What is Canada Visitor Visa?
Millions visit Canada yearly for varying purposes. A Canada visitor visa allows non-citizens and non-permanent residents of Canada to enter the country legally for a specific duration and purpose. Visitors may be permitted into Canada for the following reasons:
- To visit family.
- To visit for a holiday (vacation).
- To conduct business.
- To assume a diplomatic post.
- To join a family member assuming a diplomatic post.
- To join a vessel.
- To get the Canada-Ukraine authorisation for emergency travel.
Everyone visiting Canada for a temporary stay will need a Canadian visitor visa to come, except those from visa-exempt countries. Nationals of certain countries only require an electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA).
As a British citizen, an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is all you need if you’re visiting for a short period by air. You also need an eTA when transiting through the country. You do not need an eTA if you’re entering the country via land or sea.
However, if you have a different type of British nationality or you’re entering Canada to work or study, you’ll need to apply for a valid visa (a valid study permit, work permit, or permanent residence).
Also, US citizens do not need a tourist visa or eTA to enter Canada.
Canadian permanent residents and dual citizens (such as British-Canadians) are not issued visitor visas. All they need is a valid Canadian passport to enter the country.
You can apply for a Canada visitor visa online or in person, but you must obtain it before you travel to Canada. Canada does not issue a temporary resident visa on arrival.
- What is Canada Visitor Visa?
- Types of Canada Visitor Visa
- Who is Eligible for a Canada Visitor Visa?
- What Documents are Required for the Canada Visitor Visa Application?
- How do I Apply for Canada Visitor Visa?
- Providing Your Biometrics
- What is the Cost and Time of Processing a Canada Visitor Visa?
- Canada Visitor Visa Extension
- Requirements for Visitor Visa Extension
- How to Apply for a Visitor Visa Extension
- Visitor Status Restoration
- How Can IAS Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Types of Canada Visitor Visa
Canadian visitor visas are of two types: single entry and multiple entry visas. A single entry visa is issued in specific situations. All visa applicants are, by default, considered for a multiple entry visa.
Multiple entry visas grants you unlimited entry into Canada for not more than six months at a time. It is valid for ten years or a month before the expiration of your passport, depending on which comes first. You need to arrive in Canada on or before the expiration date of your visa.
Meanwhile, an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) is valid for five years or upon your passport’s expiration.
A single entry visa, however, allows you to enter Canada once. The eligibility requirements for a single entry visa are:
- If the purpose of your entry to Canada is limited (for example, for an official visit by a foreign national). This also qualifies you for a fee-exemption.
- If you’re participating in a special event in Canada.
- If there are valid country-specific guidelines and procedures in place.
In most cases, you will need to apply again for a new visa once you’ve left Canada.
Who is Eligible for a Canada Visitor Visa?
You must fulfil specific basic requirements to qualify for a Canada tourist visa. To be eligible for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), you must:
- Have a valid passport.
- Have no underlying health issues.
- Be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
- Have no immigration-related convictions or criminal record.
- Provide proof of ties to your home country (job, family, financial assets, or home) to show that you intend to return to your home country.
- Convince the immigration officer that you do not intend to stay longer than the period specified in your visa.
- Provide proof of funds to show you have sufficient funds for your trip. The funds you need depend on your arrangements, whether you’re staying with family or in a hotel.
- State your intended duration of stay and temporary residence.
Not everyone can obtain a Canada tourist visa. Some persons may be inadmissible for specific reasons. You might not qualify for a visitor visa if you:
- Have a criminal record.
- Have been involved in organised crime.
- Have been involved in human rights violations.
Some persons might also be inadmissible for health and medical reasons. The COVID-19 pandemic has made health and medical checks more stringent. A person may be denied a tourist visa due to medical reasons if:
- They are considered a threat to public health.
- They are considered a threat to public safety.
- There is an excessive demand on health or social services
You might also be required to take a medical examination as a part of the application process. Even if you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you’ll still be required to take a test at the airport upon arrival. Your VAC will notify you of the testing and quarantine requirements.
What Documents are Required for the Canada Visitor Visa Application?
