Canada welcomes millions of temporary residents (non-immigrants) each year. People enter Canada as tourists, to travel and see this great country, to visit friends and relatives or to decide if they wish to immigrate permanently. Over the past several decades, increasing numbers of travelers from a growing variety of countries have been making Canada their destination for business or pleasure.
If you wish to come to Canada for a temporary purpose like a vacation or to visit family/friends, you may need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), unless you are a citizen from a “visa exempt” country. The TRV (visitor visa) is a document issued by a Canadian Immigration Visa Office outside of Canada, showing that the holder has satisfied the requirements for admission to Canada as a visitor. TRVs may be for single entry or multiple entry. Typically, tourists are admitted for a period of six months. Temporary foreign workers (TFW) and international students are admitted for varying periods of time, as determined on a case-by-case basis.
Who do not require a TRV (visitor visa)?
The only people, other than Canadian citizens and permanent residents, who do not require a TRV (visitor visa) to enter Canada are citizens of visa-exempt countries. Canada has agreements with several countries that exempt citizens of those countries from requiring a visa to visit Canada for a period of up to six months. If foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries wish to visit Canada by air, they require a valid electronic travel authorization (eTA).
Exemptions where an eTA is not required
How to apply for a temporary resident visa (TRV)
Individuals can apply online, with a paper application, or in person at a Visa Application Center (VAC). If you are travelling as a family, each family member, including dependent children, must complete their own application. However, you may submit all the applications together. Applicants may be required to provide biometric information in their application, depending on their country of citizenship. If biometrics are required, the applicant will need to provide their fingerprints and photograph at a biometric collection service point. Biometrics can be provided after submitting the visitor visa application when you are prompted to do so, or at the same time as submission if submitting in person at a Visa Application Center (VAC).
There are several factors that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will consider when reviewing your application. Each case is a different depending on your specific situation, but generally following factors are considered
Connections to home country
This is one of the main tests in issuing a temporary resident visa (visitor visa) to the applicant. Will the applicant return to his/her country once the status expires? The visa officer will first look at applicant’s socio-economic connections to his/her home country. Having an employment, business, family, property and obligations and previous travel history are positive points in the application
Supporting yourself in Canada
Another critical factor the applicant should address in the application is how he/she will support in Canada. Enough funds in bank account, travel insurance, hotel bookings, and invitation letter from friend/family in Canada are positive factors in the application.
Extending a visitor status in Canada
Visitor visas allow foreign nationals to legally live in Canada for up to six months at a time. At the end of this period, legal status will expire, and individual must leave Canada. Individual who would like to extend their stay beyond six months must apply to do so while their temporary resident status is still valid. You should apply for an extension at least 30 days before your status will expire. If your current visa expires while your extension application is still being processed, you may remain in Canada while waiting for a decision to be made. This is called implied status.
Visitor Visa FAQ’s
How long can I stay in Canada as a visitor?
Visitors can generally remain for up to 6 months upon entry to Canada (if the initial entry is not limited for a shorter duration by a Border Services Officer).
How long does it take to process the visitor visa application?
Processing time starts the day IRCC receive your complete application and ends when they make a final decision. It may vary depending on how many applications IRCC receive and where (country) the application was submitted.
Can I extend my visitor status?
Yes! You can apply to extend your stay beyond six months through an extension application. However, you should apply before the expiration of your current visitor status. If your visitor status expires but you have already applied for an extension and are waiting for your renewal, you will have an implied status, until a final decision is made on your extension application. If your application for an extension is refused, you can apply for restoration of status, so long as your application is made within 90 days of the refusal date.
What are the document requirements for visitor extension application?
What can I do if my visitor visa application is refused?
There is no formal appeal process for refused TRV (visitor visa) application. However, you may reapply if your situation has changed substantially or you have considerable new information to submit.
Can I study in Canada on visitor visa?
International students generally require a study permit to pursue an educational program in Canada. However, there are few exceptions to this rule. If your program in Canada is less than six months, you do not require a study permit, although it may be a good idea to apply for one in case you decide to continue your studies. You may also study in Canada without a study permit if you are a family member of a foreign representative accredited by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. In addition, if you are a member of a foreign armed force under the Visiting Forces Act, you will not be required to obtain a study permit. If you are in Canada on a work/student permit, your minor children can study at the secondary or elementary level without study permit.
Can I work in Canada on visitor visa?
A foreign national must obtain a work permit to work in Canada. You need to have a job offer from a Canadian employer to apply for a work permit. Also, you must meet other program requirements.
How can I help my friend or family member in their visitor visa application?
If your friend/family member requires a visitor visa to visit Canada, their initial application must be submitted outside the country. (visa office at their country of residence). You may provide them an invitation letter, explaining how you will them to visit Canada. For an example, you may state that you will pay for their plane tickets and will provide an accommodation. While an invitation letter may help a visitor visa application, it does not guarantee that the applicant(s) will receive a visa.
What are common mistakes in Canadian visitor visa application?
Incomplete application forms
You should be extra diligent when filling out your application forms, as leaving certain areas blank is the most common mistake you can make as an applicant. If you are not sure about any section, always try to find out how to answer, rather than guessing/leaving it blank. Sign all the required sections. Missing out just one signature may lead to an incomplete application. Make sure to double check all the areas in your forms, and only sign where a signature is required.
Misrepresentation or incorrect information
Always be honest when providing information and supporting documents for your application. Submitting any forged/altered document may result into visa refusal. It is advisable not to provide incorrect information on the application forms. Lying or providing forged/altered documents will only diminish the credibility of your application and could be refused based on misrepresentation. Misrepresentation may result in legal action, removal or being banned from Canada for up to 5 years.
Not having enough proof of ties to your home country
You must provide documentary evidence of financial and social ties to your home country, otherwise the officer may conclude that you may not return at the end of your stay in Canada.
Using an unauthorized representative
You can hire an authorized representative to help with your application. Paid representatives are authorized by the government. Unfortunately, there are many fraudulent companies or agents that will overcharge you for what they claim is a guaranteed visa. An authorized representative will never give you a guarantee of success.
How Can X can help?
There is a higher risk of refusal in cases where the application is not well prepared. The standards are very high and, its very important to present the case as per client’s profile and objectives. We have literally helped many clients successfully visit Canada on visitor visa, and even though no one can promise any guarantees, we are certain we can help you increase your chances with our extensive experience.