citizenship by Investment Program. Citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis will be required to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa in order to enter Canada.
Information for Employers
The lifting of the visa requirement will make it easier for Canadian employers to hire Chilean citizens pursuant to the terms of the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement. That agreement includes provisions related to temporary work permits for Chilean professionals and intra-company transferees.
Previously, Chilean citizens seeking a work permit in Canada were required to apply in advance through a Canadian consulate. Chilean citizens with the necessary supporting documentation may now make their application for a work permit at any Canadian port-of-entry, significantly reducing the administrative burden and processing times.
Information for Chilean Citizens
The visa exemption means that Chilean citizens may enter and remain in Canada without a visa for periods of up to 6 months. Previously, Chilean citizens had to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa prior to visiting Canada. The lifting of the visa restriction will make it easier for Chileans to visit Canada.
This visa-exemption applies to admission to Canada only. It does not extend permission to work or study in Canada. Chileans seeking to work or study may now apply for a permit to do so at any Canadian port-of-entry provided they have the necessary supporting documents.
It is important to note that this visa exemption in no way waives Canada’s standard admissibility criteria. All foreign nationals with health conditions, criminal backgrounds or who may represent a security risk are still inadmissible to Canada.
Information for Citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis
Citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis wishing to visit Canada must now apply for a Temporary Resident Visa in order to be admitted to Canada. Applications for a Temporary Resident Visa may be made in person, by mail or by courier at any Visa Application Centre (VAC).
If you have any questions about the information contained in this update, or to speak with a lawyer about the particulars of your case, please contact Green and Spiegel LLP to schedule a consultation.