The documents required for your TRV application depend on the purpose for your visit.
You must also qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption. To qualify, you must have taken two doses of COVID-19 travel accepted vaccine, a combination of two accepted vaccines, or the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine at least 14 days before your departure date.
The current travel accepted vaccines are Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, Moderna, Novavax, Covaxin, Janssen ( Johnson & Johnson), Sinopharm, Sinovac, and Medicago Covifenz.
You are required to upload a proof of your vaccination status online via your ArriveCAN account. This must be done before your travel date.
If you are fully vaccinated, here are the documents required for your visitor visa application:
- Canada Tourist Visa application form.
- Upload a proof of your COVID-19 vaccination status to ArriveCAN.
- ArriveCAN receipt (paper or electronic).
- Valid passport with an expiration date of not less than six months.
- Two white background recent passport photographs (not older than 90 days).
- Completed Family Information form (IMM 5645).
- If a family member is applying on your behalf, then the use of a representative (IMM 5476) form will be required.
- Minor children’s document (needed if a child under 18 years is travelling with a single parent, a friend, a relative, or alone).
- A letter of invitation from your friend or family that you are visiting them.
Other documents that may be required to prove your eligibility for a tourist visa include:
- Bank account statement (to prove you have enough money for your trip and duration of stay).
- Visitor’s itinerary such as flight details, hotel booking, and events registration.
- Travel history and previously issued visas.
- Bank account statement of your family or friend if you’re visiting them.
- Authority to release your personal information to a designated individual (IMM 5475).
It is essential to submit all the necessary travel documents for your application. Ensure you provide complete information in your application package. Also, fill out the Document Checklist (IMM 5484) and submit it alongside your application form and other required documents.
How do I Apply for Canada Visitor Visa?
You can apply for a Canada tourist visa online or on paper at a Visa Application Centre (VAC).
To complete your online application for a visitor visa, you’ll need to create electronic copies of your supporting documents. A scanner or camera will help you do that. You also need a debit or credit card to pay the application fees.
If you’re from a visa-exempt country, you’ll not be able to apply online when using any of the following documents:
- Alien’s passports for stateless persons.
- Other refugee documents for non-citizens.
If you’re using any of these documents for your application, you won’t be considered in an online application. You must visit a Visa Application Centre (VAC) for a paper application.
It’s advisable to wait until you’re eligible for a Canadian tourist visa before applying. It will reduce the chances of having your application rejected.
Also, note that your COVID-19 vaccination status and specific reasons for visiting are essential to your eligibility.
Providing Your Biometrics
If you’re applying for a TRV for the first time and are between the ages of 14 – 79, you’ll need to provide your biometric data as part of the application process.
Usually, your biometric data verification comes up after you have submitted your application and paid the biometric fees. You’ll then wait for the Canadian Government to contact you and tell you what to do next.
The biometrics fee usually is 85 CAD per person.
You’ll have to schedule an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) to register your biometric data. There are numerous VACs worldwide, and most countries have at least one. The following information will be collected from you during your appointment at the visa office:
- Biography data: This includes your personal details such as your full name, sex, date of birth, and other necessary details as highlighted on the biographic page of your travel document.
- 10 Fingerprints: All your fingerprints will be captured using an electronic fingerprint capture device during the biometric data collection.
- Photograph: Your digital photograph of you will be taken.
You’re typically not required to submit your biometric data if you are applying for the Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA).
What is the Cost and Time of Processing a Canada Visitor Visa?
Cost of Processing a Canada Visitor Visa
How much it will cost to process a Canada tourist visa depends on the visa you’re applying for. Whether individual visitor visa, family tourist visa, visitor visa extension, or visitor status restoration.
A Canadian visitor visa costs CAN$100 per person. Adding the CAN$85 biometrics fee will make a total of CAN$185. You will also have to pay CAD$45 for passport processing.
Here are the costs of obtaining Canada visitor visas.
How long will it take for my Canada Visitor Visa to be Processed?
The wait time for Canada visitor visa processing varies greatly. The time it will take for your tourist visa to be processed depends on the country you are applying from. Typically, it takes a few weeks to a few months for your visa to be ready.
