Canada is home to millions of visitors each year. In fact, more than 35 million people visit Canada every year to enjoy the many opportunities our country has to offer, including visiting family and friends. If you wish to come to Canada for a temporary purpose like a vacation, or to visit family or friends, you may need a Temporary Resident Visa, unless you are a citizen from a “visa exempt” country like the USA or Australia.

 Canadian Visitor Visas allow those foreign nationals to visit Canada with the freedom to reunite with friends, family, or even just explore a new country.

Visitor Visa or Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)

A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), also referred to as a visitor visa or Canada Tourist visa, is an official document issued by a Canadian visa office that is placed in your passport to show that you have met the requirements for admission to Canada as a temporary resident (either as a visitor, a student, or a worker).

Types of Visas

There are two types of Canadian visitor visas: 

  • Single entry visas – A single entry visa allows foreign nationals to enter Canada for one-time only.
  • Multiple entry visas- A multiple entry visa allows holders to enter and leave Canada as often as they want as long as the visa is valid. Multiple entry visitor visas permit the holder to travel to Canada for six months at a time as many times as they want, as long as the visa remains valid. They can be valid for up to 10 years, but the exact validity period is at the discretion of the visa officer issuing it.
  • NOTE: You cannot choose which kind of Visa to apply for; all applicants are automatically considered for multiple entry visas upon application. A person is issued a single entry visa only under unique circumstances, at the discretion of the Visa officer.

For Students and Temporary Workers- If you have some other status document, such as a study permit or a work permit, and are not otherwise visa-exempt, you will automatically be issued a visitor visa allowing you to enter Canada to receive your permit. Usually, this is a multiple entry visa. If you choose to temporarily leave Canada during the course of your studies or temporary work, you will not need to apply for a new visitor visa to re-enter Canada as long as your permit and visa are both still valid.

Who can apply?

Visitors are persons who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, and are legally authorized to enter Canada to visit Canada on holiday (vacation), visit family, conduct business, etc. Visitors are restricted in length of stay and subject to various conditions.

Visa-Exempt Countries

Canada has agreements with several countries that exempt citizens of those nations from requiring a visa to visit Canada for a period of up to six months. If foreign nationals from visa-exempt countries wish to visit Canada by air, they require a valid electronic travel authorization (eTA). If they choose to visit by land or by sea, they only require their valid passport issued by a visa-exempt country. The only exception is citizens of the United States. U.S. citizens are able to travel to Canada on a valid U.S. passport, and do not require a visitor visa or eTA, provided they are not staying for a period longer than six months. U.S. permanent residents, or Green Card holders, are visa-exempt regardless of their country of citizenship. They require an eTA to fly to or transit through a Canadian airport, and must present a valid Green Card and a valid passport to enter Canada.  


There are a number of basic requirements for a Canadian visitor visa. These requirements include:

  • have a valid travel document (passport)
  • be in good health
  • have no criminal or immigration-related convictions
  • prove that you have ties such as a job, home, financial assets or family that prove you will be returning to your home country
  • prove that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit
  • have enough money for your stay which depends  where and how long you stay

You may also need a:

  • Letter of invitation from someone who lives in Canada.
  • A Bank Statement to prove access to sufficient funds
  • A hotel booking if you claim that you are coming as a tourist

Apply Today with our Expert Immigration Team

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • 1. How long can I stay in Canada as a visitor?

    Most visitors can stay for up to 6 months in Canada. If you’re allowed to enter Canada, the border services officer may allow you to stay for less or more than 6 months. If so, they’ll put the date you need to leave in your passport. They might also give you a document. If you don’t get a stamp in your passport, you can stay for 6 months from the day you entered Canada or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. If you need a stamp, you can ask a border services officer for one. If you arrive at an airport that uses primary inspection kiosks, ask the border services officer after you finish at the kiosk. If you want to stay longer than your authorized stay, you should apply for an extension at least 30 days before the authorized end of your stay.

  • 2. Do I need to apply for both a visitor visa and an eTA?

    No. If you plan to travel to Canada, you need a valid visitor visa OR a valid eTA. The one you need depends on:

    • the type of travel document you will travel with;
    • the country that issued your travel document;
    • your nationality; and
    • how you will travel to Canada.
    If you already have a valid Canadian visitor visa you don’t need to apply for an eTA – even if you’re eligible for an eTA. You can travel with your visa until it expires. If you apply for an initial work or study permit before you travel to Canada, you’ll get a visa or an eTA automatically once your work or study permit application is approved. You don’t need to apply for a visa or an eTA, or pay extra fees. If IRCC issues you a visa, they’ll stick it in your passport. If IRCC issues you an eTA, your eTA number will be included in the letter of introduction we will send you when your study or work permit is approved.

  • 3. My application for a permanent resident visa is currently being processed at the Embassy. Can I go to Canada as a tourist and wait for my visa there?

