Visiting Canada

Find out what you need to visit Canada as a tourist or business person, how to extend your stay in Canada and what documents you need to carry with you to transit through Canada.

British citizens

Carry proper travel documents and identification

You must also make sure that you:

* Carry proper travel documents and identification for yourself and any children travelling with you.
* Demonstrate to an immigration officer that you satisfy all other requirements to enter Canada. If you do not meet all the requirements, you may not be allowed to enter.

Visit as a tourist

Most travellers need a valid entry document such as an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visa to visit Canada. This will depend on your citizenship or your situation.

Basic requirements

To visit Canada, you will need to meet some basic requirements, such as:

* have a valid travel document, such as a passport,
* be in good health,
* have no criminal or immigration-related convictions,
* convince an immigration officer that you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take you back to your home country,
* convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit, and
* have enough money for your stay. (The amount of money you will need can vary. It depends on things such as how long you will stay, and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives.)

You may also need a:

* medical exam and
* letter of invitation from someone who lives in Canada.

Entry documents

In addition to the basic requirements, most visitors need a valid entry document. Find out if you need an eTA or a visa.

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

As of March 15, 2016, travellers with passports from eTA-required countries who enter Canada by air will need an eTA.

The authorization is electronically linked to your passport and is valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

Applying for an eTA is a simple and inexpensive ($7 Canadian) online process that will take just a few minutes. Most eTA-eligible applicants will get their authorization within minutes of submitting the online form.

If you need an eTA, you should:

get it when you plan your trip – do not wait for the last minute to apply (see Travel documents), and
travel to Canada with the passport you used to get your eTA.

Visitor visa

Travellers with passports from visa-required countries and territories need a visitor visa (temporary resident visa) to enter Canada.

A visa is an official document that is inserted inside a passport giving permission for you to come to Canada.

Conditions of a visa

There are two types: a single-entry visa and a multiple-entry visa. Both are valid for a fixed period and cannot be used after they expire.

A multiple-entry visa allows visitors to come and go from Canada, usually for six months at a time, without having to reapply. It is valid for up to 10 years, or one month before your passport expires, whichever comes first. You must arrive in Canada on or before the expiry date on your visa.

A single-entry visa allows you to come to Canada only once. After you leave Canada, excluding travel to the United States and St. Pierre and Miquelon, you will need a new visa to travel back to Canada.

Travel documents

When travelling to Canada, you always need to carry proper travel documents and identification for yourself and any children travelling with you.

Transport companies, such as airlines, must make sure you have proper, valid travel documents. If you do not have the proper documents, you may be delayed or unable to board the plane.

The following travel documents are not considered reliable. You cannot use them to enter Canada:

* passports supposedly issued by Somalia,
* non-machine readable passports issued by the Czech Republic,
* temporary passports issued by the Republic of South Africa and
* provisional passports issued by Venezuela.

Permanent residents of Canada

If you are a permanent resident of Canada you must show your permanent resident card when you re-enter Canada on a commercial vehicle, such as an airplane, boat, train or bus. If you return to Canada in a private vehicle, such as your car, there are other documents you can use.

If you plan to leave Canada, check your card’s expiry date to make sure that it will still be valid when you return. Most cards are valid for five years.

Canada’s entry requirements are changing

Starting March 15, 2016, if you are a permanent resident of Canada and a citizen of a visa-exempt country, you will need to travel with your Canadian permanent resident (PR) card or permanent resident travel document when flying to Canada. Otherwise, you may not be able to board your flight to Canada. Permanent residents who are citizens of visa-required countries will continue to need to show their PR card when boarding a flight to Canada.

Inadmissibility

Some people are inadmissible—they are not allowed to come to Canada. Several things can make you inadmissible, including involvement in criminal activity, in human rights violations or in organized crime.

You can also be inadmissible for security, health or financial reasons.

Apply for a tourism visa

Starting March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid visa.

Before you plan your visit, you should find out what entry documents you need to enter Canada. If you do not need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visitor visa, you will still need to meet specific requirements.

Apply for an eTA

Starting March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid visa.

To apply, you must have a valid credit card and your passport information.

Apply for a visitor visa

You can apply online or on paper. If you need help, you can contact your nearest visa application centre (VAC).

If you need to give biometrics (fingerprints and photograph), and you are applying on paper, please do not mail in your application. Submit your application in person. VAC staff will check that your application is complete and will confirm that you have paid the correct fees before you can give your biometrics.

Apply online for a visitor visa

To apply online you must have access to a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents for uploading and have a valid credit card for payment.

Note: If you provide an email address on your application, please ensure you check it regularly for automated emails from CIC regarding your case. Some spam filters block these emails, and clients are requested to ensure emails from CIC are not blocked. If you are unsure whether emails from CIC are being sent, please check your myCIC account on a regular basis.

Visit on business

You are a business visitor if you plan to visit Canada temporarily to:

* look for ways to grow your business,
* invest or
* advance your business relationships.

If you are a business visitor, you may need to apply for an eTA or a visa to come to Canada.

If you need an eTA, you should:

* get it when you plan your trip – do not wait for the last minute to apply, and
* travel to Canada with the passport you used to get your eTA.

If you need a visitor visa, you must send certain documents with your application:

* a letter of invitation from your potential business partner in Canada; and
* 24-hour contact details for that person.