You can use the application processing time checker tool on the official Government website to check time estimates.
Disclaimer: A valid Canadian visitor visa does not guarantee entry into the country. Your access is to be decided by the border service officers at the port of entry. They determine if you meet all the requirements for admission into the country.
Canada Visitor Visa Extension
Whether single or multiple entries, visitor visas allow foreign nationals to live legally in Canada for six months at a time. Your legal status expires at the end of six months (if you’re still in the country), and you must leave Canada. If you wish to extend your stay beyond six months, you must apply for an extension while your temporary resident status is still valid.
You should apply for an extension at least 30 days before your legal status expires. If your current visa expires while your extension is still being processed, you can remain in Canada while waiting for the outcome. This state is called Implied Status.
You’ll be issued a Visitor Record if your extension application is successful.
A visitor record is a document that states how long you can stay in Canada. Unlike a visitor visa, the visitor record is an independent document that is not attached to your passport. It is issued by IRCC when your extension application is approved. It usually carries an expiry date – the date you must leave Canada.
A visitor visa is only available when you are inside Canada; it does not guarantee entry. If you leave Canada and want to reenter, you’ll need a valid entry document.
Requirements for Visitor Visa Extension
To be eligible to apply for a visitor visa extension, you need to meet specific requirements. You have to:
- Be in Canada as at the time of your visa expiration.
- Ensure your passport is not expiring within the period of the extended stay.
- Pay the associated fee for Form IMM 5708.
- Ensure that any other permit will remain valid during the extended stay and won’t interfere with your application.
How to Apply for a Visitor Visa Extension
If you’re currently in Canada and want to stay longer than six months, you should apply for an extension. You can apply either online or on paper. It’s faster and easier to apply online; paper application is only necessary if, for some reason, you can’t apply online.
First, you must have an online IRCC account to apply.
You’ll also need a scanner to make electronic copies of your documents and a debit/credit card to pay the application fee.
While completing your application, you’ll be asked the following questions:
- “What would you want to do in Canada?” Select “visit”
- “What is your current country of residence?” select “Canada”
Follow the instructions and finish up the application, pay your fees, and submit the application.
Documents required for Visitor Visa Extension
The forms and documents you need to apply for a visitor record are listed below.
- Application to Change Conditions, Extend my stay, Remain in Canada as a Visitor or Temporary Resident Permit Holder (IMM 5708) Form.
- Use of Representative (IMM476) Form.
- Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual (IMM 5475) Form.
- Statutory declaration of Common-law Union (IMM 5409) (If applicable).
- Copies of valid passport pages. They must include your name, date of birth, passport number, expiry date, the stamp of your most recent entry into Canada, and all other marked pages.
- Payment receipts.
- Copies of your other travel or identity documents.
- Proof of sufficient funds to cover your extended stay.
Visitor Status Restoration
If you still need to stay in Canada at the expiry of your visitor record, you will be unable to apply for another visa extension. However, you can apply for a visitor status restoration within 90 days of your visitor visa expiration. Application after 90 days will be denied, and you’ll have to leave the country.
To qualify for restoration of status, you must:
- Apply within 90 days of losing your status: within 90 days of the expiry of your status document or within 90 days of the refusal of your extension application.
- Still meet the requirements of your stay.
- Not have failed to comply with any other conditions. For example, you must not have studied without a study permit.
- Proof that you are a genuine temporary resident and will leave Canada at the end of your stay.
You’re not eligible for restoration of status if more than 90 days have passed since your temporary resident status expiry or since the date of refusal on your application for extension of status.
You cannot work or study while your status restoration is being processed. If caught doing so, your restoration of status application will be refused, and you’ll be required to leave Canada.
You can only apply for restoration of status from within Canada. If you apply and leave the country, your application will be refused. You’ll have to apply for a new visa to enter Canada.
Restoration of Status Application Requirements
In applying for restoration of status, you’ll be required to:
- Pay restoration fee: The application to restore your status as a temporary resident costs CAD$200. If you’re also applying for a work or study permit, you’ll pay the corresponding permit fees in addition to the CAD$200.