    You may travel to Canada as a tourist before you get your permanent resident visa. However, we strongly advise against making any definitive arrangements for your stay in Canada until you have received your permanent resident visa. You will need to apply for a visitor visa to travel to Canada as a tourist. Please note that having a valid visitor visa does not guarantee your entry into Canada. A border services officer will decide if you can enter Canada and how long you can stay.

  • 4. I hold a diplomatic or special/service passport. Do I need a visitor visa?

    Holders of diplomatic, official and service passports from visa-required countries do need a visa to visit Canada. However, they may be exempt from paying the processing fee if they are travelling on official business.

  • 5. Why was I issued a single entry visa instead of a multiple entry visa?

    All applicants who are eligible for a multiple entry visa will be issued one. However, not all applicants will be eligible for a multiple entry visa. This remains at the discretion of a visa officer. A single entry visa may be issued in cases where, for example:

    • An applicant is eligible for a fee-exemption and where the purpose of entry to Canada is limited (e.g., for an official visit by a foreign national);
    • An applicant is participating in a one-time special event in Canada (e.g., Pan-American Games); and/or
    • Country-specific procedures or guidelines are in place and approved by IRCC.

  • 6. Do I need a visa if I’m just travelling through Canada on my way to another country?

    The document you need to transit through Canada depends on a few factors, including if you plan to visit Canada. Visa-required travelers- You’re considered a visa-required traveller if you’re from a visa-required country. You need a visitor visa if:

    • you visit Canada (even if you’re travelling by air and it’s for less than 48 hours)
    • stay in Canada more than 48 hours while transiting, or
    • you’re crossing the border by bus, car, train, boat or cruise ship
    You need a transit visa if:
    • your international flight stops at a Canadian airport on its way to another country
    • you’ll be connecting between 2 international flights at a Canadian airport
    • you’ll transit through Canada in 48 hours or less, and
    • you don’t have a valid visitor visa
    Visa-exempt travellers- You’re considered a visa-exempt traveller if you’re from an eTA-required country. You need an eTA to transit through Canada by air if you’re from an eTA-required country. You don’t need an eTA if you’re transiting through Canada and you enter by train, bus, boat or cruise ship. You do need to bring the right travel documents.

  • 7. If I get sick or have an accident while visiting Canada, will the Government of Canada pay for my medical treatment?

    Canada does not pay for hospital or medical services for visitors. You should get health insurance to cover any medical costs before you come to Canada.

  • 8. How can I extend my stay as a visitor?

    If you want to extend your stay in Canada, you should apply at least 30 days before your status expires. Study and work permit holders- If your visitor visa expired and you need to leave and return to Canada, you need to apply for a new visitor visa (not a visitor record).

  • 9. Can I change my status to visitor if I need more time to extend my study or work permit?

    You can apply to change your status to visitor, but once your current study or work permit expires, you won’t be able to apply for a new study or work permit from within Canada. This means it won’t give you more time to extend your study or work permit. Most visitors aren’t eligible to apply for a study or work permit from within Canada. If you change your status to visitor, you may have to leave Canada to apply for a new study or work permit. Because of this, we strongly recommend you don’t change your status to visitor if you need more time to apply for your permit. Make sure you know when your current permit expires and apply at least 30 days before it does.

  • 10. Does a business visitor need a special visa to enter Canada?

    No, business visitors who need a visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) must complete the visitor visa or eTA form. The eTA and visitor visa cover all visitors, including those coming to Canada on business.

  • 11. If I am a business visitor, do I need a work permit to work in Canada?

    You do not need a work permit to carry out business activities related to your job back home, such as meeting clients of your company or visiting job sites. However, if you plan to carry out secretarial, managerial, technical or production activities or stay longer than six months in Canada, you have to apply for a work permit. In both cases, if you are from a country that requires a visa to visit Canada, you must apply for a temporary resident visa.

  • 12. I got a multiple-entry temporary resident visa to visit a relative in Canada last year. Can I use it to travel to Canada on a business trip?

    Yes, as long as it has not expired. Make sure you have documents that support your business visit to Canada.

  • 13. Do I need a medical exam to get a visa?

    If the duration of your visit is six months or less: Generally, no medical examination is required. However, a medical examination is required if you intend to work in an occupation in which the protection of public health is essential. Please see Jobs for which you need a medical examination for more information. If the duration of your visit is more than six months: You will need a medical examination if:

    • you have resided or stayed temporarily for six or more consecutive months in a designated country or territory in the one year immediately preceding the date you sought entry into Canada. This applies even if you are a citizen of a country where you do not require a visa to enter Canada.
    • you are coming to Canada to work in an occupation in which the protection of public health is essential.
    • you are applying for a Parent and Grandparent Super Visa.