A Canada visa is a passport stamp issued by a Canadian Consulate or Embassy in a foreign country which allows the passport holder to enter Canada. Depending on the type of visa, this stamp could be used to stay in Canada temporarily or move there permanently.
There are many people who want to go to Canada for various reasons since it is a highly developed country, but they usually ask themselves “Do I need a visa to go to Canada?” or “What do I need to go to Canada?”
Most people will need a visa which grants them entry, although there are nationals of countries which will only need a travel authorization, or they are completely exempt and can enter freely with their passports without needing a visa.
This article will go through the details and answer the question of who needs a visa to go to Canada.
What Determines if You Need a Visa for Canada?
There are different factors which influence if you need a visa for Canada or not. When you ask yourself do I need a visa for Canada, you must take these aspects into account:
- What type of travel document you will travel with (passport, national identification document, driver’s license, etc.);
- The country that issued that travel document, since its relationship with Canada will determine whether you need a visa or not;
- Your nationality;
- How you will travel to Canada (air, sea, or land);
In terms of the travel document, it is best to travel to Canada with a passport, and depending on the country that issued it, you can decide how to travel. The sections below will cover the countries which need a Canadian visa, those that only need a travel authorization, and the groups of people who are visa exempt.
Which countries need a Canada visa?
There are around 148 countries which need a visa to enter Canada. The nationals of these countries will have to go through the process of applying for a visa depending on their reason for wanting to visit the country. They can get different types of visas such as those for visiting, studying, working, or even immigrating. The countries in the drop-down list below will need Canadian visas to enter the country.
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Brazil (note: some Brazilian citizens may be eligible for an eTA if they meet certain requirements)
- British subjects, subject to control
- Burkina Faso
- Burma (Myanmar)
- Cameroon, Republic of
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- China, People’s Republic of
- Congo, Democratic Republic of
- Congo, Republic of
- Costa Rica, Republic of
- Dominican Republic
- East Timor
- El Salvador
- Equatorial Guinea
- Israel, must have a valid Israeli “Travel Document in lieu of National Passport”
- Ivory Coast
- Korea, North
- Macao Special Administrative Region
- Maldives Islands
- Marshall Islands
- Micronesia, Fed. States
- Palestinian Authority
- Romania (holder of a non-electronic passport, such as a temporary passport)
- Sao Tomé e Principe
- Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
- Sri Lanka
- Kitts and Nevis
- Vincent and the Grenadines (St. Vincent)
- Taiwan, must have a passports other than ordinary passports issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that include their personal identification number
- Trinidad and Tobago
Which Countries Need a Canada eTA?
Some countries have more freedom of movement around the world and so they might not need a visa to enter Canada. They will however need a travel authorization.
With the development of technology, Canada has developed this system electronically. This means that the applicants will only need to enter their personal information and the system will evaluate whether they are allowed to go to Canada based on data it gets across different databases.
The nationals of these countries will only need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if they are going to Canada by airplane. If they are not flying to Canada but will enter by land or sea, then they do not need an eTA so they can enter with only their passports.
The following countries fall into the group that needs an eTA to enter Canada by air.
- 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.
Which Countries Do Not Need a Visa for Canada?
Finally, besides countries who need a visa and those that need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), there are instances when some people might not need either one.
These are groups which are Canadian visa exempt:
- Those who have a valid Canada visa from a previous application;
- Those who have a valid status in Canada and have left Canada to visit the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon;
- French citizens that live in Saint Pierre and Miquelon who are flying directly to Canada from Saint Pierre and Miquelon;
- Foreigners who are going to or coming from the United States on a flight that has to stop in Canada to refuel, who have:
- Valid documents that allow them to enter the United States;
- Have been lawfully admitted to the United States;
- Foreigners who are on a flight that has to make an unscheduled stop in Canada;
- Foreigners who are transiting through a Canadian airport and are allowed to transit without a visa or are part of the China Transit Program;
- Flight crews, accident investigators, or civil aviation inspectors who are or will be working while they are in Canada;
- Members of the Armed Forces (excluding civilian components of the armed forces) belonging to a country that is part of the Visiting Forces Act, who are coming to Canada on official duties and responsibilities;
- Diplomats who are accredited by the Government of Canada;
How to Check Whether You Need a Visa for Canada?
Besides going through the country list and looking through the requirements, another way you can answer your question of do I need a visa to visit Canada is by using the Canadian Government immigration portal.
The officials have created a short questionnaire where you will answer a few questions and it will determine if you need a visa for Canada or not. You can find the questionnaire in this website.