Whether it’s to visit friends or family, take in some of the incredible sights, or find out if Canada is the right place for a permanent move, millions of people visit Canada every year! A Canadian visitor visa allows tourists to stay in the country for up to six months at a time.
The Canadian government is working hard to encourage young, skilled workers to make Canada their home in the coming years. While economic immigration to Canada becomes faster and more efficient, now may be the right time to explore what Canada has to offer as a visitor.
Unless you are from a country that is visa-exempt, you require a visitor visa (sometimes called a Temporary Resident Visa or TRV) in order to enter the country. If you’re applying for a study permit or a work permit, then the TRV will be included as a part of your application. However, if you want to come to Canada only to visit, then you have to apply for a visitor visa on your own.
Visa-exempt countries are those with whom Canada has agreements that allow their citizens and permanent residents to visit Canada without a visitor visa:
I’m from a country that is not visa-exempt, what will I need to visit?
Canada offers two kinds of visitor visas: single-entry and multiple-entry. The single-entry visa will allow foreign nationals to cross into Canada once. Those with multiple-entry visas can enter and exit as often as they like within the valid duration of their visa.
A visitor visa can be granted for a period of up to six months. However, the duration of the visa will be decided by the immigration officer handling your case.
If you have children or grandchildren living in Canada, you might qualify for the super visa for parents and grandparents. This multiple-entry visa allows you to stay in the country for up to two years at a time, helping you to spend more time with your loved ones.
You have the option to extend your visitor visa from inside Canada only if your temporary status is still valid. Remaining in Canada with an expired visitor visa and no in-process extension application can jeopardize future immigration applications.
If you have completed the extension application before the expiry of your visa, you can remain in Canada under implied status until the application is processed.
I’m from a visa-exempt country, what will I need to visit?
Those travelling to Canada from visa-exempt countries do not require a visitor visa to enter the country. Visa-exempt visitors can enter Canada for a period of up to six months.
If you are from a visa-exempt country and traveling to Canada by airplane, you must hold an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) from the Canadian government. Visa-exempt travellers entering Canada by sea or land will not need an eTA.
United States citizens can travel into and out of Canada with just their valid U.S. passport, no eTA required.
Fortunately, applications for an eTA are fast and affordable. You can secure an eTA by visiting the Canadian government website, inputting the required information, and paying the $7 CAD government fee. Most eTA applications are processed in just a few minutes, but in some cases, it can take several days, so it’s best to apply in advance of your flight. If approved, an eTA remains valid for 5 years or until the expiry of your passport.
If you are coming to Canada as an international student or temporary worker of a visa-exempt country, the Canadian government will automatically issue you an eTA with your study or work permit.
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