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Canada Visitor Visa - Travel safely and legally to Canada

A Visitor Visa is also referred to as a Temporary Resident Visa, and it consists of a document used for tourists to enter Canada on a temporary basis. Unless you are from a visa-exempt country, you will need a visitor visa to enter Canada whether you are coming as a student, temporary worker, or simply to visit.

quick facts

  • Processing time: 4-6 Weeks

  • Processing fee: $100 + Biometrics Fee $85 (if applicable) 

  • Valid for: Leisure and Tourism

  • Validity: Validity of the passport or 10 years.

  • Method of Stamping: Counterfoil or eTA (electronic travel authorization)

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Canada Visitor Visa

What is a Canada Visitor Visa?


The Canada Visitor Visa, also known as a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), is an official document issued by a Canadian visa office that is placed in your passport to show that you have met the requirements for admission to Canada as a temporary resident, either as a visitor, a student, or a worker. It's crucial to note that the visa is not a guarantee of entry into Canada.


You can apply for a Canada Visitor Visa from outside Canada. If approved, it allows you to legally enter the country. Visitor visas can be for single entry or multiple entries. A single-entry visa allows you to enter Canada once. On the other hand, a multiple-entry visa will let you enter and exit Canada multiple times until it expires.


Before you apply for a visitor visa, you'll need to determine if you're admissible to Canada. Several factors can make you inadmissible, including involvement in criminal activity, human rights violations, or organized crime. You can also be denied if you pose a security risk or have financial issues.


The length of time you may spend in Canada can vary. A border services officer at the port of entry will determine how long you can stay, which is usually up to 6 months. However, the officer can allow you to stay for less or more time, depending on the purpose of your visit.


You must respect the expiry date on your visitor visa. Staying longer than the period you were authorized to may lead to you being considered an overstay, which can impact your ability to return to Canada in the future.


In certain cases, you may be exempt from needing a visitor visa to come to Canada. For instance, citizens from visa-exempt countries can come to Canada with an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) instead of a visitor visa.


It's crucial to stay updated with the latest information on the official Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. For personalized advice, always consult with an immigration expert or legal advisor.

Requirements for a Canada Visitor Visa


When applying for a Canada Visitor Visa, you need to meet several requirements to be eligible. Below are the key criteria to be aware of.


Basic Eligibility


To qualify for a Canada Visitor Visa, you must:

  • Have a valid travel document, like a passport.

  • Be in good health.

  • Have no criminal or immigration-related convictions.

  • Convince an immigration officer that you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets, or family—that will take you back to your home country.

  • Convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit.

  • Have enough money for your stay. The amount of money you will need can vary with the circumstances of the visit, your location, and how long you will stay.




Some people are not allowed to enter Canada. They are known as "inadmissible" under Canada's immigration law. You may be denied a visa or entry to Canada due to several reasons such as:

  • Security reasons.

  • Human or international rights violations.

  • Criminal record.

  • Health reasons.

  • Financial reasons.

  • Misrepresentation.




You may need to provide your biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) during the visa application. It depends on your nationality. Most applicants need to give biometrics.


Visa Exemptions


People from countries that do not need a visa to visit Canada are known as visa-exempt travelers. However, they would still need to:

  • Have a valid travel document, like a passport.

  • Be in good health.

  • Have no criminal or immigration-related convictions.

  • Convince an immigration officer that they will leave Canada at the end of their visit.


Visa-exempt foreign nationals need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to or transit through a Canadian airport.


Special and Diplomatic Passport Holders


People carrying a special or diplomatic passport or who are traveling on a diplomatic mission may be exempt from certain requirements.

Ensure you're familiar with all the requirements before applying for a Canada Visitor Visa. Keep updated with the latest information on the official Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

How to Apply for a Canada Visitor Visa?


Applying for a Canada Visitor Visa, also known as a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), involves a series of steps. Here's a step-by-step guide on how you can apply for a Canada Visitor Visa.


Step 1: Determine How You Will Apply

You can apply for a Canada Visitor Visa either online or on paper. Applying online can be faster and doesn't require any courier fees. You can also quickly submit additional documents online if needed.

