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.
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
- Visitors arriving by land or sea.
- Permanent residents (however, they need to travel with their permanent resident card).
- Citizens of the USA.
- Travellers with a valid Canada visa.
- Passengers on a flight (because of an emergency or other unforeseen circumstance, that makes an unscheduled stop in Canada).
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.
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.
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