Except for Canadian citizens and permanent residents, all other individuals require permission to enter Canada as a visitor, with or without a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).
Canada welcomes more than 35 million temporary residents (non-immigrants) each year.
Unless they are citizens of a visa-exempt country, individuals who wish to enter Canada for a temporary purpose, such as tourists, temporary foreign workers (individuals with work permits) and international students (individuals on study permits) must apply for and be granted a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).
The TRV is a document issued by a Canadian Immigration Visa Office outside Canada, showing that the holder has satisfied the requirements for admission to Canada as a visitor. Temporary Resident Visas may be for single entry or multiple entry.
As a general rule, tourists are admitted for a period of six months. Temporary foreign workers and international students are admitted for varying periods of time, as determined on a case-by-case basis. Extensions may be applied for within Canada.
It is important to note that possession of a valid Temporary Resident Visa does not necessarily mean that the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Officer at the Canadian Port of Entry will admit the visitor into Canada. At the Port of Entry, all visitors must demonstrate that the purpose of their visit to Canada is of a temporary nature. Officers at the Port of Entry will deny admission to all persons who, in their opinion, do not intend to leave Canada at the expiry of their visitor status.
Criminality and medical issues may prevent a visitor from entering Canada. Visitors to Canada must also be able to prove their ability to support themselves during their intended temporary stay in Canada. As of March 15, 2016. citizens of visa-exempt countries are required to gain electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before entering Canada, if entering by air travel. Read our Electronic Travel Assistance FAQ page to learn more.
TRV exemptions and Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
Citizens of certain countries are exempt from the requirement to obtain a TRV. For these individuals, the government of Canada has introduced what is known as electronic travel authorization (eTA), a pre-screening system that is scheduled to come into full operation on March 15, 2016. Individuals have been able to apply for the eTA since August 1, 2015, and the eTA will be required for visa-exempt travel on and after March 15, 2016. Until this time, visa-exempt foreign nationals seeking entry to Canada have not been systematically screened for admissibility until they arrive at a Canadian port of entry.
The Canadian pre-approval system will only be required for TRV-exempt individuals seeking to enter Canada by air to visit on a temporary basis. Click here to read a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions and answers.
A fee of CAD $7.00 will be required for processing. Electronic travel authorization will be valid for a period of five years from the day on which it is issued to the applicant or until the earliest of the following days, if they occur before the end of that period:
- the day on which the applicant’s passport or other travel document expires,
- the day on which the electronic travel authorization is cancelled, or
- the day on which a new electronic travel authorization is issued to the applicant.
The eTA will include the applicant’s name, date and place of birth, gender, address, nationality, and passport and/or travel document information. If the applicant is unable to make the application by means of the electronic system because of a physical or mental disability, it may be made by another means, including a paper application form.
A number of exemptions from the requirement to obtain pre-approval to travel will be in place, including:
- nationals of the United States,
- individuals already in possession of a Canadian temporary resident visa,
- certain foreign diplomats,
- commercial air crew,
- citizens of France who are residents of St. Pierre and Miquelon,
- individuals in possession of a visa to enter the United States on a flight bound for that country in transit through Canada, where the sole purpose of the flight stopping in Canada is for purpose of refuelling,
- individuals transiting through Canada as a passenger on a flight who are in possession of any visa required to enter the country of destination;
- individuals carrying out official duties as a member of the armed forces of a country that is a designated state for the purposes of the Visiting Forces Act,
- study or work permit holders re-entering Canada following a visit solely to the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon, and
- Her Majesty in right of Canada and any member of the Royal Family.