Visitors’ Visas

Visitors visas, also called Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs), are immigration documents that allow foreign nationals to travel to and enter Canada. Visitors to Canada, whether they are students, temporary workers, or simply on vacation, will usually need a visitor visa unless they come from a visa-exempt country.

Canadian visitor visas are divided into two categories: single entry and multiple entry. Foreign nationals can enter Canada once only with a single entry visa. Holders of a multiple entry visa can enter and leave Canada as often as they like so long as the visa is valid. Applicants are automatically considered for multiple entry visas and are only granted single entry visas under unique circumstances.

A visitor visa that permits multiple entries allows the holder to visit Canada for six months at a time as many times as they wish as long as the visa is valid. Visas can be valid for a maximum of ten years, but the exact validity period depends on the visa officer. You will automatically be issued a visitor visa if you do not have a visa-exempt document, such as a study or work permit. These visas are usually multi-entry visas. As long as your permit and visa are still valid when you leave Canada temporarily during studies or temporary work, you do not need a new visitor visa to reenter Canada.

Who Needs a Visitor Visa

Visitors to Canada who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents, or who are otherwise exempt from visa requirements, are required to obtain a visitor visa. Even if their permanent resident card has expired, Canadian permanent residents cannot apply for a visitor visa. Instead, they should apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD). Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, are not permitted to apply for visitor visas. They must travel with a valid Canadian passport. You may need a business visitor visa if you are transiting through or coming to Canada for business and not as a temporary foreign worker.

Visa-Exempt Countries

Individuals with visa exemptions are the only people who do not require a visitor visa to enter Canada, other than Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Citizens of several countries do not require a visa to visit Canada for up to six months under agreements with Canada. A valid electronic travel authorization (eTA) is required for foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries who wish to visit Canada by air.

Whether they travel by land or by sea, they only need their valid passport issued by a country exempt from visa requirements. The only exception is citizens of the United States. The Canada-U.S. border is the longest undefended land border in the world, and thousands of Canadians and Americans cross it every day. Citizens of the United States do not need a visitor visa to travel to Canada with a valid U.S. passport, as long as they are not staying for a period longer than six months. Those who hold a U.S. permanent residency card, or Green Card, are not required to obtain a visa, regardless of their citizenship. A valid eTA is required to travel to or transit through a Canadian airport, as well as a valid passport and Green Card, to enter the country.

Applying for a visitor’s visa

A visitor visa is required for entry into Canada and can be obtained online, through a paper application, or at a Visa Application Center (VAC). Every family member, including dependent children, must fill out their own application if they are traveling together. All applications may be submitted together, however. Depending on their country of citizenship, applicants may need to provide biometric information in their application. If fingerprints and a photograph are required, the applicant will need to provide them at a biometric collection service center. You can submit your biometrics after submitting the visitor visa application when prompted to do so, or you can do it at the same time if you submit it in person at a Visa Application Center (VAC).

Extending a Visitor Visa

Foreign nationals can legally live in Canada for up to six months at a time with a visitor visa, whether it is a single entry or multiple entry. Your legal status will expire at the end of this period, and you will have to leave Canada. The temporary resident status of foreign nationals must still be valid if they wish to extend their stay beyond six months. An extension should be requested at least 30 days before your status is set to expire. In the event that your current visa expires while your extension application is still being processed, you may remain in Canada while awaiting a decision. This is known as implied status. If you qualify for one of Canada’s immigration programs, you can also apply for permanent resident status.