In order to visit Canada, most foreign nationals need a visitor visa (also called a temporary resident visa) or an eTA. A visitor visa is an official document in your passport that shows that you meet the requirements needed to enter Canada.
Most travellers need a visitor visa to travel to Canada. You may also need one if you’re transiting through a Canadian airport on your way to your final destination. A transit visa is an official document that we put in your passport. It shows that you meet the requirements to transit for up to 48 hours through a Canadian airport.
However, if you are from a visa-required country, you will need a visa if your transit through Canada will be longer than 48 hours or if you plan to visit Canada.
You can apply for a visitor visa online or on paper.
Electronic Travel Authorization
An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is an entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. An eTA is electronically linked to a traveller’s passport. It is valid for up to five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. Mainly travellers from some countries that are visa-exempt need an eTA to travel to Canada.
Reasons for entering Canada as a visitor
A person can visit Canada for tourism purposes, to reunite with a family member, for business reasons, for compassionate reasons like to attend a funeral or provide support to a critically ill person, or for a diplomatic visit etc.
Some reasons can make a person inadmissible to Canada, which means they are not allowed to enter the country including being involved in:
- criminal activity
- human rights violations
- organized crime
How long you can stay
Most visitors can stay for up to 6 months in Canada with a valid visitor visa or an eTA.
In some cases, CBSA officer may issue a visitor record at the port of entry and limit your stay to less than 6 months and apply some conditions on stay. In that case, they’ll put the date you need to leave by in your passport. They might issue a document, called a visitor record, which will show the date you need to leave by. If the officer doesn’t stamp the passport with a date, you can stay for 6 months from the day you entered Canada or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
Documents required for the Visitor Visa
- Letter of invitation and proof of relationship from a sponsor if the purpose of the visit is to meet family
- Valid passport with at least two clear pages
- Two recently taken photos of the candidate with his name and date of birth written
- Proof of finances to support yourself in Canada
- Duly filled and signed visitor visa application forms