Visa-required foreign nationals must apply for a Visitor Visa to travel to Canada as visitors, workers, and students.
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, or organized crime. You can also be inadmissible for security, health or financial reasons.
Minor children travelling to Canada
Children under the age of 18 are considered minors in Canada. They must follow the same rules to enter Canada as any other visitor. The documents a minor child needs to enter Canada depend on whether the child is travelling alone or with someone.
If a minor child is travelling alone
The child should present:
- His own passport. A parent’s passport, even if the child’s details are included in it, cannot be used
- A copy of his birth certificate, and
- A letter of authorization, in English or French if possible, and signed by both parents or by their legal
guardian which lists:
- the parents’ (or legal guardian’s) address and telephone number, and
- the name, address and telephone number of the adult who will look after the child in Canada.
If a minor child is travelling with one parent only
The parent should present:
- The child’s passport
- A copy of the child’s birth certificate, and
- A letter of authorization, in English or French if possible, which is signed by the parent who is not
travelling with them and lists:
- the address and telephone number of the parent who is not travelling, and
- a photocopy of that parent’s signed passport or national identity card.
If the parents are separated or divorced, and share custody of the child
- The parent travelling with the child should carry copies of the legal custody documents.
- It is also best to have a letter of authorization from the other parent who has custody to take the child on a trip out of the country.
If the parents are separated or divorced and one of them has sole custody of the child
- The letter of authorization may be signed by that parent only and they should bring a copy of the custody decree.
If one of the child’s parents is deceased
- The travelling parent should bring a copy of the death certificate.
If a minor child is travelling with a legal guardian or adoptive parents
- The child should have a copy of the guardianship papers or the adoption papers (whichever one applies).
If a minor child is travelling with a person other than their parents or legal guardian
- The adult who is not the parent or legal guardian of the child should have written permission from the parents or guardians to supervise the child. The permission letter should include addresses and telephone numbers where the parents or legal guardian can be reached.
- The letter does not need to be certified. A photocopy of the parents’ or legal guardian’s signed passports or national identity cards should be attached to the letter.
Note: The border services officer may not ask to see these documents when the child enters Canada. It is strongly recommended you bring them. The minor child will not be admitted to Canada if the officer is not convinced that the parents or legal guardian have authorized his stay.
Minor children entering Canada to study
Minor children must apply for a study permit if they want to study in Canada.
HOW TO APPLY?
You can apply for a visitor visa online or on paper.
AFTER YOU APPLY
You need to give your fingerprints and photo (biometrics)
In most cases, you need to give biometrics. After you pay the biometrics fee and submit your application, IRCC will send you a letter that says you need to give your biometrics. The letter will tell you how and where to give your biometrics. You have up to 30 days to give your biometrics (in person).
If you didn’t pay the biometrics fee, IRCC will send you a letter asking you to do this first. You can only get the instruction letter if you pay the biometrics fee.
IRCC processes your visitor visa application
IRCC will check your application to make sure you have all the documents you need. If it’s incomplete, they will return your application without processing it.
They may also ask you to go to an interview with their officials in your country, to send more information, get a medical exam or/and get a police certificate. They will tell you what to do if you need to do any of these.
IRCC processes most applications in a few weeks or less. Processing times depend on the visa office and if you need to do any extra steps (listed above). They will return your passport and other original documents to you after they process your application. They won’t return original bank statements or any documents they find to be fake.
If your application is approved, the visa will be stamped inside your passport. If your application is refused, IRCC will send you an explanation.
You arrive in Canada
A valid visitor visa and travel document doesn’t guarantee that you can enter Canada. When you arrive, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer will check your identity to make sure that you’re the same person who was approved to travel to Canada.
- If you enter Canada at one of 10 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 smaller airports and all land ports of entry
- Your fingerprints may be checked if CBSA officer refers 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 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’re normally allowed to stay in Canada for up to 6 months. In some cases, the officer may limit or extend your time in Canada to cover the planned purpose of your visit. Ask questions if you’re not sure about something.
You won’t be allowed into Canada if you give false or incomplete information. You must convince the officer that:
- you’re eligible for entry into Canada
- you’ll leave Canada at the end of your approved stay
Get in Touch for more information or for applying for a Visitor Visa, Super Visa, or Transit Visa)