Overview of Canadian Visitor Visas
There are four main visas under the Canada visitor visa category. These are the Visitor Visa (also known as the Temporary Resident Visa, or TRV), Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), Transit Visa, and Parent and Grandparent Super Visa.
The visas are nonimmigrant visas and the one you will require will depend on the type of travel document you intend to travel with, your nationality, the reason for travel, and how long you intend to stay in Canada.
The TRV and eTA are short-term visitor visas that normally allow visits for up to six months at a time. Business visitors who intend to visit Canada for business activities, such as attending conferences, training, or buying Canadian goods or services may also need one of these two types of visas.
The Transit Visa is primarily aimed at certain visitors who need to apply for a visa when connecting to a separate international flight at a Canadian airport.
The Super Visa is for parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents. It allows visa holders to visit their Canadian children or grandchildren for up to two years at a time.
For more information or assistance with any of the visas, call us today at +1 844 290 6312.
Visitor Visa (Temporary Resident Visa)
The Visitor Visa (or Temporary Resident Visa, or TRV) is one of Canada’s visitor visas. It allows foreign nationals to visit Canada for up to six months at a time for tourism purposes, to visit a family member, or to conduct business.
You will need a TRV if you are travelling with a passport from a foreign country that is one of Canada’s visa-required countries.
Visitors from these countries will require a TRV regardless of their method of travel into Canada (plane, car, bus, train, cruise ship, etc).
In order to qualify for a TRV, visa applicants must first fulfil some basic visa requirements. 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.
In addition, you must also be eligible to enter Canada in accordance with the country’s inadmissibility guidelines.
In order to qualify for a TRV, you must also be able to supply additional supporting documents to prove your eligibility. These include things such as proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, ArriveCAN receipt, and family information forms.
You will also normally be required to give your biometric information at a registered Visa Application Centre (VAC).
The TRV is usually a multiple entry visa. One of the benefits is that it allows for unlimited travel in and out of Canada for six months at a time. It will be valid for up to 10 years or one month before your passport expires, whichever occurs sooner. You must arrive in Canada on or before the expiry date on your visa.
The cost of obtaining a TRV is $CAN 100 per person. You may apply for it either online or on paper.
Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
If you are travelling to Canada with a passport from a country on Canada’s visa-exempt list, you may need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).
Visitors from these countries will need to apply for an eTA if flying into Canada via a Canadian airport. However, if you are travelling to Canada by any other means of transport, such as car, train, bus or boat, you only need a valid passport and won’t have to apply for an eTA or any other visitor visa for your visit.
Lawful permanent residents of the US also require an eTA to travel to Canada, in addition to a valid passport and a Green Card.
eTAs are valid for up to five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. Like the TRV, it allows for unlimited travel in and out of Canada, with visit periods of up to six months at a time.
An eTA costs $CAN 7 per person. You must apply for it online, making sure that you have your passport, a credit or debit card, and an email address to hand for the application process.
If you are travelling through Canada on your way to another country, you may require a Transit Visa.
You will require a Transit Visa if you are from a visa-required country and:
- your international flight stops at a Canadian airport on its way to another country
- you’ll be connecting between two international flights at a Canadian airport
- you’ll transit through Canada in 48 hours or less
- you don’t have a valid visitor visa
If you’re from a visa-required country and are planning to visit Canada, or stay in Canada for more than 48 hours, you will require a TRV instead of a Transit Visa.
You will also require a TRV if you are from a visa-required country and are planning to cross the border in Canada using any other method of transport other than a plane.
If you are from a visa-exempt country and need to travel through Canada, you will need an eTA instead of a Transit Visa. However, you won’t need an eTA if you’re transiting through Canada and you enter using any other method of transport other than a plane.
Citizens and permanent residents of the US can travel through Canada without a visa by any method of transport, as long as they have the right travel documents.
Transit visas are valid for one or two entries, depending on your travel plans. They are also free to obtain. You normally need to apply online to obtain a Transit Visa.
The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa is a visa specifically for parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents. It allows visa holders to visit their Canadian children or grandchildren for up to two years at a time.
In order to be eligible for a Parent and Grandparent Super Visa, you must:
- Be the parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- Have a signed letter from your child or grandchild who invites you to Canada
- Have medical insurance from a Canadian insurance company that:
- Is valid for at least 1 year from the date of entry
- Has at least $100,000 coverage
- And have proof that the medical insurance has been paid (quotes aren’t accepted)
The child or grandchild who invites you must also be able to prove that their household meets the low income cut-off (LICO) threshold. This is because they must promise to financially support you for the length of your visit.
You must also be able to enter Canada in accordance with their inadmissibility guidelines, provide biometrics, take a medical exam, and satisfy a range of other factors and considerations to be eligible for a Super Visa.
A Super Visa costs CAD$100 to obtain, and may be applied for either online or on paper.
