Canada visa

Canada visa

Traveling to Canada

Canada is a popular destination for travelers, including tourists, students, business people, and those looking to relocate. Not all nationalities are required to obtain a visa to Canada. There are many nationalities who can acquire a Canada eVisa (aka Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)).    

However, for those nationalities that are required to obtain a Canada Visa, there are many types to choose from. The type of Canada Visa you need to apply for will depend on a variety of factors including how long you intend to stay in Canada and the purpose of your visit. There are both single-entry Canada Visas and multiple-entry Canada Visas available for different purposes. 

Passport holders from the following countries must obtain a visa before entering Canada: 

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burma (Myanmar), Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo (Democratic Republic of), Congo (Republic of), Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Macao Special Administrative Region, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives Islands, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Palestinian Authority, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Romania (holder of non-electronic passports), Russia, Rwanda, Sao Tomé e Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Surinam, Swaziland, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Canada visa types

There are several categories of Canada Visa that travelers can select from. The visa category will depend on what the applicant plans to do while in the country.  

The main categories of Canada Visas are: 

  • Canada Visitor Visas
  • Canada Immigrant Visas
  • Canada Working Visas
  • Canada Student Visas

For each visa category, there are specific types of Canada Visas that can be obtained. Each type of visa has a unique purpose and eligibility criteria. 

Visitor visas

Tourists and visitors traveling to Canada, who are neither eligible for visa-free entry nor obtaining an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), may seek to apply for a Canada tourist visa. They can do so by applying for a Visitor Visa. This will depend on their nationality, the purpose of their trip, and what method of travel they are taking to get to Canada. 

Also called a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), the Visitor Visa is an official document that is stuck inside the applicant’s passport once approved. Applicants for the Canada Visitor can apply online or on paper to obtain a visa for up to 6 months.  

Other types of Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs) include: 

  • Super Visa
  • Diplomatic or Official Visas 
  • Visa for the Purpose of Giving Birth
  • Facilitation Visa
  • Canada Visa for Intending Organ Donors

* Upon arrival at the port of entry, a border services officer can determine whether the applicant can stay for less or more than 6 months. A date will be added to their passport, or they will be given a visitor record that indicates when they need to leave. 

Immigrant visas

Foreign nationals looking to immigrate to Canada can do so through a wide variety of visa types and new pilot programs. For example, an entrepreneur looking to move on a Canada business visa might opt for a Business Immigration Visa. Not all visa and program types have the same eligibility criteria and process, so applicants should be sure to check all requirements before applying. 

The main types of Immigrant visas include:

  • Express Entry Visa
    • A Permanent Residence Visa for those looking to relocate permanently to Canada and participate in their economy. 
  • Business Immigration Visa
    • A Permanent Residence Visa for entrepreneurs and business people looking to relocate and start a business in Canada. 
  • Family Sponsorship Visa
  • Atlantic Immigration Program
  • Caregiver Visa
  • Start-up Visa 
  • Self-employed Visa 
  • Refugee Visa 

There are also pilot programs available including: 

  • Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot 
  • Agri-Food Pilot 
  • Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot

Other types of Immigrant visas are specific to certain Canadian provinces: 

  • Provincial Nominees 
  • Quebec-Selected Skilled Workers

Working visas

Almost all foreign nationals need a work permit to work legally in Canada. Applicants may be eligible for either an employer-specific work permit that allows the applicant to work for a specific employer for a certain period or an open work permit that allows the applicant to work for any eligible employer in Canada. Specific work permits are available for businesspeople, students, temporary workers, caregivers, and agricultural workers. 

Student visas

Foreign nationals looking to study at designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Canada, can apply for a study permit. All foreign nationals are required to obtain a study permit before traveling to Canada.

* A study permit is not a visa. It does not allow entry into Canada. Some applicants may also need a Visitor Visa or eTA to enter the country. If the study permit is approved, the appropriate visa will be issued along with it.

Canada visa requirements

Most types of Canada Visas will require different supplemental materials and documents. The documents you submit will depend on the category of visa (Immigrant, Visitor, Student, Working, Business etc.) and the visa type (Express Entry, Super Visa, Student Permit, etc.). For example, in order to apply for a Student Permit, all foreign nationals need to submit proof of acceptance, proof of identity, and proof of financial support.

However, there are some documents that will be required regardless of the visa type. Almost all applicants will require the following materials to complete their application:  

Visa application form

All Canada Visa applications will require a relevant application form to be submitted alongside any supplemental materials.

Biometric Information

Most Canada Visa applications require the collection of biometric data including your photo and fingerprints. This may be done at a visa application center.

Passport or travel document

All applicants are required to have a valid passport or travel document at the time of application. Applicants may also be required to provide a photocopy of this document in their application file if applying on paper.

Proof of payment

Fees can be paid online through a credit or debit card, applicants may also be able to pay the fees at the Visa Application Centre (VAC) where they file their applications with. There are several ways to complete the fee payments, so applicants should check on the official Government of Canada website before submitting their payment.

