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 Canadian Visitor Visa which is also known as a Tourist Visa for Canada.
What is a Canada Visitor Visa?
The Canada 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 Canada 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 issued a visa Visitor visa to Canada 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.
Do I Need to Apply for a Canada Visitor Visa?
Most travelers will need a Visitor 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.
What are the Canada Tourist Visa Eligibility Criteria?
To be eligible for a Canada Tourist Visa, the applicant must fulfill some criteria. These requirements determine whether someone is allowed to apply for the visa and hold it.
If you cannot prove that you are eligible for the Canada Visitor 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.
Canada Tourist Visa Requirements
To apply for a Tourist Visa for Canada, you will also have to submit some documents, as follows:
- Standard requirements for Canada visa.
- Canada Tourist Visa Application Form.
- 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 air tickets, or just a description of what you plan to do once in Canada.
- A Canada visa letter of invitation from your family or friends if you are visiting them.
- Proof of the 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 Tourist visa.
- Two 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.
- Proof that your stay in Canada is temporary and that you will return to your home country once your visit is over, such as a lease, property deed, and so on.
- Proof that you do not plan to work or study in Canada.
- Court documents that prove you have a clean criminal history.
All the documents that you have that are in another language other than English or French should be translated.
How to Apply for the Canadian Visitor Visa?
To start the application for the Canada Visitor Visa, there are several forms and steps that you as the applicant must go through. The steps for applying for a Canada visitor visa are explained below:
- Confirm your eligibility for the Canada visitor visa.
- Complete the documents required for a Canada tourist visa.
- Submit the Canada Tourist Visa Application form.
- Wait for processing and respond to additional requests for information.
- Send your passport for stamping.
What are the Canada Visitor Visa fees?
The application fee per person for a Canada Visitor Visa 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 Canada visitor visa processing time ranges from 8 to 40 days. However, the processing time is different depending on the country you live in. So, you will have to wait around 1 month for your Visitor Visa to be processed.
How long is the Canada Tourist Visa valid?
The Canadian Consulate decides for how long to give you the Tourist Visa for Canada 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 Canada Tourist 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.
What Am I Allowed to do With a Canada Tourist Visa?
With the Canadian Tourist 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.
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.
Canada Visitor Visa Extension
If you want to stay longer than 6 months in Canada with a tourist visa, you will need a visitor visa extension. This extension is called a Visitor Record.
You have to apply for a visa extension for Canada (visitor record) at least 30 days before your visitor visa expires.
What is a Visitor Record?
Unlike a visitor visa, the visitor record is not attached to your passport. It is an independent document which the IRCC gives you when they approve your application for visa extension.
The visitor record includes the date by which you have to leave Canada.
Keep in mind that a visitor record is only available while you are inside Canada. If you want to leave Canada and enter again, you will not be allowed entry with a visitor record.
If your visitor visa is about to expire, and you want to leave Canada and re-enter, you have to apply for a new Visitor visa.
You can also use a visitor record if you want to change your status from a:
- Study permit to visitor record
- Work permit to visitor record
How to apply for a Canada visa extension (visitor record)?
There are two ways you can apply to extend your visa for Canada: online and on paper.
Visitor record online application
To apply online, you must have an account on the IRCC website.
You will also need to visit IRCC’s website to read the instructions guide for extending a visa. You have to scan your documents to create electronic copies, which you can submit on the online application tool.
You will also need a valid credit/debit card to pay your fees.
When applying and the question “What would you like to do in Canada?” appears, you should select “Visit.”
Then, on “What is your current country/territory of residence?” answer “Canada.”
Complete the rest of the application as instructed.
Visitor record paper application
First, you have to download the application package available on IRCC’s website. It includes document checklists, application forms, and application guidelines.
You have to read the application guidelines, provide all the necessary documents, and pay for the fees.
You have to print the application forms that are on the application package and sign and date them where required. You must attach all the required documents and fees to the completed application.
Then, you have to mail this application to the address stated on the application package.
Forms and documents you will need for a Visitor Record:
- Application to Change Conditions, Extend my stay or Remain in Canada as a Visitor or Temporary Resident Permit Holder (IMM 5708)
- Use of a Representative (IMM 5476)
- Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual (IMM 5475)
- Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union (IMM 5409) (If applicable)
- Payment receipts
- Photocopies of passport pages. They must include:
- Name and birth date
- The passport number
- Date of expiry
- The stamp of your most recent entry into Canada
- All other marked pages
- If you did not enter with a passport: Photocopies of your other your travel or identity documents. This could be an alien registration card, birth certificate, citizen certificate etc.
- If applicable: Photocopy of your current immigration document.
- If applicable: Marriage certificate.
- Proof of sufficient financial means.
It is worth mentioning that the online application is much faster and more convenient. You can submit it directly, it is processed faster, and, in case you have to provide more documents, you can do it instantly online. You can also avoid carrier and mailing fees.