OTTAWA — Canada will lift a visa requirement for Romanian and Bulgarian travelers at the end of next year and ease some restrictions before then, the government announced on Monday.
The two EU nations had made visa-free travel a key condition for their support of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that was signed by Canada and the EU on Sunday.
After Romania and Bulgaria reached a deal with Ottawa a week ago on the visa waivers - which will go into effect on December 1, 2017 - they lifted their respective threats to block the free trade accord.
"Lifting the visa requirements for Romania and Bulgaria will mean visa-free travel to Canada for citizens of all EU member states. We will all benefit from the increase in travel and trade that results," Immigration Minister John McCallum said in a statement.
The visa restriction was meant to stop a feared wave of refugee claims by ethnic Roma, also known as gypsies, but created tensions between the EU and Canada.
In the lead-up to the full visa lifting, Ottawa said Romanian and Bulgarian citizens who have held a Canadian temporary resident visa in the past 10 years or who hold a valid US non-immigrant visa would be exempted from the visa requirement. — AFP