On 01 March 2008, Canadian immigration authorities announced that citizens of Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania, and Hungary no longer need a temporary resident visa to visit Canada.
"Canada enjoys strong ties with these countries," said Immigration Minister Diane Finley. "Lifting the visa requirement will help build those relationships to the benefit of Canadians and the citizens of Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania and Hungary."
Visa-free status for the four countries is effective immediately. Canada has been reviewing visa requirements for all new member states that joined the European Union in 2004 and 2007, in the wake of criticism from the EU about not providing visa-free travel to all nations in the 27-member bloc. Canada dropped visa requirements for Estonia in 2006 and Latvia and the Czech Republic in late 2007.
"We are committed to the free and secure movement of people between the EU and Canada," said Minister Finley. "We are also committed to the objective of visa-exempt status for all EU member states."
Bulgaria and Romania, the last two countries to join the EU, are the only two EU states whose citizens still require visas when travelling to Canada.