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Immigration Assessment



OTTAWA, May 10, 2004 — Judy Sgro, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, announced today that citizens of Costa Rica will require a Canadian temporary resident visa to travel to Canada as of May 11, 2004. This measure was necessitated because increasing numbers of Costa Rican nationals are entering Canada as visitors when they intend to remain permanently.

“The decision to lift a visa exemption is never made lightly. Many factors are considered before making this decision,” said Minister Sgro. “It is essential to maintain the integrity of Canada’s immigration program, while continuing to facilitate the entry of legitimate visitors.”

Citizens of Costa Rica can apply for a temporary resident visa at any Canadian visa office abroad. The Canadian visa officer for the Central American region is based in Guatemala. That officer will be available at the Canadian Embassy in San Jose, Costa Rica, to facilitate the issuance of visas.

A grace period ending at 23:59 EDT, on May 12, 2004, has been provided to accommodate nationals of Costa Rica who have already left their country of residence and are in transit.

“We remain committed to providing quality service to facilitate the entry of business representatives, students, tourists and other legitimate travellers from Costa Rica and all other countries,” said Minister Sgro.

Individuals who travel to Canada regularly, such as business people, may choose to apply for multiple-entry visas.

Visa requirements and exemptions are reviewed on an active and on-going basis. Since December 2001, the results of ongoing reviews have led to lifting visa exemptions for Dominica, Grenada, Hungary, Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Zimbabwe, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.


For more information (media only):

Simone Mac Andrew
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister
(613) 954-1064

Maria Iadinardi
Media Relations
Communications Branch
(613) 952-0740