Step 2: Prepare the Necessary Documents

Before you apply, gather all necessary documents, including a valid passport, two recent passport-sized photos, proof of financial support, travel itinerary if you have one, and any additional documents required by your local visa office.

Step 3: Complete the Application Form

Download the application package from the official IRCC website, which includes an instruction guide and all the forms you need to fill out. Read the guide carefully before you complete the application form.

Step 4: Pay the Fees

The application fee for a Canada Visitor Visa is 100 CAD. You might also need to pay the biometrics fee, which is 85 CAD. Fees are generally non-refundable, regardless of the application outcome.

Step 5: Submit the Application

If you're applying online, you can submit your application through your IRCC account. If you're applying on paper, you need to mail your application to the appropriate address included in the application package.

Step 6: Wait for Processing and Respond to any Requests

After you submit your application, it will be reviewed by immigration officers. The processing time can vary. During this period, you might be asked to submit additional documents, attend an interview, or provide biometrics.

Step 7: Send Your Passport for Visa Stamping

If your application is approved, you will receive an instruction to send your passport for visa stamping. You can then courier your passport to the visa office.


Keep in mind that this process can change, and additional or different steps may be needed depending on your specific circumstances and any changes to Canadian immigration law.

Processing Time for Canada Visitor Visa


The processing time for a Canada Visitor Visa can vary based on several factors such as the visa office location, the volume of applications received, and whether the application is complete. This article explores the timeline you might expect when applying for a Canada Visitor Visa.


Canada Visitor Visa applications are typically processed within a few weeks or less. However, processing times can extend to several months in some cases, particularly during peak travel times. Note that these timelines are estimates and not guarantees.

The process starts when the application is received by the visa office. An immigration official reviews the application to ensure all required documents are included. If anything is missing, the application may be returned without processing, which will delay the overall process.


Applicants also need to consider the time it takes to gather necessary supporting documents. These may include proof of finances, travel history, letter of invitation, etc. It's crucial to allocate enough time to prepare these materials.


If you're required to provide biometrics, consider the time it will take to schedule and attend an appointment at a biometric collection service point.

Moreover, if the immigration office requires further verification or needs to conduct an interview, the processing time can be extended.


Avoid common delays by providing complete and accurate information in your application. Following the guidance provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) can help ensure that your application is not unnecessarily delayed.


Check the IRCC website for updated processing times. They're calculated using historical data and are updated weekly. This could give you a good sense of how long you might be waiting.


Remember that applying as early as possible is typically the best way to ensure that your visa arrives in time for your travel. Always plan ahead to account for any unforeseen delays.

Streamlining Visa Applications: Canada's Temporary Public Policy to Boost Tourism and Business Post-Pandemic


In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has introduced a temporary public policy to facilitate the processing of temporary resident visa applications. This policy aims to reduce processing times for visitor visas, thereby enhancing Canada's attractiveness for tourists, business persons, and family visitors.

The accumulated visitor visa inventory has been a hindrance, limiting Canada's appeal for tourists and business persons, and keeping families separated. By streamlining eligibility requirements, this policy aims to facilitate the processing of applications currently in the inventory. This will position Canada for a clean start and a return to pre-pandemic processing times, ensuring international competitiveness moving forward.

The policy outlines specific conditions or eligibility requirements. For instance, the foreign national must have submitted an application for a temporary resident visa under section 179 of the Regulations as a member of the visitor class on or before January 16, 2023. The foreign national must have been 18 years of age or older on January 16, 2023. In the four years preceding the date the application was received, the foreign national should not have had a temporary resident visa, study permit, work permit, or permanent resident visa application refused, if they were not subsequently approved for an application for a temporary resident visa, work permit or study permit.

This policy also applies to foreign nationals who hold a temporary resident visa issued following facilitation under the policy and seek to enter Canada as a visitor for the first time following the issuance of the temporary resident visa.

This public policy comes into effect upon signature and expires on December 31, 2023. It may be revoked at any time without prior notice.



  1. This policy is a significant step towards reducing the backlog of visitor visa applications, making Canada more attractive to tourists, business persons, and family visitors.