- Provide the following details:
- Proof of current Status in Canada.
- Why you want to stay longer in Canada.
- When you’ll be leaving Canada, including departure time and date.
- Proof you’re able to support yourself financially in Canada during your stay.
- Proof that your stay in Canada is temporary.
Your restoration of status application can be refused for some of the following reasons:
- Failure to provide a valid reason for wanting to extend your stay in Canada.
- Failure to convince the immigration officer that you intend to return home. If the officer perceives that you intend to remain in Canada permanently, he might refuse your application.
- Failure to comply with the conditions of your temporary residency.
- Working without a work permit while your visa was valid.
- Working or studying upon expiration of your temporary resident status.
Applying for a Canada visitor visa can be a complex and draining process if you do not have the proper knowledge and information. Getting help from immigration experts is essential to avoid any mistake that can cause your application to be denied.
IAS Canadian immigration lawyers are here to assist you with your tourist visa application and any other visa-related challenge you might be facing. Our lawyers are highly trained and have decades of experience in immigration and emigration law. We’ll help you ensure your application process is smooth and error-free and give you the best chances of success.
For professional advice and assistance with your application, call us on 0333 305 9375 or contact us through our online form.
Last modified on August 25th, 2023 at 10:47 am
Need help with an immigration issue? Book a one-to-one advice session with one of our legal caseworkers.
We can complete your visa application on your behalf, taking the stress and hassle out of the process.
Fast Track Package
Need to submit an application quickly? We can help you complete and send it off in as little as 24 hours.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal with our legal support and guidance.
The Advice Package
With our Advice Package, you can book a one-to-one session with one of our legal team and receive bespoke advice tailored for your situation. We will review your case and give you expert advice on how best to proceed with your immigration matter. Reach out to a member of our team and book your session today.
The Application Package
Our Application Package is designed to help relieve the stress of immigration applications. One of our legal caseworkers will help you throughout the entire process, including establishing your eligibility for your chosen route, completing your application form to the highest standards and organising your documents. We will then submit it and monitor its status on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our premium Fast Track Package is ideal if you need to submit an application quickly, such as if you need to meet a tight deadline. Our lawyers will work closely with you to see that your application is completed to the highest standards and ensure you get your application in on time, helping to take the stress and pressure off you.
The Appeal Package
Visa appeals can be a stressful process, especially if you’re relying on a specific visa to be approved. Our legal team can help you navigate the whole process and maximise your chances of a successful appeal, working alongside you to reach a favourable result. We can also represent you in immigration-related hearings and tribunals.
A Canadian tourist visa is valid for ten years or a month to the expiration of your current passport.
Canada still issues tourist visas, but only online applications are available. Paper application has been halted as part of COVID-19 health measures.
You’ll be required to take a COVID test upon arrival at the Canadian airport. You must also make arrangements to quarantine for 14 days when you arrive in Canada. It is compulsory whether you have COVID symptoms or not. You’re advised not to travel to Canada without a quarantine plan as you might not be granted entry.
The Canada visitor visa allows you to stay in Canada for six months at a time. If you need to stay more than six months for any reason, you can apply for a visa extension before the six months elapses.
You can bring your dependents (such as your spouse and minor children) to Canada with a tourist visa. But, they’ll each have to fill out a separate application and pay their application fees. Your applications should be submitted together in one envelope at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) so that you’ll be processed as a family.
You need either a visitor visa or a transit visa when transiting through Canada, depending on how long you’ll stay in the country and the mode of entry.
You need a visitor if you’re staying in the country for more than 48 hours during your travel. A visitor visa is also required for crossing the Canadian bother by land or sea. Only US citizens are exempted.
A transit visa is sufficient if you’re staying in Canada for less than 48 hours while travelling or boarding a connecting international flight at a Canadian airport.
You can apply for an eTA online on the official Canadian Government website in a simple process that takes just a few minutes. Your eTA approval will be sent to your mail between a few minutes and a few days (if additional documents are required) of your application. Ensure you fill in the correct passport number and get your approval before booking a flight. An eTA application costs CAN$7.