When someone wants to go to Canada for a short period of time, usually less than 6 months, they have to get a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). Within this group of visas, there are different types depending on the reason why you want to go to Canada. One of these types is the Visitor Visa which is also known as a Tourist Visa.
This article will go through the Visitor Visa for Canada and its details on what it is and how to apply for it.
What is a Canada Visitor Visa?
The Visitor Visa is a Temporary Resident Visa for Canada which allows the holder to go to Canada for purposes such as:
- Tourism or holidays in Canada;
- Visiting family;
The Tourist Visa allows you to go to a Canadian port of entry and ask for permission to enter the country. The Border Patrol Officers are the ones who are allowed to grant or deny you entry based on your documents and your situation. If you have been given a visa and the officers find that you do not have any criminal intentions, you will be allowed to pass the port of entry and begin your holiday or family visit in Canada.
With this visa, you are allowed to travel around Canada for less than 6 months as long as you are in good financial standing. You are not allowed to get Canadian documents or stay in the country permanently. You are also not allowed to work or study, and you will not be allowed to file for health care or other governmental benefits.
Do I need to Apply for a Canada Visitor Visa?
Most travelers will need a visa which grants them entry to Canada, although there are nationals of countries which will only need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), or they are completely exempt and can enter freely with their passports without needing a visa.
To find out whether you need a visa for Canada, visit this page.
What are the Canada Tourist Visa requirements?
To be eligible for a Canada Tourist Visa, the applicant must fulfill some requirements. These requirements determine whether someone is allowed to apply for the visa and hold it. The general requirements for someone to qualify for a Tourist Visa for Canada are as follows:
- You must be at least 18 years old to apply as the primary visa applicant and your children who are under 18 years old cannot apply alone;
- You must have a valid governmental issued passport with at least one blank page that is not the last page of the passport;
- You must translate and certify all the documents that you have that are in another language other than English or French;
- You must have a clean criminal history and submit court documents to prove it;
- You must be ready to pay the necessary visa application fees and visa processing fees;
- You must sign and date the appropriate documents where necessary;
- You must fill and sign a Visa Application Center (VAC) Consent Form;
- You must submit copies of your current immigration status in another country or in Canada;
- You must have enough funds to cover your stay in Canada;
- You must be ready to attend and interview or give biometric information if necessary;
- You must be ready to go through a medical examination if the Canadian Consulate asks you to. For Visitor Visas this is usually not required unless you have some form of disease which the Consulate needs to have proof of;
- You must prove that your stay in Canada is temporary and that you will return to your home country once your visit is over;
- You must prove that you do not plan to work or study in Canada.
If you do not meet these requirements, then the Canadian Consulate will require further proof and will give you a chance to submit additional documents to make your case.
If you absolutely cannot prove that you are eligible for the visa, then they will reject you based on the fact that you are inadmissible in Canada. If you are proven to be inadmissible, then your only way of getting into the country is to get a Temporary Resident Permit.
How to apply for the Visitor Visa?
To start the application for this type of Temporary Resident Visa, there are several forms and steps that you as the applicant must go through. The steps are explained below.
Confirm your eligibility
To get this TRV Canada visa, you must confirm that you are eligible on the Government of Canada website. When you get to the website, click on the tab Immigration and then Visit. In the site, you will see the link to “Find out if you need a visa”. You must click on this link and answer the questions on the survey.
The questionnaire will determine whether you are eligible or not and if you are, it will give you a reference code and instructions to apply.
Create an account
You must save the reference code and then open an account in the same Government of Canada website. You can either open the account through your bank account details or use a Government of Canada login (GCKey). Once you login, you can start your application.
Submit the Application
Use your reference code to access your answers to the questionnaire and the forms you need to fill out. There are two main forms to complete when you apply for a Canada Visitor Visa:
- Form IMM 5257, Application for Temporary Resident;
- Form IMM 5707, Family Information Form;
Other forms that you might have to fill out if they are applicable for you are:
- Form IMM 5409, Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union;
- Form IMM 5476, Use of a Representative;
- Form IMM 5475, Authority to release personal information to a designated individual;
Within the application page, you will also have to submit the following supporting documents:
- Your passport scan to prove that it is valid;
- Your travel history, meaning your whole passport scanned to also prove that you have blank pages in it;
- Your bank or other financial statements to prove you have enough funds for the trip to Canada;
- A travel itinerary if you have already booked your tickets, or just a description of what you plan to do once in Canada;
- A letter of invitation from your family or friends if you are visiting them;
- Proof of relationship if you are visiting your family;
- The immigration statuses of your family or friends if you are visiting them;
- Bank statements or other financial statements of your friends or family if you are visiting them;
- A Declaration Letter from you to the Government of Canada where you explain why they should give you a visa;
- Two (2) photos that meet the Canada Photo Requirements;
- Your employment or education status through a resume or diplomas, as well as a letter from your employer stating that you have contractual obligations to fulfill and you must return to your home country;
- Other documents which prove you will return to your home country such as a lease, property deed, and so on.
Once you submit all the documents, you can then proceed to submit the application. After that, you will have to pay the visa application fee and your application will be completed.
Wait for processing and respond to additional requests for information
Once you submit your application, it will take around 5 days for it to show up on your account. During the next few weeks, the Canadian Consulate will process the application. If they see it necessary, they will invite you for a visa interview and/or to give your biometric information.
If that happens, you must attend the interview at the scheduled time and respond to all the questions truthfully.
Send your passport for stamping
Once your visa is approved, you will either know it through the notification on your account or the Embassy officials will let you know once your interview is over. Either way, you will have to submit your passport for processing and stamping.
If you are not at the Embassy, you will have to mail your passport with the processing fees and also pay for a return envelope. If you are at the Embassy when you finish the interview, you can just give them your passport and pay the fees there.
The Embassy officials will stamp your passport and will return it to you. From that point forward, you can go on your visit to Canada and make travel arrangements.
What are the Canada Visitor Visa fees?
To apply for the Visitor Visa, the application fee per person is CAD$100. If you also have to submit the biometrics, that will cost you an additional CAD$85. So together, the whole cost of just applying for this visa is CAD$185.
In addition to this, you will also have to pay for the passport processing which will cost around CAD$45.
What is the Canada Visitor Visa processing time?
The Canadian Visitor Visa processing time is different depending on the country you live in. However, the general processing time ranges from 8 to 40 days. So, you will have to wait around 1 month for your Visitor Visa to be processed.
How long is the Canada Visitor Visa valid?
The Canadian Consulate decides for how long to give you the Visitor Visa on a case by case basis. There are cases when they only give the visa for that timeframe that you want to visit Canada, and then there are also cases when they give you the visa until your passport expires. This all depends on whether they believe you will return to your home country or not.
Despite how long your Visitor Visa is valid, you are not allowed to stay there for more than 6 months at a time. So, after 6 months you must return to your home country, stay for some time and then you can return to Canada again for 6 months.
Can I bring my dependents to Canada with a Tourist Visa?
Your dependents, such as your spouse and minor children can come to Canada with you with a Tourist Visa. However, they must have their own application, and everyone should pay separate fees. You must submit the applications together at the Visa Application Center or online so that you are processed as a family.