You may also need identification cards or proof that you have a job.

As a business visitor, you must show that:

* you plan to stay for less than six months,
* you do not plan to enter the Canadian labour market,
* your main place of business, and source of income and profits, is outside Canada,
* you have documents that support your application and
* you meet Canada’s basic entry requirements, because you
* have a valid travel document, such as a passport,
* have enough money for your stay and to return home,
* plan to leave Canada at the end of your visit and
* are not a criminal, security or health risk to Canadians.

Cross-border business can include:

* buying Canadian goods or services for a foreign business or government,
* taking orders for goods or services,
* going to meetings, conferences, conventions or trade fairs,
* giving after-sales service (managing, not doing hands-on labour),
* being trained by a Canadian parent company that you work for outside Canada,
* training employees of a Canadian branch of a foreign company or
* being trained by a Canadian company that has sold you equipment or services.

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, a U.S. or Mexican national may also take part in other activities, such as research, marketing and general services. For more information, see the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada website.

If you plan to stay longer than six months or plan to work in Canada, you may be considered a temporary worker and have to apply for a work permit.

Visitor visa application

Most applications for visitor visas (temporary resident visas) are processed in a few weeks or less. Processing times depend on the visa office.

How your visa application is processed

After you send your application, the visa office will review it to make sure it is complete and it has all the documents needed. If your application is incomplete, it will not be processed and it will be returned to you.

If your application is complete, the visa office may ask you for the following:

Medical exam

You may need a medical exam to be allowed to enter Canada. If you do, the visa office will send you instructions.

If you need a medical exam, it might take longer to process your application, because you will need time to set up and go to an appointment, and the doctor will need time to send Citizenship and Immigration Canada the results.

Police certificate

You may be asked to provide a police certificate for yourself and any family member 18 years of age or over who will come to Canada with you. The visa office will contact you if that is needed.

Interview

If a visa officer decides that an interview is necessary, the visa office will contact you to tell you the time and place. Most decisions are taken without an interview.

Return of your documents

After the visa officer has assessed your application, your passport and other original documents will be returned to you.

Please note that original bank statements are not returned.

If you sent fraudulent documents, they will not be returned.

If your application is approved

The visa will be stamped inside your passport.

If your application is refused

If your application is refused, you will receive an explanation why your application was refused.

Change of address

If you move or change your address, telephone number or any other contact information after you apply, you must tell the Canadian visa office that serves the country or region where you live.

After you receive a visa

A valid visitor visa and travel document does not guarantee that you can enter Canada. A border services officer may find that you are no longer admissible because:

* your case has changed, or
* there is new information about you. For instance, you gave false or incomplete information on your visa application.

Prepare for arrival – Visit on business

When you arrive in Canada, a border services officer will greet you. The officer works for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The CBSA protects Canada’s borders and points of entry.

The officer will ask to see your passport or travel documents. If you applied for a parent and grandparent super visa, you will have other documents to give to the officer. Make sure that you have them with you and that they are not packed in your luggage. This will speed up your entry into Canada.

Even if you do not need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visa to enter Canada, the officer will ask you a few questions. The officer will make sure that you meet the requirements to enter Canada.

You will not be allowed into Canada if you give false or incomplete information. You must convince the officer that you are eligible for entry into Canada. You will also have to convince the officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your approved stay.

Children under 18 must travel with appropriate documents and meet the same entry requirements as adults. The border services officer may ask minor children to present other documents depending on whether the child is travelling alone or with someone. Find out about the specific requirements for minor children.

The officer will stamp your passport or let you know how long you can stay in Canada. The period is usually six months. In some cases, the officer may limit or extend this period to cover the planned purpose of your visit. Ask questions if you are not sure about anything.

If you do not obey the conditions of your eTA or visa, we will ask you to leave Canada. Most people asked to leave Canada have the right to a fair hearing to review the decision.

Working or going to school in Canada

Most visitors to Canada cannot work or study in Canada without a permit.

Extend your stay in Canada as a visitor

If you want to extend your stay in Canada, you must apply to do so. Check your temporary resident status to make sure you apply before the expiry date. This will be on your study or work permit, the stamp in your passport or, if you do not have a stamp in your passport, 6 months from the day you entered Canada. You should apply 30 days before your status expires to:

* extend your visitor, student or work status,
* change your permit type (for example, from a study permit to a work permit) or
* change your permit condition(s) (for example, if you are studying and you want to change schools, or if you are working and you want to change jobs).

Implied status

If you apply to extend your permit, and your visitor visa expires while you are waiting for a decision, you still have temporary resident (visitor) status. This is known as implied status.

Working or studying in Canada

Most visitors to Canada cannot work or study in Canada without a permit.

If you are visiting Canada and you want to work or study, you have a few options if you still have legal status in Canada.

Biometrics Collection

You may need to give your biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) when applying for a visitor visa, study permit or work permit. Find out if you need to give your biometrics.

If you need to give your biometrics with your Temporary Resident Visa, Work Permit, or Study Permit application, you have to go in person to the Visa Application Centre (VAC). DO NOT submit your application by mail. The VAC will collect your biometrics at the same time you submit your application.

Getting a visitor visa from within Canada

If you are currently a temporary resident in Canada with a valid status (i.e. study or work permit), you can apply for a new visitor visa to return to Canada before you leave.