  2. The policy underscores the importance of streamlining immigration processes to support Canada's economic recovery post-COVID pandemic.

  3. The policy's temporary nature, with a set expiry date, suggests that it is a responsive measure to the current immigration context, which may evolve over time.

Difference Between a Single Entry and Multiple Entry Visa


When you apply for a Canada Visitor Visa, one aspect you might be considering is whether to apply for a single entry visa or a multiple entry visa. Both types of visas allow you to travel to Canada for tourism, business meetings, or to visit family and friends. However, they differ in terms of how often you can enter Canada within the validity period of the visa.


Single Entry Visa


A single entry visa allows you to enter Canada once. Once you leave Canada, excluding travel to the United States and St. Pierre and Miquelon, you will need a new visa to travel back to Canada. If you travel to these countries, you can return to Canada without a new visa, but only within the original validity of your visa.


Multiple Entry Visa


On the other hand, a multiple entry visa lets you enter Canada from any country as many times as you want during the validity of the visa. The maximum validity period for multiple entry visas is ten years or one month before your passport expires, whichever is earlier.

In terms of fees, both single entry and multiple entry visas cost the same—100 CAD. Given this, many applicants opt for a multiple entry visa due to its flexibility, as it allows them to enter and leave Canada several times.

The decision to issue a single or multiple entry visa is at the discretion of the visa officer. Though you can indicate your preference in your application, the final decision rests with the officer.

Documents Required for Canada Visitor Visa Application


When applying for a Canada Visitor Visa, it's crucial to have the correct documentation. The specific documents required for a Canada Tourist Visa (Visitor Visa) may vary depending on your country of residence and individual circumstances. However, here is a general list of common documents you will likely need to include in your application:


  1. Passport - Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date from Canada. The passport should have at least one blank page for visa stamping.

  2. Completed Application Form - The Visitor Visa application form (IMM 5257) must be completed accurately. All questions must be answered, and the form must be signed and dated.

  3. Passport-Size Photographs - Two recent passport-sized photographs are required. The photo should meet the specifications laid out by the IRCC.

  4. Proof of Financial Resources - You'll need to provide proof that you have sufficient funds for your stay in Canada. This can include bank statements, employment letters indicating your salary, or proof of investments.

  5. Travel Itinerary - If you have already booked your flights, you can include your travel itinerary as part of your application. This is not a requirement, but it can strengthen your application.

  6. Proof of Ties to Home Country - This includes proof that you have strong ties to your home country and will return home after visiting Canada. Evidence might include employment information, property deeds, or proof of assets.

  7. Letter of Invitation - If you're being invited by a friend or family member in Canada, you should include a Letter of Invitation from them in your application.

  8. Travel Health Insurance - Proof of travel health insurance coverage for your stay in Canada, with a coverage of at least CAD$100,000, can be necessary.

  9. Processing Fee Receipt - You'll need to include the receipt that shows you've paid the visa processing fee.

  10. Additional Documents - Depending on your situation, you may need to provide additional documents. For example, if you're planning to work or study in Canada, you'll need to provide additional documentation.


Remember, every application is unique, and you might be asked to provide additional documents. 

Rights and Restrictions with a Canada Visitor Visa


Holding a Canada Visitor Visa gives you the opportunity to travel to Canada for a temporary stay. However, there are specific rights and restrictions that come with it. This article will help you understand what you can and cannot do with a Canada Visitor Visa.


Rights with a Canada Visitor Visa

  1. Tourism: One of the main purposes of a Visitor Visa is tourism. You can visit family or friends or explore Canada's many sights and attractions.

  2. Business Visits: You can visit Canada for business meetings, conferences, or negotiations. However, you can't enter the Canadian labour market.

  3. Study: You can take short-term courses for study periods of six months or less.

  4. Length of Stay: Typically, you can stay in Canada for up to six months. The exact length of your stay is determined by a border services officer at the point of entry.


