Visitor Visas

Do I need a visa to travel to Canada?

If you are planning to visit Canada, you need to find out if your country of origin is visa-exempt or visa-required. If you are from a visa-exempt country, you can apply for an electronic Travel Authorization, or eTA, which simplifies the process of entering Canada. The same applies if you are a Green Card holder in the United States, regardless of your nationality.

If you are from a visa-required country, you will need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa, or TRV, which generally allows entry into Canada for a period of six months.

Citizens of the United States do not need either a TRV or an eTA.

How do I apply for a TRV?

Your visa application is processed by the Canadian visa office in your country. You will be required to submit the application form and relevant fees, along with your passport and supporting documentation. The primary purpose of the supporting documents is to verify that you are visiting Canada for the purposes stated in your application, and that you intend to leave Canada by the time your visa expires.

Supporting documentation can include the following:

  • A letter of invitation from friends and family members who reside in Canada
  • Confirmation of flights, hotel room bookings, and activities planned during your stay
  • A letter of confirmation from an institution at which you will do a course of no longer than six months – for example, many foreign visitors take short language courses in Canada to improve their skills in English or French
  • A letter of confirmation from the organizers of a conference, seminar or trade show
  • An itinerary from a travel/tourism company
  • Evidence that you have the financial ability to support yourself while in Canada
  • Evidence of ties to your country of residence, such as employment, family and social connections

What if my visa application is refused?

Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses something called the Computer Assisted Immigration Processing System, or CAIPS, to process your visa application. In the event of a refusal, you can access your file and view the reasons for refusal. In many cases, the flaw in your application can be rectified – for example, by providing more definitive supporting documentation – and your application can be resubmitted.

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