ALL Costa Rican citizens must now obtain a visa to travel to Canada, according to a statement issued by the Canadian Embassy in San José.The new measure went into effect on Tuesday. Before that, Ticos did not need a visa to enter Canada.“The decision to eliminate the visa exemption was not taken lightly. Many factors have been considered,” declared Judy Sgro, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and immigration. “It’s essential in maintaining the integrity of Canada’s Immigration Program, while continuing to facilitate the entry of legitimate visitors.”A temporary resident visa is an effective way to make sure visitors enter Canada with the intent of visiting and not to remain in the country permanently, according to Canadian officials.Since 2000, 4,287 Costa Ricans have sought refugee status in Canada, claimingto be victims of political or religious persecution.This generates enormous costs for Canadian officials who must process the requests – 99% of which are rejected, according to the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry.Costa Rica is sixth on the list of countries whose citizens have issued the most refugee requests, behind Pakistan, Colombia, China, Mexico and Sri Lanka. “We maintain our commitment to providing quality services to facilitate the entry of business representatives, tourists and legitimate travelers from Costa Rica and other countries,” Sgro said.Costa Rican citizens can apply for a temporary resident visa at any Canadian visa office. Those who travel regularly to Canada, such as business executives, have the option of applying for a multiple-entry visa.