Canada tourist visa application, requirements, price, and processing time

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Welcome to Canada, the land of natural beauty, friendly locals, and endless opportunities for adventure. If you're planning a trip to Canada, you'll likely need a tourist visa, which is a document that allows you to enter the country for a temporary stay.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of applying for a Canada tourist visa, including eligibility requirements, documents needed, and tips for a successful application.

Canada Tourist Visa - An Overview

A Canada tourist visa, also known as a temporary resident visa (TRV), is a document that allows you to visit Canada for tourism, to visit friends or family, or for other short-term stays. This travel document is not the same as permanent residency, which allows you to live and work in Canada permanently. Instead, a visitor visa is granted for a specific period of time, typically 6 months or less, and you'll need to leave Canada before your visa expires.

Who Needs A Canada Tourist Visa?

Not everyone needs a Canada tourist visa to visit Canada. If you're a citizen of a visa-exempt country, you can visit Canada without a visa for a stay of up to 6 months. Moreover, the Canadian government has also started the visa waiver program, allowing foreign nationals to apply online for an ETA - electronic travel authorization - for tourism purposes.

However, if you're not a citizen of a visa-exempt country, you'll need to apply for a Canadian visa before you can visit Canada. You can check if you need a tourist visa by using VisaHQ's wizard tool.

Eligibility Requirements For A Canada Tourist Visa

To be eligible for a Canada tourist visa, you'll need to meet certain requirements, including:

  • Having a valid passport from your country of citizenship

  • Not posing any danger to Canadian citizens

  • Having no criminal record

  • Having enough money to support yourself during your stay in Canada

  • Having a good reason for wanting to visit Canada, such as tourism, visiting friends or family, or other legitimate purposes

  • Having the plan to leave Canada before your visa expires

In addition to these general requirements, you may also need to meet specific requirements based on your country of citizenship or the purpose of your visit. For example, you may need to provide additional documents, such as a letter of invitation from a friend or family member in Canada or proof of your financial resources.

Canada Tourist Visa Requirements

To apply for a Canada tourist visa, you'll need to gather a number of documents, including:

  • A completed visa application form (available at VisaHQ)

  • A valid passport with at least one blank page

  • Two passport-sized photos of yourself

  • Proof of your financial resources, such as bank statements or a letter from your employer

  • A letter of invitation from a friend or family member in Canada, if applicable

Any other documents required based on the purpose of your visits, such as proof of your relationship with your friend or family member in Canada or a letter of support from your employer.

Canada Tourist Visa Application Process

To make the visa application process streamlined, the Canadian government now allows foreign nationals to apply for a travel document online. To do so, all you need to do is visit VisaHQ and follow the following steps:

  1. Select your citizenship and travel destination

  2. Gather all the necessary documents

  3. Pay the application fee (embassy fee & service fee)

  4. Submit your application online

Afterward, applicants need to wait for a decision on their application. Processing times vary, but you can check the status of your application online using your application number.

If your application is approved, you'll receive your Canada tourist visa, which you'll need to present to immigration officials when you arrive in Canada.

Note that you may be required to attend an interview at a visa office as part of the application process. It's important to follow the instructions provided by the visa office and arrive on time for your visa interview.

Tips For A Successful Canada Tourist Visa Application

To increase your chances of having your Canada tourist visa application approved, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you meet all the eligibility requirements for a tourist visa

  • Gather all the necessary documents before you begin the application process

  • Double-check that your application form is complete and accurate

  • Be honest in your application and provide accurate information about your plans for your visit to Canada

  • Provide evidence of your ties to your home country, such as a job, property, or family, to show that you have a reason to return home after your trip to Canada

It's noteworthy to mention here that a nonimmigrant visa does not guarantee your entry; the final decision will be made by the immigration officer. So, make sure to fulfill all of the Canadian entry requirements while traveling to the country!

Visa Policy of Canada

The visa policy of Canada is regulated by a few charters encoded in different documents, such as the Canadian Citizenship Act of 1946 and the Reformed Act of 1981. This policy clearly defines who a Canadian citizen is. Also, it states that any foreign national who wishes to enter the country must do so with a temporary resident visa issued by a Canadian Diplomatic mission abroad. However, visitors from 54 visa-exempt countries on the list or with proof of a United States permanent residency do not have to hold visas to enter Canada.

Persons that are not Canadian citizens are not issued Canadian passports, and the eligibility requirements to hold a passport are stated in the Passport Order (1981). The IRCC does the regulation of passport issuance. Exempt travelers, excluding US citizens and permanent residents, must acquire an Electronic Travel Authorization permit, otherwise known as ETA. 

