Exploring Canada as a Visitor: Overview of Visitor Visas

Jun 20, 2023

Exploring Canada as a Visitor: A Comprehensive Overview of Visitor Visas

According to Destination Canada, 2019 was the best year for Canadian tourism, with arrivals reaching 22.1 million. Canada Visitor Visa is a mandatory travel document for foreign nationals to gain entry and temporary residence in Canada. The visitor visa to travel to Canada is issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to the visitor who applies for the same while they are still in their home country. The visitors on Visitor Visa are permitted to stay and explore Canada as temporary residents

The Canada Visitor Visa allows foreign nationals to legally enter and explore the country. The Canada visitor Visas are distinguished based on the purpose of the visit, namely – tourism, business, visiting family members and compassionate reasons. There are 50 visa-exempt countries, and citizens from these countries have to apply for Electronic Travel Authorization if they wish to travel to Canada. Upon arriving in Canada, the Border Service Officer determines the duration of stay, which ranges maximum of up to six months. The applicant can apply for even a multiple entry visa, allowing the visa card holder to travel to Canada multiple times, with the duration of each stay being 6 months. The multiple visas will be valid for up to 10 years or till the passport of the visa holder expires. For a Canada visitor visa application, the applicant has to meet the following eligibility criteria:
  1. Valid travel documents: Candidates must have a valid passport or other travel documentation to return home.
  2. Purpose of visit: Visitors must have a good cause to come, such as tourism, visiting family or friends, having business meetings, or attending conferences or events.
  3. Financial ability: Applicants must prove they can afford all fees in Canada including transportation, housing, and daily expenses.
  4. Planned departure from Canada: Applicants must prove they will return to their home country or where they reside following their vacation to Canada. This may indicate that they work, have money, or have relatives in their own nation.
  5. Admissibility: Applicants must have no legal or visa issues to enter Canada.

Before applying for the visa, you have to ensure that you meet the above eligibility criteria. You can fill out the Canada visitor visa application form IMM5257 and all the supporting documents. The Canada visitor visa documents that need to be submitted while filling out the form are as follows:

  1. Valid Passports along with copies of old passports carrying the travel records.
  2. Passport Size Photos
  3. Bank Statement showing the financial status
  4. Travel Itinerary
  5. Certificates of Medical Examination and Police Clearance
  6. Proof of Covid-19 Vaccination
  7. A letter stating the purpose of the visit

This is the general Canada visitor visa checklist you must complete before your Canada Visitor Visa application gets approved. Additionally, the Canada visitor visa checklist contains the ArriveCAN receipt, which will be required after the visitor enters Canada. After uploading the Canada visitor visa documents, the applicant is required to make a fee payment of $ 144.63.

The IRCC estimates 8 weeks for visitor visa processing after biometerics. However, actual processing periods may vary based on the number of applications, the intricacy of the case, and the visa office’s workload.

If you are applying for a visitor visa, keep the following things in mind while you submit your application:
  1. Familiarize yourself with the specific requirements of the Canada visitor visa application form and fill it with accurate and honest information along with the supporting documents and Canada visitor visa fee.
  2. Demonstrate your strong ties to your home country, assuring the visa officer that you have strong reasons to return home after the visa expires.
  3. Show your financial capacity to sustain yourself during your visit, present a detailed itinerary and draft a convincing cover letter that will demonstrate the intent of your trip.
  4. In case of a personal interview, practice answering potential questions relevant to your application.
Follow the tips for a successful application; it will enhance your chances of obtaining a Canada Visitor Visa.  
A visitor visa or Electronic Travel Authorization is a fundamental requirement for Exploring Canada as a visitor. After completing the application process and submitting supporting documents along with biometrics, the IRCC reviews the application. Upon the approval of the IRCC, the applicants secure the Canada Visitor Visa, which permits them to travel to Canada. After entering Canada on Visitor, the visitor can stay for up to 6 months. While the multiple visitor visa allows entry into Canada multiple times, the duration of such stay each time will be limited to 6 months.
Do I need a visitor visa to travel to Canada?
The requirement for a visitor visa to travel to Canada depends on your nationality. Some nations need Electronic Travel Authorization instead of a visitor visa. You can check the official website of Canada or consult with the embassy of Canada to determine your requirements.  
Can I work or study in Canada with a visitor visa?
No, the visitor visas only permit the visa holder to travel and explore Canada.  
What are the restrictions of a visitor Visa in Canada?
Visitors staying on a Visa have to respect the laws of Canada and can not engage in any illegal activities. They are not eligible for government services that are available to citizens of Canada.

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