Mexico suspends diplomatic visa exemption for Canadians

Mexico’s foreign secretary has announced the suspension of a visa exemption for Canadian diplomats and officials working in Mexico the country. The decision comes in response to the announcement late Monday by the Canadian government that it was introducing a new visa for Mexican nationals wanting to travel to Canada.

Canadian officials and diplomats will now have to obtain visas before coming to Mexico, but the new restrictions will not affect Canadian tourists. Mexico’s tourist industry was severely hit by the H1N1 flu outbreak earlier this year. The adding of restrictions for travelers would only cause a further drop in visitors to the country.

The new measures were made public by Mexico’s foreign secretary, Patricia Espinosa, during a meeting with her Canadian counterpart, Lawrence Cannon, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Guadalajara yesterday.

"We have made it absolutely clear that we are not in agreement" with the Canadian decision, Espinosa said.

The Canadian government announced the visa restrictions for Mexican nationals on Monday, only two days before they were due to come into effect. Since then, Mexico City’s Canadian embassy has been descended upon by thousands of Mexicans desperate to process the necessary visa paperwork before the departure of flights they’ve already booked.

The Canadian embassy issued a statement yesterday that said that on Tuesday and Wednesday more than 3,500 people applied for the visas, and that by the end of play Wednesday 1,300 had been processed.

See the video for more.


— Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Video: At the Canadian embassy in Mexico City. Credit: Deborah Bonello