This permit is solely for those arriving by air, which has been the standard practice since 2016.

The Canadian Citizenship Act allows such visitors to apply for the ETA online instead of visiting the Canadian embassy in their country. Such applicants will be required to provide biometrics (fingerprints and photographs) during the process and a host of other documents to complete the application process.

Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization Eligibility

For a clear understanding of whether you qualify for an ETA or not, take a quick look at the eligibility guidelines.

  • You must be from a visa-exempt country or a US citizen or permanent resident flying to or transiting through a Canadian Airport
  • You must be up to 18 years and above to apply, but if you are below 18, a guardian or parent must apply on your behalf
  • You must have sufficient funds to cover your stay in the country
  • You must have a clean criminal record with no prior convictions for crimes
  • You need a valid passport issued by your home government
  • You must have a clean health bill and not suffer from any terminal or dangerous health problem that will make you seek medical treatment in Canada that you cannot afford. (If you are seeking medical treatment in Canada, you must show proof that you can cover the cost)
  • You must have every intention of returning to your country at the end of the trip due to your strong ties with your home country.
  • You must not have any plan to work or study in Canada

Now that you know the eligibility criteria for the Electronic Travel Authorization of Canada, let us review the different types you may apply for.

Canada Visa Free Countries

Only travelers from visa-free countries are eligible for ETA. The list is constantly updated and citizens from  these countries can enter Canada by air and stay for up to six months. Note that US and French citizens residing in Saint Pierre & Miquelon coming directly from these locations don’t need ETA.

Canada Port of Entry

The Electronic Travel Authorization can only be used to enter Canada by air, and here are the approved airports for travelers.

  • Calgary International Airport 
  • Edmonton International Airport 
  • Regina International Airport 
  • Gander International Airport
  • Greater Moncton Romeo Leblanc International Airport 
  • Halifax Stanfield International Airport 
  • John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport 
  • London International Airport 
  • Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport 
  • Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport
  • Quebec/Jean Lesage International Airport 
  • Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport
  • St. John International Airport 
  • Toronto Pearson International Airport 
  • Vancouver International Airport 
  • Victoria International Airport 
  • Winnipeg International Airport 

ETA travelers can enter Canada through any of these 17 airports.

Key Information About Canada ETA

It Is Linked To Your Passport: The first thing you should know is that your ETA is linked to your passport. This means that you cannot travel with a different passport; if you do, you will not be allowed into Canada.  Once you arrive at the airport, the immigration officers will scan your passport to generate the ETA; if nothing comes up you will not be allowed into the country.

Only For Short Visits: Another thing to take note of is that this travel document is only for short visits and not for long term visits. This means that you cannot use it as a permanent or temporary residency visa. eTA holders are not entitled to a residency permit. 

You Can't Work: Holders of Canadian ETA are not allowed to work during their time in the country. As a matter of fact, it is Illegal to do so on an ETA. Only foreigners with work permits are allowed to legally work in Canada.

Canada Visa Online – Get your Canada ETA with VisaHQ

If you wish to visit Canada in the coming weeks or months and are from a visa-exempt country, you will still need a travel permit to enter the country.

How to obtain an ETA with VisaHQ?

To obtain electronic travel authorization with VisaHQ, you must visit our portal to complete the application form in the following steps.

Fill Out the Application Form: Fill out the application form online using VisaHQ and select the ETA you want.

Attach Documents: Attach all required documents in soft copies by uploading them and submit. After submission, you will receive a confirmation email in your inbox.

Get Your ETA: Within three days or less, you will get your ETA in your email inbox.

Our application process is very easy and can be done with your smartphone or computer. So please go to our website now to complete the form or contact our customer representatives for technical support.

Why Use VisaHQ?

You should use VisaHQ to apply for your Canada ETA for your upcoming trips if you are from a visa-exempt country.

  • We are an experienced outfit that has been in business since 2003
  • We are spread across the globe with 20 offices in 6 countries to cater to the needs of our clientele
  • Our professional support service is tailored to meet your needs and is always on time
  • Our application process is very easy to understand and complete
  • No need to handle physical documents as everything is done online
  • Our team is experienced, so there is no room for errors
  • You can track the status of your application

Applying for your travel documents with VisaHQ is a worthwhile experience. Ours is a platform you can trust, so submit your ETA application now, or contact us for extra support if required.


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