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How to Obtain a Visitors Visa to Canada

Canada welcomes visitors as a tourist, student or temporary worker. Every year, more than 5 million people visit Canada (on visitor visa) to enjoy the many opportunities this country has to offer.

Depending on where you live, and the reason for your visit, you will need to meet certain entry requirements. In some cases, if you are planning to stay in Canada for a certain period of time, you will need a Temporary Resident Visa which is also know as the Visitor Visa.

Visiting Canada - Who Can Apply

If you plan to visit Canada, you must:

  • Have a valid travel document, such as a passport;
  • Be in good health;
  • Have enough money for your stay. The amount of money you will need can vary with the circumstances of the visit, how long you will stay and whether you will stay in a hotel or with friends or relatives.
  • Convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit.
  • Convince an immigration officer that you have ties, such as a job, home and family, that will take you back to your country of origin;

You may also need:

  • A Temporary Resident Visa, depending on your citizenship;
  • A medical examination; and
  • A letter of invitation from someone who lives in Canada.

Visiting Canada - How to Apply

If you want to visit Canada, you may need a visa. Canada requires citizens from some countries and territories to get a visa before they can enter Canada. Before you plan your visit, you should find out if you need a visa?

If you do need a visa your next step would be to obtain a temporary resident visa application kit. You can download the application kit online or you can also ask for an application to be mailed to you:

  • Outside Canada, you can contact the Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate responsible for your area.

You will need to include the following documents with your application:

  • A valid travel document (such as a passport) for each family member on the application;
  • Two recent passport photos of each family member.
  • The application fee and the IMM 5401 receipt. Your fee will not be refunded, even if your application is not accepted.
  • Proof that you have enough money for your visit to Canada. The amount of money may vary, depending on the circumstances for your visit, how long you will stay and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives.
  • You may need to include other documents. These documents could be identification cards, proof of employment, a letter of invitation from relatives or friends in Canada, or a proposed itinerary.

Visiting Canada - After Applying

Most applications for Temporary Resident Visas are processed within a month or less. Processing times vary depending on the visa office.

After you send your application, it will be reviewed at the visa office to ensure it has been completed correctly and that it contains all of the required documents. A visa officer will decide if an interview with you is necessary. If an interview is required, you will be notified of the time and place.

If your application is refused, your passport and other documents will be returned to you. You will also receive an explanation why your application was refused. If you sent fraudulent documents, they will not be returned.

If your application is approved, your passport and documents will be returned to you with your visa.

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