Even if you aren’t immigrating to Canada, if you plan on going to Canada, a visa will be required in many situations. Though this legal documentation isn’t required for every visitor, understanding when you might need to obtain a visa is essential for ensuring a smooth, hassle-free trip. Here’s what you need to know.
Who Needs a Visa?
Though citizens of most countries must obtain a visa to enter Canada, several do not, including the United States, Mexico, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and all members of the European Union. However, citizens from these countries are still required to obtain Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) documentation if entering the country via air. Only United States citizens are exempt from this requirement — they only need to present a valid passport upon arrival in the country. Visas are typically valid for six months.
As part of obtaining a visa, many individuals may also apply for temporary residency. Common temporary residents include foreign workers, students, and visitors. Applicants will receive a temporary resident visa that indicates how long they are allowed to stay in the country and which activities they are legally able to do. As with standard visas, there are certain exceptions where a student or worker won’t need to obtain an additional permit. Visitors can obtain a renewal 30 days before their permit expires.
Obtaining a Visa
To obtain a visa to gain entry to Canada, applicants must fill out a series of forms and pay an application fee. These forms generally don’t take too long to complete, and cover basic essential details like your nationality, language skills, education and work experience, and income. Those applying for temporary worker status will also need to provide details regarding job offers they have received.
It is worth noting that once the forms have been completed, they should be mailed to a Visa Application Centre located in your home country (along with your payment and any other requested documentation, such as your passport). Most visa applicants are also required to submit a photograph and fingerprints. Depending on where you are applying from, it can take anywhere from two weeks to 45 days to receive your visa — so plan accordingly.
By understanding your documentation needs in advance, you can better prepare for your trip to Canada. By taking appropriate action now, you can avoid legal hassles and ensure that you’ll be able to accomplish all the goals of your trip. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you have trouble understanding certain requirements — it could make all the difference for your travels.