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Campsite at Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island

Visitor Visa; A piece of paper letting you enter your land of dreams!

What do you know about visitor visa? If you want to travel to Canada, or to another destination through Canada, you need to apply for a visitor visa. A Visitor Visa is an official document that allows the receiver to stay in Canada for up to six months.

Upon entering Canada, the officer will determine if one can stay for longer or shorter than six months by leaving the date in the passport or giving them a visitor record, a document with the leaving date, and if not any of them happen, it is permitted to stay six months in Canada with the visitor visa, or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.  You may ask when you need a visitor visa. Don’t rush, we are here to answer all your questions step by step. The only thing you need is to be patient and stay tuned.

View of the Yukon River at Schwatka Lake, you can visit it with a visitor visa
View of the Yukon River at Schwatka Lake

You will need a visitor visa if you are about to do one of the below:

  • Visiting family and friends
  • Attending a conference, meeting, or trade show
  • Transiting through Canada
  • Visiting as a tourist

If you ask how you can be eligible for this type of visa, you need to read the following conditions:

  • Having a passport or other valid travel documents.
  • Being in good health (No medical test is needed though)
  • Having no criminal or related to immigration convictions.
  • proving to have ties with their home country like a job, financial assets, properties, family, etc. to convince the immigration officer they will return after the visit.
  • Having enough money which depends on the length of stay and other factors.
  • Being fully vaccinated

There are different types of visitor visa (Regular visitor visa, eTA, Super Visa, etc.)

If you are planning to visit Canada and have the above criteria, don’t waste your time, and apply to the official site of the government of Canada here.

Single-entry or multiple-entry visitor visa?

A single-entry visitor visa allows you to enter Canada once, and if you exit Canada, even if it is before your visa’s expiration date, you cannot go back to Canada (Unless you only visit the U.S. or St. Pierre and Miquelon and return before the expiration date of your visa). On the other hand, a multiple-entry lets you visit Canada as many times as you like while your visa is valid. So it is obvious that a multiple-entry visa gives you more advantages. But actually you don’t choose between the two, for all the applicants are considered for the multiple-entry visas, and if they are eligible they will be issued a multiple-entry visa.

Campsite at Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island, you can visit it with a visitor visa
Campsite at Mystic Beach, Vancouver Island

Now one question comes to mind, if a multiple-entry visa is valid for more than six months, but one is allowed to stay up to 6 months, how long one needs to stay outside of Canada to be able to enter again?

The answer is not specified in the IRCC website, and it is clearly stated that “While valid, a multiple entry visa will let you travel to Canada for six months at a time as many times as you want. so you just need to go outside of Canada and enter again.

Super Visa, a solution for Canada-residents’ parents

Are your children or grandchildren living in Canada as citizens or permanent residents? Do you want pay them a visit? If your answer is yes, you are going to need a super visa.

Super visa is a form of visitor visa, issued for people who have children or grandchildren living in Canada as a citizen or permanent resident, and want to come to Canada to visit them. A super visa is a multi-entry visa (although the visa officer can issue you a single-entry one), valid for up to 10 years, which lets you stay in Canada up to 2 years at a time. 

To be eligible for a super visa you must:

  • Be parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Have a signed invitation letter from your child or grandchild including:
    • Promise of supporting you financially during your stay
    • The list of people residing in their household
    • A copy of their citizenship or permanent resident document
  • Have medical insurance, issued by a Canadian insurance company with the below conditions:
    • At least 1 year of validation from the entry date
    • Having a 100,000 CAD coverage at least
    • Having proof of payment (quotes are not accepted)

Also keep in mind, there are other conditions for super visa as well; to be eligible you must

  • apply from outside of Canada
  • be allowed inside Canada (not being inadmissible)
  • take a medical exam.

Extending your visitor Visa

It is possible for you to come to Canada as a visitor, and you need to stay longer in Canada. For extending your stay, regardless of what document you have (Visa or eTA), you need a visitor record. A visitor record is a document that lets you stay longer in Canada as a visitor and indicates the new date that you must leave by. Keep in mind you need to apply for a visitor record at least 30 days before your visa’s expiration date.

You can apply online through IRCC website at the cost of 100 CAD. 

And one more thing to keep in mind, exiting and returning Canada with a visitor record is not guaranteed to be possible.

For a business meeting you will probably need a visitor visa
For a business meeting you will probably need a visitor visa

Visitor visa or eTA? Which one do you need?

Let’s take a deeper look into visitor visa now. To visit Canada, you need either a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Based on your nationality, the country issuing your passport, and your method of travel to Canada, you might be eligible for an eTA. This page helps you understand if you need a visa, eTA, or neither of them. For example, travelers who transit through Canada via airports and stay under 48 hours in Canada and do not visit Canada do not need a visa or an eTA.

Here is a list of countries that don’t need a visa, and can enter Canada with an eTA. This might be subject to change, check here to make sure you have the most updated data.

AndorraChile Hong KongLiechtensteinPapua New GuineaSolomon Island
AustraliaCroatiaHungary Lithuania Poland Spain 
AustriaCyprus Iceland Luxembourg PortugalSweden 
BahamasCzech RepublicIreland MaltaRomaniaSwitzerland 
BarbadosDenmark IsraelMexico SamoaTaiwan 
Belgium EstoniaItaly MonacoSan MarinoUnited Arab Emirates 
British CitizenFinland Japan NetherlandSingapore United States
Brunei DarussalamFrance  Republic of KoreaNew Zealand SlovakiaVatican City State
eTA eligible countries

To apply for the visitor visa, you need to take the following steps:

  1. Make sure you are eligible and ready the documents you need related to COVID-19
  2. Get your documents for both visa and COVID-19
  3. Apply online through here, or you can apply on paper by sending your documents, which is not recommended. 
  4. Give your biometrics (fingerprints and photos), if you have not given them in the past ten years
  5. Wait for the processing time; it varies depending on your country and your application form
  6. Send your passport if your application is approved
  7. Prepare for your travel

Don’t worry if the process lasts too long. It usually takes from one month to 10 months, and the process costs 100 CAD for submitting the application and 85 CAD to submit the biometrics.

Our last words on Visitor Visa

In this article, you got the gist of Visitor Visa and learned that the first thing you need before moving to Canada is getting a visitor visa, which allows the receiver to stay in Canada for up to six months. Moreover, you learned about eTA Electronic Travel Authorization that it’s your nationality that determines whether you are eligible for an eTA or not. We hope that our article has been interesting enough. 

Get in touch with us if you want to know more about visitor visas. We are happy to help, and we look forward to seeing your comments. You can also read more about Canada’s politicshistoryeconomygeography, and Socio-culture

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