If you wish to enter Canada as a visitor or tourist, you will require a visitor visa. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), a visitor is a person who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, but is legally authorized to enter the country on the basis of visiting family, conducting business or vacationing in Canada. There are various conditions that must be met in order for a foreigner to retain visitor status and remain in Canada.
A visitor visa (often referred to as a temporary resident visa) is an official document that will be stamped into your passport to verify that you are admissible to Canada. Most travelers are required to obtain a visitor visa in order to enter Canada. The visitor visa application fee is about CAD $100 and the processing time varies by country.
You may visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website to apply for a visitor visa either online or on paper. CIC will request that you select the region from which you are applying so that they may provide you with instructions regarding your local visa office.
Please note: you must apply for a visitor visa on paper if you are from a *visa-exempt country* using an alien’s passport for stateless persons, or another refugee travel document for non-citizens.
In order for you to visit Canada, you must:
Please Note: The amount of money you are required to possess will vary depending on factors such as the duration of your visit, and where you plan to stay (i.e. with friends or relatives or in a hotel).
You may be denied a visa or entry into Canada for:
Most visitors can stay in Canada for up to 6 months. Upon entry into Canada, a border services officer may allow you to stay for more or less than 6 months. In such cases, they will stamp the date by which you must leave Canada into your passport. Alternatively, they may issue you a visitor record, which is a document that will stipulate the maximum length of your stay.
If you do not receive a stamp or a visitor record from a border services officer, you can stay in Canada for up to 6 months from the date of entry, or until your passport expires — whichever comes first. If you wish to stay longer, you must apply for a visa extension and pay a new fee.
In most cases, visitor visa applicants are required to give their biometrics in the form of fingerprints and a photo. Additionally, you may need to pass a medical examination, present a letter of invitation from a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and/or attend an interview with Canadian officials in your country of origin.
You may be required to pass a medical examination if you:
Please note: your own physician cannot perform this exam. Rather, the exam must be carried out by a doctor on the list of panel physicians provided on the CIC website.
The examination will include a medical history questionnaire and a physical examination. Depending on your age and the outcome of your physical examination, you may be required to undergo further testing, such as chest x-rays and laboratory tests. Once complete, your panel physician will give you a document as proof of your immigration medical exam for you to attach with your visa application.
Your police certificate will state your criminal record, or affirm that you do not have one. Your visa office will provide you with advice regarding whether or not you must obtain a police certificate depending on your country of residence.
Canadian permanent residents outside Canada may not apply for a visitor visa. Rather, they are advised to apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD). If you meet the requirements for a PRTD, one will be issued to you and allow for your return to Canada as a permanent resident. If you do not meet the requirements for a PRTD, or no longer wish to retain your status as a Canadian permanent resident, you may renounce your status and proceed to apply for a temporary resident visa. In other words, a permanent resident may only be issued a temporary residence visa if they voluntarily give up their status as a Canadian permanent resident.
Individuals looking to enter Canada on the basis of visiting their child(ren) or grandchild(ren) will be required to obtain either a visitor visa or a super visa depending on the intended length of their stay. They both cost CAD $100 and the processing time varies by country. You will not require an electronic travel authorization.
A visitor visa will be issued for those who intend to stay in Canada for less than 6 months. This is an official document that will be stamped into your passport.
Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents may be eligible to apply for a super visa that will enable them to stay in Canada for up to 2 years at a time. The Super Visa is a multi-entry visa that provides multiple entries for a period up to 10 years.
We expand on this option in a detailed explanation that will help you *find out whether you qualify for a parents and grandparents super visa*.
To enter Canada, you will typically require either a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). If you will be transiting through Canada on your way to another country, you may require documentation depending on:
If you are from a *visa-required country*, you will need a visitor visa if you plan to:
If you are from a visa-required country, you will need a transit visa if:
You may visit the CIC website to apply for a transit visa either online or on paper, free of charge.
If you are from a *visa-exempt country*, you will require an *Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)* to transit through Canada by air. You will not require an eTA if you are travelling to Canada by any other method.
Citizens and permanent residents of the United States may transit through Canada without a visa by any method of transportation. Also, under certain conditions, you may travel without a visa if you hold a valid passport from:
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