Every year more than 35 million people visit Canada. Canada welcomes these visitors as tourists, students or temporary workers. As a visitor, you will enjoy the many opportunities Canada has to offer.
Visitors are people who wish to enter Canada for a temporary purpose, such as tourists, temporary foreign workers and international students. All Visitors to Canada must apply for and be granted Visitor Visas, unless they are citizens of visa exempt countries. In addition, Visitors should not have a criminal record or pose a security risk, should be in good health, and should have sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay in Canada.
Nationals of certain countries need an invitation from a close relative to visit Canada. Additional documentation could also be required.
A Visitor Visa is a document issued by Canadian immigration officials which shows that a foreign individual has satisfied the requirements for admission as a Visitor. Possession of a valid Visitor Visa does not necessarily mean that admission into Canada will be permitted. All Visitors must always satisfy an immigration official at the port of entry that the purpose of their entry into Canada is of a temporary nature.
Visitor Visas may be for single entry, multiple entry, or transit purposes. If needed, they must be applied for at a Canadian Visa Office outside Canada. Only Visitor Visa extensions may be applied for within Canada. As a general rule, tourists are admitted for a period of six months. Temporary foreign workers and international students are admitted for varying periods of time, as determined on a case-by-case basis.
Single Entry Visitor Visas allow entry to Canada only once. However, holders of Single Entry Visitor Visas are permitted to leave and re-enter Canada prior to the expiry of Visitor status if the travel is to the USA or St. Pierre and Miquelon.
Multiple Entry Visitor Visas allow entry to Canada from any country on repeated occasions. These entries may occur at any time prior to the expiry of Visitor status.
Transit Visitor Visas allow entry into Canada for a period of no more than 48 hours, and apply to foreign individuals whose bus or flight stops in Canada on route to another country.
To visit Canada you:
must be healthy. You might need a doctor's examination;
cannot be a threat to Canada or Canadians;
will need a valid passport, proof of who you are or other travel documents; and
will need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) if you are from none visa exempt countries.
Canada does not pay for hospital or medical services for visitors. Make sure you have health insurance to pay your medical costs before you leave for Canada.
Once you arrive:
An official from Citizenship and Immigration Canada will ask you a few short questions when you arrive. To make this go quickly, keep your passport with you and not in your luggage.
The official will stamp your passport to tell you how long you may stay in Canada. Feel free to ask questions if you are unsure about anything.
After you arrive, you may want to change the conditions of your visit. This is possible in special cases. You must do this before your visa runs out. Apply to extend your stay or visit three weeks before your visa expires