Canada lifts visa requirement for Czech, Latvia republics
Agence France Presse
October 31, 2007
OTTAWA (AFP) Immigration Minister Diane Finley announced Wednesday that citizens of the Czech Republic and the Republic of Latvia no longer require a temporary resident visa to visit Canada.
“After careful analysis, Canada has determined the visa requirement for the Czech Republic and the Republic of Latvia will be removed,” Finley said in a statement.
“Canada enjoys strong ties with both of these countries, and lifting the visa requirement will help us build on those relationships to the benefit of Canadians and the citizens of the Republic of Latvia and the Czech Republic.”
The move follows European Commission threats of possible retaliatory measures if Canada failed to lift visa requirements on eight EU member nations by year-end.
These included Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
Canada's immigration department said Wednesday it would continue to work with the remaining new EU member states toward its goal of having visa-free travel for all EU citizens “as soon as possible.”
Canadian officials would visit these countries as part of its ongoing review to determine when visa requirements can be removed, it added.
Finley commented: “We are committed to the free and secure movement of people between the EU and Canada. We are also committed to the objective of visa-exempt status for all EU member states.”
In 2006, some 7,300 temporary resident visas were issued for Czech citizens, and close to 1,100 temporary resident visas were issued for Latvia.