Restrictions with a Canada Visitor Visa

  1. No Work: You cannot work in Canada on a Visitor Visa. If you plan to work, you will need a work permit.

  2. Limited Study: You can study for six months or less. For longer courses, you need to apply for a student permit.

  3. No Immigration: A Visitor Visa does not lead to permanent resident status. To immigrate to Canada, you need to qualify under an immigration category, like the Skilled Worker or Business Immigration program.

  4. Renewal Requirements: If you wish to extend your stay, you need to apply for an extension at least 30 days before the expiry of your current status.

  5. Entry Guarantees: A Visitor Visa does not guarantee entry into Canada. Upon arrival, you will be inspected by a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer who will decide whether to admit you into the country.

  6. Health Care: Visitors are not covered by Canada's health care system. You should have travel insurance to cover any health expenses.

Extending Your Stay as a Visitor in Canada


If you're visiting Canada and want to extend your stay, you'll need to apply for an extension, also known as a Visitor Record. The following steps can help guide you through the process.


Step 1: Check Your Status

First, confirm the date your status in Canada expires. This is usually six months from the day you entered Canada or until the date stamped in your passport or travel document, whichever comes first.

Step 2: Decide When to Apply

You should apply to extend your stay at least 30 days before your current status expires.

Step 3: Understand the Implications

Be aware that applying for an extension doesn't guarantee approval. While your application is processed, you'll have "implied status" and can stay in Canada until a decision is made.

Step 4: Gather Necessary Documents

You will need documents similar to what you provided for your initial visa application, including proof of financial resources and travel insurance. In addition, you need to explain why you are extending your stay.

Step 5: Fill Out the Application Form

The form you need to fill out is called "Application to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada". It's available on the IRCC website. Be sure to provide accurate and complete information.

Step 6: Pay the Fee

The fee for extending a visitor visa is 100 CAD. You can pay this online through the IRCC website.

Step 7: Submit Your Application

Once you've completed the form and paid the fee, you can submit your application online. If you're unable to do so, you can apply on paper, but the processing time may be longer.

Step 8: Wait for a Decision

After you've submitted your application, you will have to wait for a decision. This could take several weeks or months, depending on various factors.

Please note that if your application to extend your stay is approved, you'll receive a visitor record, which is a document that says you're allowed to stay in Canada longer.

Canada Visitor Visa: Reasons for Rejection


A rejection of your Canada Visitor Visa application can be disappointing. Understanding the common reasons for visa refusal can help you better prepare for a successful future application. Here are some reasons why a Canada Visitor Visa might be denied:


  • Insufficient Proof of Financial Support - To get a visa, you need to prove that you have enough funds to cover your expenses in Canada. If you can't provide evidence of sufficient financial resources, your application may be rejected.

  • Lack of Travel HistoryIf you have never travelled abroad or if you have previously overstayed a visa, this could count against you. A lack of travel history might indicate to immigration officials that you are not a seasoned traveller and may not comply with immigration laws.

  • Ties to Home Country - You must prove that you will return to your home country after your visit. This can be demonstrated through strong ties to your home country such as a steady job, family dependents, or property ownership.

  • Purpose of Visit - You need to provide a clear and detailed explanation of why you want to visit Canada. A vague or confusing explanation may lead to a visa refusal.

  • Health Issues - Certain health conditions may lead to visa refusal. Canada wants to ensure that visitors do not pose a public health risk and that they won't place excessive demand on Canada's health or social services.

  • Criminality or Security Reasons - Having a criminal record or posing a security risk can lead to visa refusal. Canada has strict rules for admitting individuals with a criminal history.

  • Misrepresentation on Application - Providing false information or omitting relevant information on your application can lead to refusal and possibly a five-year ban from applying to enter Canada.

  • Incomplete or Incorrectly Filled Application - An incomplete or incorrectly filled out application can also lead to a visa refusal. It's important to carefully complete all parts of the application form and provide all necessary documents.


Overcoming Canada Visitor Visa Rejection Reasons


If your Canada Visitor Visa application was rejected, don't be discouraged. It's possible to address the reasons for rejection and apply again. Below, we discuss how to overcome some common reasons for visa refusal:

  • Insufficient Proof of Financial Support - If your application was refused due to insufficient proof of financial support, consider providing more detailed and comprehensive proof of your finances in your next application. This can include bank statements, proof of income, property deeds, or a letter from a sponsor who will be financially supporting your trip.

