Visa-Free to Canada

After years of waiting and hoping, Polish citizens are finally able to enter Canada without visas, as of March 1st 2008. For decades Canadians have been able to travel to Poland without a visa, but Poles had to apply for a visa to Canada, and some were often denied. One of the reasons the Canadian government decided to finally lift the visa requirement is because the majority of Poles visiting Canada in the past have left within the time specified on their visas.

As about 850,000 Canadians are Polish or have Polish roots, the number of Poles who will travel to Canada on holiday is expected to be fairly significant. In 2006, about 34,000 visas were issued for Poles visiting Canada, and now that the visa process has been eliminated, that number expected to at least double. However, don't expect the same thing to happen in Canada as happened in the UK and Ireland once Poland joined the EU. Most Poles went to the UK and Ireland to work at a time when salary differences between the British Isles and Poland were enormous; today, salaries between Poland and North America are similar, and it's not worth it for most Poles to travel so far from home to find a job.

Unfortunately, the current American government has no plans to follow suit, even while they have been striking visa deals with the Czech Republic. However, one candidate for the American presidency, Hillary Clinton, has pledged to lift visa restrictions for Poles if she is elected.


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