Canada Visitors Visa: 6 things you must know

Canada Visitors Visa: 6 things you must know

About the document

Are you curious or desirous of visiting Canada, read up Canada Visitors Visa: 6 things you must know. A visitor visa (also called a temporary resident visa) is an official document that we stick in your passport. It 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.

You can apply for a visitor visa online or on paper.

How long you can stay

Most visitors can stay for up to 6 months in Canada.

At the port of entry, the border services officer may allow you to stay for less or more than 6 months. If so, they’ll put the date you need to leave by in your passport. They might also give you a document, called a visitor record, which will show the date you need to leave by.

If you don’t get a stamp in your passport, you can stay for 6 months from the day you entered Canada or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. If you need a stamp, you can ask a border services officer for one. and if you arrive at an airport that uses primary inspection kiosks, ask the border officer after you finish at the kiosk.

Make sure you need a visitor visa before you apply

You may need a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization. The entry document you need depends on:

  • the type of travel document you plan to travel with
  • the country that issued your travel document
  • your nationality
  • your method of travel to Canada for this trip

How to apply

Before you apply for a visitor visa

  • Find out if you’re eligible to travel Canada right now.
  • Get the documents you need for a visitor visa.
  • Find out what to do for your biometrics (fingerprints and photo)
    • Most applicants need to give their biometrics if it’s the first time they apply.

Steps to apply for a visitor Visa

Step 1: Check if you’re eligible to travel to Canada
You must bring evidence that you meet the eligibility requirements to travel at this time. Find out who can travel to Canada

Step 2: Get the documents that show you meet the criteria for a visitor visa
Check the list of documents based on your situation

Step 3: Apply online
1. Create an account

2. Upload your documents

3. Pay your fees

Step 4: Give your fingerprints and photo (biometrics)
Normally, you need to give biometrics. If your local visa application centre is not open due to COVID-19, there are temporary measures in place for biometrics.

Find out what to do for your biometrics

How we process your application
We’ll check your application to make sure you have all the documents you need.

If it’s incomplete, we’ll return your application without processing it.

If we approve your application, we’ll ask you to send us your passport. Send us your passport (if we approve your application) To get your visa, follow the instructions we’ll send to you.

Prepare for your travel to and arrival in Canada
You may need to bring with you documents you submitted with your visa application, or present additional documents to the border services officer on arrival in Canada.


You must meet some basic requirements to get a visitor visa. You must:

  • have a valid travel document, like a passport
  • be in good health
  • have no criminal or immigration-related convictions
  • convince an immigration officer that you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take you back to your home country
  • convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit
  • have enough money for your stay
    • The amount of money you will need depends on how long you will stay and if you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives.

You may also need a medical exam and letter of invitation from someone who lives in Canada.

Some people are not allowed to enter Canada

Some people are not admissible to Canada, which means they are not allowed to enter the country. You can be inadmissible for several reasons, including being involved in:

  • criminal activity
  • human rights violations
  • organized crime

You can also be inadmissible for security, health or financial reasons.

Supporting documents for a visitor visa applicant

The documents you need to submit with your visa application depends on why you’re traveling to Canada.

Proof that you’re eligible to travel to Canada

You must bring evidence that you meet the eligibility requirements to travel at this time, such as

  • a negative COVID-19 test result (taken within 72 hours of your departure)
  • the evidence you provided in your visa application
  • written authorization from IRCC (if you’re required to get it)
  • written authorization from the Public Health Agency of Canada (if you’re travelling for compassionate reasons)

If you can’t provide this information, you won’t be allowed to board your flight to Canada or enter at a Canadian land port of entry.

Situations where you may need extra documents on arrival

If either of the following situations applies to you or someone you’ll travel with, have the documents indicated in hand.

You have a child under the age of 18 (a minor child)

In Canada, a child under the age of 18 is considered a minor.

You may need to show

  • a letter that authorizes the minor child to travel to Canada, and
  • other documents, such as adoption papers or a custody decree, depending on if the minor child travels alone or not

You were invited to come to Canada

If you got a letter from a person or company that invited you to Canada, bring that letter with you. A border services officer may ask to see it.

Find out more about letters of invitation

Your arrival in Canada

A valid visa and travel document don’t guarantee that you can enter Canada. You must also meet the current health requirements due to COVID-19.

We determine if you meet all entry requirements

When you arrive, we’ll check your identity to make sure that you’re the same person who was approved to travel to Canada. We’ll also ask to see your ArriveCAN receipt and quarantine plan.

  • We’ll assess your health before you leave the port of entry. If you’re a foreign national and you have symptoms of COVID-19, you won’t enter Canada.
  • If you enter Canada at one of 4 major Canadian airports
    • Your fingerprints will be checked automatically at a primary inspection kiosk.
    • The system will check your identity against the information collected when your application was submitted.
  • If you enter Canada at a land port of entry
    • Your fingerprints may be checked if we refer you to a secondary inspection, where a border services officer will use a fingerprint verification device to check your fingerprints.

You enter Canada

If you pass the identity check, health assessment, and meet the entry requirements, the border services officer may stamp your passport or let you know how long you can stay in Canada. You can stay in Canada for up to 6 months.

In some cases, the officer may limit or extend your time in Canada, depending on the purpose of your visit. Ask questions if you’re not sure about something.

You cannot enter into Canada if you give false or incomplete information. The officer must satisfy that

  • you’re eligible for entry into Canada
  • you’ll leave Canada at the end of your approved length of stay

Related post: Canada Study Permit

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