  • Lack of Travel History - To address this issue, consider starting to build your travel history with trips to countries that have easier visa processes. Always abide by visa rules and avoid overstaying your welcome.

  • Ties to Home Country - Strengthen your application by providing clear evidence of strong ties to your home country. This could include proof of a steady job, evidence of family dependents, or property deeds.

  • Purpose of Visit - Make sure to clearly articulate your purpose of visit in your application. Include all necessary details such as planned activities, places you wish to visit, or people you intend to see.

  • Health Issues - If you were rejected for health reasons, you may need to provide additional information, such as a detailed letter from your doctor explaining your condition, how it's managed, and why it won't pose a risk or burden to Canada's health or social services.

  • Criminality or Security Reasons - If you were denied due to criminality or security issues, you may need to apply for rehabilitation or a temporary resident permit, depending on your specific circumstances.

  • Misrepresentation on Application - Always provide accurate and truthful information on your application. If you made a mistake on your first application, ensure that you correct this in your new application and consider providing an explanation for the mistake.

  • Incomplete or Incorrectly Filled Application - Thoroughly review your application before submitting to ensure all questions are answered accurately and completely. Consider seeking the help of an immigration expert to review your application.


Remember, each application is evaluated on its own merits, and there's no guarantee of approval. However, addressing the reasons for refusal can improve your chances.

Reapplying After a Canada Visitor Visa Rejection


Having your Canada Visitor Visa application rejected can be disheartening. However, this does not mean you cannot apply again. You can reapply after a visa rejection, but you should understand the reasons for the refusal and address them in your new application. Here's a guide on how to proceed:

Step 1: Understand the Reason for Rejection

When your visa application is refused, you will receive a letter from IRCC explaining the reasons for the refusal. Common reasons can include lack of travel history, insufficient funds, weak ties to your home country, or unclear purpose of visit.

Step 2: Address the Issues

Your next step is to address the issues mentioned in the refusal letter. For instance, if your rejection was due to insufficient funds, you should ensure you have more financial resources before reapplying. If weak ties to your home country was the problem, you could provide more evidence of your strong connections to your home country.

Step 3: Gather Updated Documents

Prepare new documents for your application, ensuring that they are up to date and address the refusal reasons. Always provide honest and accurate information.

Step 4: Complete New Application Forms

Fill out the new application forms carefully, ensuring all the information is accurate and complete. Be sure to provide clear and concise information to avoid any confusion.

Step 5: Pay the Processing Fee

The processing fee for the visa application is non-refundable, even if the application is rejected. You'll need to pay the fee again when you reapply.

Step 6: Submit the New Application

Submit your new application either online or at a Visa Application Centre. Make sure to include all required documents and any additional documents that support your application.

Step 7: Wait for a Decision

Once you've submitted your application, it's time to wait. Application processing times can vary, so it's important to apply well in advance of your planned trip.

There's no limit to the number of times you can reapply for a Visitor Visa, but each application is evaluated independently based on its merits. It's essential to understand why your initial application was rejected and address those issues when you reapply.

Canada Visitor Visa and Dual Intent


"Dual intent" is a concept in immigration law that refers to situations where a person who is applying for a temporary visa (like a Visitor Visa) also intends to apply for permanent residency in Canada. This can be a complex issue, but this article will help you understand what dual intent means and how it could affect your application.


Understanding Dual Intent

Dual intent recognizes that it is possible for a person to legitimately seek to reside in Canada temporarily and also aim to become a permanent resident in the future. However, the applicant must still be able to satisfy an immigration officer that they will leave Canada at the end of their authorized stay as a temporary resident.


Dual Intent and Visitor Visas

When you apply for a Visitor Visa, you are expected to show that your stay in Canada will be temporary. However, you can also express an interest in becoming a permanent resident. The key here is to make it clear that, regardless of your future plans, you will respect the terms of the temporary visa and leave Canada when required.


Addressing Dual Intent in Your Application

Addressing dual intent in your application can be challenging. It involves a delicate balance of demonstrating your long-term plans while ensuring the officer that you will abide by the conditions of your temporary visa.

