In 2019, around 22.1 million people visited Canada. Canada is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, be it, it’s serene nature, or the contrasting urban life in big cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, you can experience both in Canada. People visit Canada for different purposes such as for tourism or to spend some fun time with their loved ones living in Canada. There are many tourist attractions in Canada you can visit including the world-famous Niagara Falls, the Northern Lights, spectacular city skylines, and numerous lakes, mountains and forests.

No matter what your reason for travel is, before entering Canada, you may be required to obtain a Visitor Visa, or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) depending on your purpose of travel, your nationality, country which issued your travel document and your method of entry into Canada. You can find out whether you need a Visitor Visa or eTA or if you are exempt from either here.

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

There are a number of countries, also called visa-exempt countries, whose citizens/passport holders do NOT need to obtain a visitor visa but instead would need to apply for an eTA if they are flying to or transiting through a Canadian airport. They are not required to obtain an eTA if they are entering Canada by land, for example by car, bus, train, or by sea, for example by boat or cruise ship.

So, what is an eTA?

If a visa-exempt foreign national is entering Canada by air, that is through a Canadian airport, they are required to obtain an eTA.

Applying for an eTA is an online application and it may get processed within minutes after you submit the application. It may take longer if you are asked to submit supporting documentation. The cost of an eTA is only CAD $7. Normally it will be valid up to 5 years and you can travel to Canada as many times as you want. An eTA is electronically linked to your passport so ensure that you enter the correct passport number when filling out the application.

Please note that if you hold an eTA, generally, you can stay in Canada up to 6 months at a time.

Visitor Visa

Conversely, if you are a citizen/passport holder of a country who are required to obtain a visa in order to enter Canada, you will have to submit a visitor visa application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). In order to submit your application, you will have to meet eligibility requirements such as, you must:

  • have a valid travel document such as a passport
  • be in good health (may be required to do medical exam)
  • have and show enough money to cover your stay in Canada
  • convince the immigration officer that you have ties to your home country that will require you to go back to your home country
  • convince the immigration officer that you have intention to leave Canada at the end of your authorized period of stay
  • be admissible to Canada

Immigration officers have complete discretion to reject your application if they are of the opinion that you will not leave Canada or you don’t have enough money to cover your stay in Canada or if they think that you don’t have enough ties to your home country.

It is very important that the supporting documentation that you include in the application is strong enough to convince the immigration officer.

So, how long can you stay in Canada if your visitor visa application is approved?

Generally, if the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer at the airport or any other port of entry (POE), allows you to enter Canada and does NOT write anything under the stamp in the passport, then this means that you have been allowed to stay up to 6 months in Canada. You must leave Canada after 6 months.

CBSA officer may grant you less than or more than 6 months of stay. If this happens, they will write a date under the stamp in the passport or may give you a document called visitor record which will state the date by which you are required to leave Canada.

If you need help with your visitor visa application, this include filling out government forms, deciding on which important supporting documents to include, preparing supporting letters or any other issue that you are facing, we are here to help you.

Visitor Record

A visitor record is a paper document that may be issued by the CBSA officer if they decide to extend or limit your stay in Canada than the normal 6 months. If you want to stay in Canada for more than 6 months, you will have to tell the CBSA officer. A visitor record is also issued when you are already in Canada and you want to extend or restore your status in Canada.

If you are applying from within Canada to extend your stay as a visitor, your application is submitted to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and you must apply at least 30 days before your current status expires. If your application is approved, the visitor record will state the date by which you must leave Canada and any other conditions which are imposed for the duration of your permitted stay.

If you let your status expire, you will have to submit a restoration application along with an application to extend your stay in Canada as a visitor.

Parent and Grandparent Super Visa

Sponsoring parents and grandparents to come live with you in Canada permanently can be a long process as you can only apply for your parents or grandparent’s permanent residence application if you are selected (invited) by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). In the interim, it can be a good idea to submit a parent and grandparent Super Visa application as the process is less onerous.

Parent and Grandparent Super Visa is a special type of visitor visa which is only issued to the parents and grandparents of Canadian permanent residents or Canadian citizens. It is a multiple entry visa with validity up to 10 years and allows parents or grandparents to stay in Canada up to 2 years at a time. This means that for each visit, parents and grandparents will be able to stay in Canada for 2 years.

Following requirements need to be met in order to be eligible for a Super Visa:

  • Applicant must be a parent or grandparent of a Canadian permanent resident or a Canadian citizen
  • Must have a letter of support from the child or grandchild
  • Must have medical insurance coverage of at least $100,000 from a Canadian insurance company and it must be valid for at least 1 year from the date of entry
  • Child or grandchild must meet the minimum necessary income
  • Parents or grandparents must be admissible to Canada
  • Parents or grandparents must pass medical exam

Note: When submitting this type of application, it is important to establish that parents or grandparents will leave Canada voluntarily at the end of their authorized period of stay.