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Canadian Immigration Services 

How to Apply for a Visitor Visa to Canada


How to Apply for a Visitor Visa to Canada

Jade Calver

Many visitors require a visa that is pre-approved by a Canadian Visa office in their home country before they are able to come to Canada. The Visitor Visa is also called a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) and it is an official document that will be included in the traveller’s passport to demonstrate that they meet the requirements needed to enter Canada. Those who are travelling through Canada to reach another destination will also require a visitor visa; this transit constitutes travel into Canada.  

Who needs a visitor visa?

You can find out if you need a Visitor Visa using the Government of Canada’s eligibility checker. This tool will prompt you to indicate what document you are travelling with (i.e. passport, alien’s passport for stateless persons, permit to re-enter the U.S., U.S. refugee travel document, other refugee travel document for non-citizens). Some visitors may require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) instead of a Visitor Visa.

Eligibility Requirements

There are a number of eligibility requirements to obtain a visitor visa. Applicants must:

  • Have a valid travel document

  • Be in good health

  • Have no criminal record

  • Be able to convince a immigration officer of your ties to your home country

  • Be able to convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada when your visit is over

  • Have enough money to support your during your stay

It’s important to note that you might also need to provide a medical exam and/or a letter of invitation from someone who lives in Canada.

How to Apply

There are two methods of submitting your application for a Visitor Visa or TRV. You can submit a paper application in person, or a digital application online. Here are the basic steps and requirements:

  1. Determine your eligibility to apply for a Visitor Visa.

  2. Download the Visitor Visa application package from IRCC.

  3. Determine whether you need to submit your biometrics.

  4. Start your application online.

  5. Pay your application fees.

  6. Submit your application in one package to a Visa Application Centre.

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How much does it cost?

It costs $100 CAD to submit a single Visitor Visa application. The maximum fee for a family’s Visitor Visa application is $500 CAD. This means that a family of six will still pay $500 CAD rather than $100 CAD per person.

Can I change a Visitor Visa to a Work Permit?

You cannot convert a Visitor Visa into a Work Permit. The application processes are different. As such, they are not interchangeable. You may, however, be able to apply for a work permit separately.

How long can I stay in Canada on a Visitor Visa?

Most travellers can spend up to six months in Canada on a Visitor Visa. A Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer may allow travellers to spend more or less time in Canada upon review of their documentation at a Canadian port of entry. The CBSA officer may give the foreign national a visitor record, which shows the date they need to leave Canada by.

How long will it take for my application to be processed?

The amount of time it will take for your application to be processed will depend on where you’re applying from (i.e. inside Canada or outside Canada). If you’re applying from outside Canada, the country from which you are applying will also have an effect on the processing time. You can calculate the processing time for your application using the Government of Canada’s application processing tool.


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