  1. Honesty is Crucial: Always be truthful about your intentions when you apply for a visa.

  2. Strong Ties to Your Home Country: Provide evidence of strong ties to your home country, such as family, a steady job, or property. This will show that you have reasons to return home after your temporary stay.

  3. Follow the Rules of Your Temporary Visa: Demonstrate a history of compliance with visa conditions, showing you've always left the country when required in the past.

  4. Provide a Clear Plan: If you intend to apply for permanent residency, outline a clear plan. This might involve applying through an immigration program that you're eligible for.


Dual intent can be a complex issue, and it might be helpful to consult with an immigration professional for advice on your specific situation.

Super Visa for Parents and Grandparents in Canada


Canada's Super Visa is a multi-entry visa that allows eligible parents and grandparents to visit their family in Canada for up to two years at a time, without the need to renew their status. The visa can be valid for up to 10 years, depending on the applicant's passport validity.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a Super Visa, you must:

  1. Be the parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. Unfortunately, other relatives such as brothers, sisters, or children are not eligible.

  2. Prove that your child or grandchild in Canada meets a minimum income threshold. The child or grandchild may need to provide a letter of financial support, along with proof of their income.

  3. Have valid Canadian medical insurance coverage for at least one year. The insurance must cover at least $100,000 for healthcare, hospitalization, and repatriation.

  4. Complete an Immigration Medical Examination.

From Visitor Visa to Study Permit in Canada


It's not uncommon for visitors in Canada to decide that they want to study in a Canadian institution. If you're in Canada on a Visitor Visa and you wish to study, you will need to apply for a change of conditions to obtain a Study Permit. 


Understanding Study Permits


A Study Permit is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows foreign nationals to study at designated learning institutions (DLI) in Canada.


Applying for a Study Permit


To apply for a Study Permit, you must first receive a letter of acceptance from a DLI. Once you have this, you can apply to change your immigration status. Here's the general process:

  1. Prepare Your Documents: You need to collect several documents for your application, including your acceptance letter, proof of financial support, and any other documents required by IRCC.

  2. Apply for a Change of Status: You can apply online or by paper to change your status from a visitor to a student. The online method is generally quicker.

  3. Wait for a Decision: Processing times vary, but you can check the status of your application online.

  4. Receive Your Study Permit: If your application is approved, you'll receive a new document, your Study Permit, allowing you to stay and study in Canada.


Some Important Considerations

  • While waiting for a decision on your application, you cannot start your studies. You must wait until you have received your Study Permit.

  • You must also ensure that you maintain legal status in Canada while your application is being processed. This might mean applying to extend your Visitor Visa if it will expire before you receive a decision on your Study Permit application.

Visitor Visa to Work Permit in Canada

It is possible to transition from a Visitor Visa to a Work Permit in Canada under certain circumstances. The process is known as a "Change of Status" or "Status Extension" in Canada. If you are already in Canada on a valid Visitor Visa, and you meet specific eligibility criteria, you may apply for a Work Permit without leaving the country.


Here are some common scenarios where such a transition is possible:

  1. Job Offer: If you have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer, you may be eligible to apply for a Work Permit under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or the International Mobility Program (IMP).

  2. Working Holiday: If you are from a country that has a bilateral agreement with Canada for a Working Holiday Program, you may be able to apply for a Work Permit under this program.

  3. Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP): If you have completed a study program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada, you may be eligible for a PGWP, which allows you to work in Canada after graduation.

  4. Spousal Work Permit: If your spouse or common-law partner is in Canada on a work or study permit, you may be eligible for an open work permit.

  5. Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP): If your current work permit is about to expire, and you have applied for permanent residence under certain immigration programs, you may be eligible for a BOWP to maintain your status and continue working in Canada while your application is being processed.


Important Considerations

  • While waiting for a decision on your application, you cannot start working. You must wait until you have received your Work Permit.

  • You must also maintain legal status in Canada while your application is being processed. This might mean applying to extend your Visitor Visa if it will expire before you receive a decision on your Work Permit application.

