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Canada transit visa

Getting an airport transit visa for Canada depends on your eligibility, method of entering Canada, nationality, and documentation. We have specialist immigration lawyers that can help achieve a successful application process.

Call us on 0333 363 8577 for immediate assistance. We’re always available to discuss with you in person, via the phone, or online.

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    What is a transit visa?

    A transit visa or airport visa is a travel document that allows foreign nationals to travel through Canadian borders. It is an official document attached to a traveller’s passport that shows that the person is from a visa-required country and eligible to transit through Canada; this is different from a visitor visa.

    What is a visitor visa?

    A visitor visa (or Temporary Resident Visa) applies to people who want to visit Canada. A visitor visa is an official travel document that permits persons from visa-required countries to enter and stay in Canada for up to 6 months.

    When do you need transit through Canada?


    You need a Canadian transit visa if:

    • You must transit through Canada to or from the United States by plane,
    • Your international flight stops at the Canadian airport for a stopover
    • You need to connect an international flight to get to your destination
    • You don’t have a visitor visa
    • You are a foreign national from a visa-required country
    • You will be in Canada airport within 24 hours or 48 hours at most.

    Who is not eligible?

    However, not everyone requires a visa to transit through Canada. You can enter Canada with an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a valid passport. Before applying for an airport visa, check the one that applies to you.

    Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

    Electronic Travel Authorization (eTV) is an official document that permits travellers from visa-exempted countries to enter or transit through Canada. An eTA is only applicable to persons visiting Canada by air. If you have an eTA, you do not necessarily need a visitor visa as they both serve the same purpose.

    How do you know if you are qualified for electronic travel authorisation?

    Notably, only nationals from visa-exempt states are qualified to apply for eTA. Other criteria to satisfy are:

    • Proof of personal money that can sufficiently fund your stay in Canada.
    • No record of criminal convictions or immigration problems due to criminal record
    • A valid passport
    • Good health
    • No intention to study, work, or attain permanent residence

    How to process the electronic travel authorisation

    • Have your passport handy
    • Have a functional credit or debit card
    • Visit the Canada immigration website to access the online form for eTA online application.
    • Pay the required $7 (CAD) eTA fee immediately after you complete the application form.
    • Check the email you provided for approval mail or additional documents you need to submit to get approved.

    Who is qualified to transit through Canada with a passport?

    • U.S. citizens and legal U.S. permanent residents can enter Canada with valid U.S. visas
    • People who have dual citizenship with Canada can transit through Canada with valid U.S. and Canada visas.
    • TWOV foreign nationals – citizens of countries in the Transit Without Visa Program (China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Taiwan) and China Transit Program.
    • Canadian Airport authority – Calgary International Airport (Alberta), Toronto Pearson International Airport, Terminal 1 (Ontario), Vancouver International Airport (British Columbia), Winnipeg International Airport (Manitoba)
    • Air Carriers – Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, Air China, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, Jazz Air, Philippines Airlines, WestJet, and Xiamen Airlines.

    Transit through Canada with a passport may require an additional travel document.

    2 passports in hand

    What are the requirements for transiting through Canada?

    Guidelines are provided for travellers’ stay in the Canadian airport while transiting through Canada airport.

    Before flight

    Ensure you understand and meet all Canadian flight requirements for transiting travellers.

    • Submit your information to ArriveCAN 72hrs before arrival at the Canadian airport
    • Travellers not fully vaccinated must go through an arrival test and quarantine requirements
    • Fully vaccinated travellers must submit proof of vaccination to ArriveCAN to be exempt from pre-entry testing and quarantine requirements.
    Passport and other travel related personal items.

    In Canadian airport

    Unlike visitor visa or eTA, which permits travellers to stay in Canada for up to 6 months, airport transit only allows travellers in Canada for not more than 48 hours.

    Travellers must stay within the secure transit area, the sterile zone pending their next flight. You can only obtain your belongings and check in for your flight at your scheduled gate.

    In case of flight cancellation or delay, you must see the Canada Border Services Agency to reconnect your flight. Meanwhile, you can only leave the airport with a Canadian visitor visa.

    If your stay at Canada airport is more than 48 hours, you are no longer on transit status; you will have to provide a visitor visa.

    Our expert immigration lawyers can assist with your Canada transit visa application.

    How to apply for an airport visa application?


    • Ensure you read the guidelines on gathering and submitting travel papers before starting your application. There are guidelines provided on the Canada immigration site.
    • Be sure of the entry mode that applies to you – Passport, Electronic Travel Authorization (eTV), or a transit visa.
    • Get fully vaccinated or provide proof of vaccination
    • Check if you need to provide biometric data. Not every traveller needs to give their biometric, especially persons transiting from or to the United States or having a U.S. passport. Biometrics are only required every 10 years interval. You can submit your biometric data online, by email, or in person through the visa application centre.
    • Choose your method of application. You can apply online or on paper.
    • If you are applying online, have all required documents in soft copies. You use a scanner to create soft copies of your papers.
    • If you are applying in person on paper, visit your local visa office to access the guidelines on the application package. Application packages vary by country.
    • Get all required documents ready for application.
    • Access the online application form from the Canada immigration site; fill out and complete the application forms. Applicants who enter Canada to take an international flight to another country must fill out an Application for Temporary Resident Visa, Family Information, Document Checklist, and other required records.
    • Please submit your application and confirm that you have adequately submitted it. If your application method is on paper, visit the visa application centre in your country to submit it.

    What happens after submission?

    The Visa office will only review and process an application with clear and completed documents. They may contact you for additional documents or an interview.

    Applicants get their passports and original documents after application processing.

    How long does it take to process an airport visa?

    The processing time for visa applications of transit applicants depends on the visa office in the applicant’s home country and if there is a need for additional documents.

    How much is the visa fee for to transit through Canada

    Airport transit visa application is free. Applicants are not required to pay a visa fee to transit through Canada.

    Passport and map

    Call us for further assistance with your Canadian immigration matter.

    How Can IAS Help?

    Immigration Advice Service(IAS) offers specialised services for anyone seeking information or guidance on immigration. IAS Advice Package provides clients with legal experts in the field of immigration laws to provide legal advice on the most appropriate airport transit method and measures required for a successful visa application.

    With our Application Package, we also specialise in providing practical advice and assistance in gathering the necessary documentation, filling, completing, and submitting forms based on your nationality, immigration requirements, and immigration eligibility.

    If you want to live, get a work permit, or study in Canada, IAS is a world-leading expert in emigration to Canada. We are experts worldwide with in-depth knowledge and experience to help you relocate successfully.

    Call us on 0333 363 8577 for immediate assistance with your Canada airport transit or related situations. We’re available to discuss this with you in person, via the phone, or online.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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