Visitor Visa

In most cases, visitors of Canada are required to have a valid passport and visitor’s visa. In addition, visitors must also assure an immigration officer that the visitor:

  • Will eventually return to their country of residence;
  • Are in good health (visitors may be obligated to submit to medical examination at their own expense);
  • Do not have a criminal record and do not present a security risk to Canada;
  • Have the necessary financial resources to supplement travel costs and other expenses

Those who do not comply with the above conditions may be denied entry into Canada.

Typically visitors are granted 6 months to stay in Canada, however, visitors may apply for a visitor extension should they wish to stay for a longer duration of time. Generally, visitors are not permitted to work or study in Canada without proper authorization and documentation.

Provincial health coverage will not be granted to visitors during their stay. Therefore, it is recommended that the visitor receives medical insurance prior to arrival.

  • Visa-exempt Visitors
  • Business Visitors
  • Visiting Relatives
  • Extending Your Stay

Visa-Exempt Visitors

There are a number of individuals who do not require a visa to enter Canada. They include:

  • Citizens of: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brunei, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel (National Passport holders only), Italy, Japan, Korea (Republic of), Latvia (Republic of), Lithuania*, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland*, Portugal, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Slovenia, Switzerland, United States, and Western Samoa (As of January 1, 2009, citizens of Poland and Lithuania will be required to obtain an e-passport in order to travel to Canada without a temporary resident visa)
  • Persons who were legally admitted into the United Sates for permanent residency and have their green card OR can provide other evidence of permanent residency;
  • British citizens and British Overseas Citizens who are re-admissible to the United Kingdom;
  • Citizens of British dependent territories who received citizenship through birth, descent, registration or naturalization in one of the British dependent territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena or the Turks and Caicos Islands;
  • Persons with a British National (Overseas) Passport issued by the Government of the United Kingdom to persons born, naturalized or registered in Hong Kong;
  • Persons holding a valid and subsisting Special Administrative Region passport issued by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China;
  • Persons holding passports or travel documents issued by the Holy See.

Business visitors

Business visitors refer to individuals who intend to visit Canada for a short time with the purpose of seeking new business opportunities, invest or further develop current business relationships. Residents of countries that require a visa to visit Canada must apply for a temporary resident visa. There is no additional or separate application form given to business visitors due to the fact that the temporary resident visa may be granted to all visitors to Canada.

Business visitors typically stay in Canada for a short duration of time from a few days to a few weeks. In order to be eligible to apply as a business visitor, applicants must demonstrate that:

  • They intend to say for less than 6 months and that they are not entering Canada to work;
  • The visitor’s main source of income is made outside of Canada;
  • Profits from the visitor’s profession must be accrued outside of Canada;
  • Documents that supplement the application;
  • They meet all pre-entry requirements into Canada including: Having a valid travel document (i.e. passport); Having access to enough finances to support the stay and return home; Intend to leave Canada once the visit has ended; Posing no criminal, security or health risks to Canada and its citizens.

The following are examples of permitted cross border business activities:

  • Purchasing Canadian goods or service for a the purpose of supplementing a foreign business or government;
  • Taking orders for goods or services;
  • Participating in meetings, conferences, conventions or trade fairs;
  • Providing after-sales service (for supervision rather than hands-on labour);
  • Receiving training from a Canadian parent company of one you are currently employed in outside of Canada;
  • Training employees of a Canadian subsidized fir or foreign company;
  • Receiving training from a Canadian company that has sold you tools or services…

It is stated under the North American Free Trade Agreement that citizens of the United States or Mexico are permitted to participate in other cross border activities (i.e. research, marketing and general service).

Those who are required to obtain a temporary resident visa as a business visitor will be required to provide:

  • A letter of invitation provided by the potential business partner in Canada;
  • Contact details for which the potential business partner can be reached at any time of the day

Applicants may also be required to provide identification cards or proof of employment.

Visiting Relatives

All visitors of Canada must apply for a visa prior to entering the country. If you are a Canadian citizen who has a friend or relative coming to visit you in Canada, he or she may be required to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa. If that is the case, you may be obligated to write your visitor a letter of invitation on the condition that you are a legal resident of Canada. A letter of invitation may not necessary guarantee a visitor entry into Canada or receipt of a Canadian visa. However, a clear and concise letter will help create a smoother Temporary Resident Visa application process.

Please be sure to include details of the way in which you will be supporting your visitor to Canada such as through purchasing plane tickets or providing accommodation.

Extending your stay or Changing your status after coming to Canada as a visitor

Once you have successfully entered Canada, it is possible in some cases to apply for an extension past the standard 6 months granted at the beginning of the visit and/or change the conditions of your stay. Please ensure to take note of the date stamped onto your passport by an immigration official stating the date in which you are required to leave Canada. If you were granted a study or work permit, the expiration date will also be stamped on the documents.

In order to extend your stay in Canada, visitors must apply at least 30 days prior to the date in which the temporary resident visa expires. Those who stay longer than the allotted time will have their temporary resident status forfeited and may be asked to leave Canada.

Individuals must apply for an extension if they intend to:

  • Visit, study or work longer in Canada;
  • Change the type of permit (i.e. transitioning from studying to working in Canada);
  • Change the conditions of the stay (i.e. if the applicant is currently studying or working in Canada and would like to change schools or jobs).

To find out about your eligibility, please contact one of our immigration specialists.

  • Phone: +1 (604) 636 – 4618
  • Email:
  • or  take a Free Online Assessment through our website, we will contact you within 24 hours upon your request!
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