Visitor Visa vs. Temporary Resident Permit in Canada

Both a Visitor Visa and a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) allow individuals to travel to Canada for a limited period, but they serve different purposes and have different requirements. Here's a comparison to help you understand these two documents better.


Visitor Visa


A Visitor Visa, or Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), allows foreign nationals to visit Canada for a temporary period, typically up to six months at a time. This could be for tourism, to visit family, or even for short-term business visits.


Eligibility Criteria for Visitor Visa:

  • Valid passport

  • Good health

  • No criminal or immigration-related convictions

  • Proof of ties to your home country

  • Proof of funds for your visit


Temporary Resident Permit


A Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) is a document that allows someone who is inadmissible to Canada, due to reasons such as criminality or medical issues, to enter or stay in the country for a specific purpose.


Eligibility Criteria for Temporary Resident Permit:

  • Reason for inadmissibility

  • Justified reason to travel to Canada

  • Proof that your stay will be temporary and you will leave Canada at the end of the permit validity


Key Differences

  1. Purpose: A Visitor Visa is for individuals who wish to visit Canada for tourism, visiting family or friends, or short-term business visits. In contrast, a TRP is for those who are not typically admissible to Canada but have a justified reason to be in the country.

  2. Inadmissibility: A Visitor Visa is for individuals who are admissible to Canada, i.e., they have no criminal or immigration-related convictions that would prevent their entry. On the other hand, a TRP is specifically for individuals who are inadmissible to Canada.

  3. Validity: A Visitor Visa can be valid for up to 10 years (multiple-entry visa), allowing stays of up to six months at a time. A TRP is typically valid for the length of your specific purpose in Canada, up to a maximum of three years, and can be extended from inside Canada.

Visitor Visa vs. Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)

An ETA is a pre-screening requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. Essentially, it's a digital travel authorization system, similar to the ESTA in the U.S. It's electronically linked to your passport and is valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.


Eligibility Criteria for ETA:

  • You're from a visa-exempt country

  • You're traveling to Canada by air

  • You're not already in possession of a valid Visitor Visa


Key Differences

  1. Who Needs Them: A Visitor Visa is required for citizens from visa-required countries who intend to visit Canada. An ETA, on the other hand, is for citizens from visa-exempt countries who plan to fly to Canada.

  2. Validity: A Visitor Visa can be valid for up to 10 years (multiple-entry visa), allowing stays of up to six months at a time. An ETA is valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first, and also permits stays of up to six months per visit.

  3. Application Process: The Visitor Visa application process is more extensive, requiring more documents, and it's typically processed at a Canadian embassy or consulate. The ETA application process is simpler and can be completed online within minutes, with most applications approved within hours.

Canada Expands Visa-Free Travel: 13 More Countries Added to the eTA Program - 2023


Canada has expanded its electronic travel authorization (eTA) program to include 13 additional countries, making it easier for more individuals to visit, do business, or reunite with family and friends in Canada. The Honorable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced this expansion, which allows travelers from these countries who have either held a Canadian visa in the last 10 years or who currently hold a valid United States non-immigrant visa to apply for an eTA instead of a visa when travelling to Canada by air.

The new countries added to the eTA program include:

  • Antigua and Barbuda,

  • Argentina,

  • Costa Rica,

  • Morocco,

  • Panama,

  • Philippines,

  • St. Kitts and Nevis,

  • St. Lucia,

  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines,

  • Seychelles,

  • Thailand,

  • Trinidad and Tobago,

  • Uruguay.


This move will make it faster, easier, and more affordable for thousands of travelers to visit Canada for up to six months for either business or leisure. It is expected to facilitate more travel, tourism, and international business, and strengthen Canada’s relationships with these countries while keeping Canadians safe.

The decision will also divert thousands of applications from Canada’s visa caseload, allowing for more efficient processing of visa applications. Individuals who already have a valid visa can continue to use it to travel to Canada. Those who are not eligible for an eTA, or who are travelling to Canada by means other than air, will still need a visitor visa.


  1. The expansion of the eTA program is a significant step towards making Canada more accessible to international travelers, facilitating business, tourism, and family reunions.