Requirements when you apply a business visitor
You are considered to be a business visitor if you:
- come to take part in international business activities without being part of the Canadian labour market
- are visiting Canada temporarily to:
- look for ways to grow your business
- advance your business relationships
Additionally, business travelers can only qualify as a business visitor to Canada if they can demonstrate that:
- you plan to stay for less than 6 months
- you don’t plan to enter the Canadian labour market
- your main place of business, source of income and profits are outside Canada
- you have documents that support your application
- you meet Canada’s basic entry requirements, because you:
- have a valid travel document, such as a passport
- have enough money for your stay and to return home
- plan to leave Canada at the end of your visit
- are not a criminal, security or health risk to Canadians
The types of activities you may conduct as a business visitor include:
- buying Canadian goods or services for a foreign business or government
- taking orders for goods or services
- going to meetings, conferences, conventions or trade fairs
- giving after-sales service as part of a warranty or sales agreement
- being trained by a Canadian parent company that you work for outside Canada
- training employees of a Canadian branch of a foreign company
- being trained by a Canadian company that has sold you equipment or services
Business Visitor Visa Entry Requirements
You will need to be prepared to show the following documents when you arrive at the border:
- a passport or travel document that is valid for your entire stay
- a valid visitor visa, if applicable
- letters of support from your parent company and a letter of invitation from the Canadian host business or a Letter of Recognition from the Canada Border Services Agency
- other documents such as warranty or service agreements, or contracts, if relevant to your visit
- 24-hour contact details of your business host in Canada
- proof that you have enough money for both your stay in Canada and your return home
- proof of COVID-19 vaccination
If you need an eTA, you must travel using the same passport you used in your application.
Note that the Canadian government categorises business visitors separately to business people. Business people are considered to be people who go to Canada to work under a free trade agreement and may need a separate work permit to do so.
What Else Do I Need to Travel to Canada?
In addition to the requirements listed above, you will also need to download the ArriveCAN app to your phone.
ArriveCAN is the official Canadian mobile app used to store and display information about yourself when travelling to and from Canada.
All travellers must use the ArriveCAN app unless exempt due to an accessibility need.
Travellers who are simply transiting through Canada and do not plan to leave the secure area at the airport do not need to use ArriveCAN.
You will need to submit your information within 72 hours before your arrival in Canada, or before boarding a cruise ship destined for Canada. Failure to submit your information on ArriveCAN may result in you being denied entry into Canada.
How to use ArriveCAN to Travel to Canada?
The type of information you will be expected to enter into the ArriveCAN app includes detailed information about you and the people travelling with you, the purpose of your travel, and the date and time of your travel. You will also need to enter information regarding your COVID-19 vaccination status and quarantine plans, should you need to quarantine.
If you are travelling with other people, you can use one ArriveCAN submission for multiple travelers.
Once you submit your information through ArriveCAN, a receipt will be displayed and emailed to you. This receipt shows that you have successfully provided your information, and you must be ready to provide it alongside your other travel documents when arriving in Canada.
If you are travelling to Canada, it’s essential to have the most up-to-date information about visa requirements. It’s also important to be equipped with all of the knowledge and materials you need in order to successfully gain entry into Canada.
If you require additional assistance with your visa application or any other topic, Total Law’s Canadian immigration lawyers are here to help. We are experts in immigration and are dedicated to providing each and every visa applicant with the assistance and support they need. We can support your visa interview, application or case and help you get your application approved.
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Possession of a valid visa or eTA does not guarantee entry into Canada. Your entry into Canada will be dependent on your travel documents and information being inspected and approved by a border services offer when you arrive. They will then decide if you can enter the country.
The time it takes for your application to be processed may vary depending on what you are applying for, and where you are located.
eTAs usually take no more than a few minutes to be processed and approved.
However, they may also take up to several days if you’re asked to provide supporting documents.
TRVs and Super Visas may take anything from a few weeks to a few months to be processed.
You can use the Canadian government’s processing time checking tool to get estimates on the visa process and how long it may take for your application to be processed.
Travellers from the following countries listed below are considered to be visa-exempt from Canada and need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization instead of a Visitor Visa.
If your country is not on this list, it is likely that you will need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa instead.
- 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:
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
- Pitcairn Island
- Saint Helena
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- British Subject with a right of abode in the United Kingdom
- Brunei Darussalam
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, must have a passport issued by Hong Kong SAR.
- Israel, must have a national Israeli passport
- Republic of Korea
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Romania (electronic passport holders only)
- San Marino
- Solomon Islands
- Taiwan, must have an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes the personal identification number
- United Arab Emirates
- United States, lawful permanent resident of
- Vatican City State, must have a passport or travel document issued by the Vatican.
Foreign workers looking to work in Canada as part of the free labor market may need to apply for a separate work permit. Similarly, if you intend to study as an international student at a Canadian educational institution, you may need a valid study permit in order to do so.
However, if you plan not to study in a designated learning institution, you may be able to do so as a visitor as long as the course is for less than six months. Some foreign nationals may be able to study at a DLI with any of the visitor visas as long as it is for less than six months.
Note that even with ArriveCAN and a visa, entry into Canada is not guaranteed. In order to be eligible to enter Canada, you must also make sure you satisfy Canada’s guidelines regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and comply with their inadmissibility guidelines. Even with that, you may still be denied entry into Canada even if you have a valid visitor visa or eTA; entry is based on you meeting entry requirements as well as the discretion of the border services officer.
Each of the visitor visas has a different application process. Before you apply for any one, ensure you meet their eligibility requirements. You can find more information above.