Canada visa application

There are many factors that contribute to the application process for obtaining a Canada Visa. Depending on which visa you select and the passport that you hold, the process will involve different steps. However, the following are general steps that most applicants will take to obtain their Canada Visa.

  1. Prepare your application

    Identify your travel plans and timeline: Have a general itinerary for your travel plans in mind so that you can apply for and receive your Canada Visa in time for your trip.

    Select your visa category: Canada Visas are broadly divided into various categories including Working Visas, Student Visas, Immigrant Visas, and Visitor Visas (aka Temporary Residence Visas).

    Select your visa type: Once you know what category of visa you are applying for, you can select your specific visa type. Please note that some visa types will have subtypes and further conditions to follow as well. For example, students from countries that do not have eTA permission will need to apply for a student permit as well as a Visitor Visa that will be issued with their approved permit.

  2. Assemble your application materials

    After determining your specific visa type, you can put together the rest of your application including any supplemental documents required.

  3. Apply online

    You can apply for a Canada visa online in three easy steps. First, create your account by either signing in with your GCKey ID and password or signing in with Canadian banking information if you have an account with one of the IRCC partner banks. Next, upload the documents for your visa type. Finally, pay your visa fees online.

  4. Submit your biometrics

    Applicants should submit their biometric information, including a photograph and fingerprints, to their nearest visa application center. If any restrictions or closures of visa application centers occur due to COVID-19, applicants may be able to submit their information through alternative means.

  5. Submit your application for processing

    Officials will check your completed application. In the event that any documents are missing, your application will be returned without being processed. If approved, you will be asked to send your passport.

  6. Send your passport

    Once approved for processing, instructions will be sent to you to send your passport and receive your visa.

  7. Prepare to travel to Canada

    You may be required to bring some documents along with your visa application, or present supplemental documents to the border services officer upon arriving in Canada.

Canada visa application processing time

The amount of time it takes to process a Canada Visa will depend on the passport or identity document you hold, your nationality, and the visa type you are looking to obtain. For example, an American citizen applying for a Visitor Visa will need to wait an average of 37 days, while a UAE citizen applying for the same visa will need to wait around 88 days.

Canada visa fees

Applying for a visa to Canada will require paying a fee. The amount will depend on the category and type of visa you are looking to obtain. Fees for some of the most popular visas are listed below:  

  • CAD 100 for a Visitor Visa 
  • CAD 150 for a Student Permit
  • CAD 155 for a Work Permit
  • CAD 200 for a Temporary Resident Permit 
  • Business Immigration Visa
    • Processing fee: CAD 1625
    • Right of permanent residence fee: CAD 515 

Please note that applicants for many visa types will need to pay additional fees including a Biometric processing fee of $CAN 85. Other fees may apply so all applicants must be sure to check the required fees for their specific visa type before submitting their application. Fees can be paid online or at the Visa Application Centre (VAC). 

Where to apply for a Canada visa

Almost all Canada Visa applications may be submitted online at the official Government of Canada website. Biometric data may need to be submitted at your nearest visa application center to complete your visa application.  

Due to the wide variety of visa types, applicants should be sure to confirm where they should submit their applications well in advance of their travel dates. 

Temporary resident applications can be made online, but some do require you to visit an IRCC office or visa application center to apply. Permanent resident applications vary, so applicants should check the ‘Mail the application’ section of the application guide found online. 

Applicants who need to visit a visa application center should confirm the location and timing of their appointment before arriving.

Canada visa FAQ

How do I get a visa for Canada?

Getting a visa to Canada will depend largely on your nationality and your purpose of travel. For almost all applicants, the basic process includes the following steps:

1) Selecting the correct visa category and type
2) Assembling all application materials
3) Submitting your application materials online or on paper
4) Sending in your passport (for approved applications) to receive your visa
5) Following any further instructions from the issuing personnel.

How much bank balance is required for Canada tourist visa?

There is no minimum bank balance required but applicants will have to pay the application fee. A Canada Visitor Visa costs $CAN 100 per person and the biometrics processing is usually $CAN 85. They must also be sure to have enough funds to cover the cost of their stay in Canada.

Does Canada require a COVID-19 test to enter the country?

COVID-19 testing is not required for fully vaccinated applicants. The Government of Canada accepts most official vaccines either as a full series of a vaccine or a combination of vaccines.

To be considered fully vaccinated, applicants must have received their last dose at least 14 days before traveling to Canada. Other entry criteria must be met including submitting the required COVID-19 information to ArriveCAN either through their mobile application or website at least 72 hours before arriving in Canada.

Do UAE residents need a Canada Visa?

While UAE citizens are eligible for visa-free access to Canada by obtaining the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before arriving in Canada. UAE residents are required to apply for a Visa before traveling to Canada, depending on their nationalities.

Which exams are required to obtain a Canada visa?

Exam requirements will vary depending on the visa type. For example, one common exam that may be required of certain visa types is an English language test. The most common one is IELTS. Results of this test may need to be included along with the other application materials. For more information about required exams, applicants can check the required document lists on the Government of Canada website.

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