  2. The policy underscores the importance of efficient and equitable immigration programs and services in enhancing Canada's international relationships and economic growth.

  3. The policy's implementation suggests a strategic approach to immigration, balancing the need for increased international engagement with the necessity of maintaining national security.

Visitor Visa vs. Visitor Record

The Visitor Visa and Visitor Record are two different types of documents issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). These documents serve different purposes, and their requirements vary as well.

Visitor Record

A Visitor Record is a document issued by an officer to a foreign national in Canada. It is issued to extend their stay as a visitor and provides a date by which they must leave Canada. It's given to those who want to change their status, such as students or workers, or those who simply wish to stay longer in Canada.

Eligibility Criteria for Visitor Record:

  • Already in Canada with a valid status

  • Need to extend the stay

  • Have not committed any crimes during the stay


Key Differences

  1. Purpose: A Visitor Visa is for foreign nationals who wish to enter Canada for a temporary period, whether for tourism, family visit, or short-term business. In contrast, a Visitor Record is for foreign nationals already in Canada who wish to extend their stay or change their status.

  2. Issuance: A Visitor Visa is issued by a Canadian embassy or consulate before you travel to Canada. A Visitor Record is issued by an officer to a foreign national already in Canada.

  3. Document: A Visitor Visa is a counterfoil document that is placed in your passport. A Visitor Record is a paper document issued by an officer to extend your stay in Canada.

  4. Validity: A Visitor Visa can be issued up to 10 years allowing for multiple entries of up to six months at a time. A Visitor Record will include a specific date by which you must leave Canada.

Crafting a Letter of Invitation for a Canadian Visitor Visa

A Letter of Invitation for a Canadian Visitor Visa is a formal letter written by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident inviting a family member, friend, or someone else from another country to visit Canada. This letter is not a mandatory requirement for obtaining a Visitor Visa, but it can be beneficial in supporting the visa application by providing additional information about the purpose of the visit and the relationship between the inviter and the invitee.

Here are the essential elements to include in a Letter of Invitation:

  1. Inviter's Information:

    • Full name

    • Date of birth

    • Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status

    • Canadian address and contact information

  2. Invitee's Information:

    • Full name

    • Date of birth

    • Nationality

    • Passport number

  3. Purpose of Visit:

    • Clearly state the reason for the visit (e.g., tourism, family visit, attending an event, business meetings, etc.).

  4. Duration of Stay:

    • Mention the intended length of stay in Canada (with specific dates if possible).

  5. Relationship:

    • Explain the relationship between the inviter and the invitee (e.g., friend, cousin, parent, etc.).

  6. Financial Support:

    • Indicate whether the inviter will provide financial support during the visit and cover expenses like accommodation, food, and transportation.

  7. Itinerary (optional):

    • If there's a planned itinerary, provide a brief outline of the activities during the visit.

  8. Declaration of Responsibility:

    • Include a statement indicating that the inviter takes responsibility for the invitee during their stay in Canada.

  9. Contact Information:

    • Provide contact details for the inviter, including phone number and email address.

  10. Signature:

    • The letter should be signed by the inviter.


Note: It's important to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in the letter, and the inviter should be prepared to provide supporting documents, such as proof of Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status, as well as financial documents demonstrating their ability to support the invitee during the visit.


The invitee should submit the Letter of Invitation along with their visa application and other required documents to the Canadian visa office in their home country or country of residence.


Please be aware that a Letter of Invitation does not guarantee the issuance of a Visitor Visa. The decision to grant a visa lies solely with the Canadian immigration authorities.

Need help in applying for a Visitor Visa for Canada? Hire an authorized paid representative.

IMMERGITY Immigration Consultant are very experienced with the application process and can help you navigate the system. We will also provide valuable insights and tips on how to increase your chances of success. Get in touch now.

If you're thinking of hiring a representative, be sure to check that they're authorized by IRCC. You can verify our credentials by clicking here.

Hiring a representative is not required, but it can be helpful, especially if you're not familiar with the application process. If you decide to hire a representative, be sure to choose someone who you trust and who you feel comfortable working with.

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