Temporary Residence > Visa Requirements

Foreign nationals need a visitor visa to enter Canada if they are not from the visa-exempt countries and planning to do touristic activities, visit family members/friends living in Canada, study English or French as a second language or study at any other program for less than six months, or conduct international business activities. Most visitors are allowed a maximum six-month stay from the day they entered Canada. However, the minimum allowed stay could be any period less than a six-month period.

What is a Visitor Visa?

Most foreign nationals need a visitor visa (i.e., Temporary Resident Visa) to come to Canada. Visitor visa is required if a foreigner plans to stay in Canada less than six months and then return home. When a foreigner visits Canada on a visitor visa, a CBSA officer in the airport can limit a period of stay. Thus, CBSA officer can make a stamp in a travel document restricting stay to less than six months. Traveling as a tourist, visiting family members or friends, conducting business, or merely transiting require a Canadian visitor visa.

Basic Visitor Visa Requirements

An immigration officer or a visa officer outside Canada would assess whether a foreigner meets the basic visa requirements. Thus, a foreigner should have a valid travel document (like a passport). Also, a foreign national has to be in good health and have no criminal or immigration-related convictions.  Foreigner has to have enough money for the stay. Very important to show that a foreign national has ties to his or her home country. Such ties could be, for instance, a job, home, assets, family, and funds in the bank. The existence of these factors will be the evidence that a foreigner will return to home country after visiting Canada. How much funds a foreign have to show depends on the period of stay and other circumstances.

Additional Visa Requirements

In some cases, a foreigner may need to take a medical exam or provide a letter of invitation.  A letter of invitation could be from a Canadian person or business. Under some circumstances, immigration or visa officer will not approve a visa. For example, if a foreigner has committed a crime in any country, violated human rights, or have a severe medical condition or financial problems.

Visa Exemptions

Nationals of specified countries do not need a visa to come to Canada for a temporary visit.  However, national of visa-exempted countries still need to apply and get an Electronic Travel Document (eTA) to enter Canada by flight. eTA is electronically linked to a passport and is valid for up to five years or until the passport expires. U.S. citizens do not need to have an Electronic Travel Document to enter Canada. U.S. citizens just need a valid U.S. passport

Countries from which nationals do not need a visa to enter Canada.

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, British citizen, British National (Overseas), British overseas citizen (re-admissible to the United Kingdom), British overseas territory citizen with citizenship through birth, descent, naturalization or registration in one of the British overseas territories of: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Island, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands, British Subject with a right of abode in the United Kingdom, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, must have a passport issued by Hong Kong SAR, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, must have a national Israeli passport, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States, Vatican City State.

Extend Stay in Canada.

A visitor can extend his or her stay in Canada. Extension of a visit to Canada is possible if there is a valid reason for prolonging your stay in Canada. You must apply for an extension of your visit 30 days before you have to return to your home country. If you have multiple entry ten years Canadian visa, you are still allowed to stay in Canada only up to 6 months. Thus, you have to apply for extension 30 days before the 6-month period expires. The same extension rule applies if you want to change a study permit or a work permit, or to change conditions of your stay.

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