Canada welcomes millions of international tourists every year, as well as thousands of immigrants through various long-running immigration programs. A Canada visa is a sticker affixed to your passport and allows a foreign citizen to visit or live in Canada for various purposes. If you want to immigrate to Canada or want to visit Canada, you must know about the Canada visa application process.
Whether you can enter Canada on a Canada visa or not, is up to the Canadian Border Services Officer (BSO) at the border who might ask your some questions and evaluate whether you are fit to enter.
Who Needs a Canadian Visa?
Foreign citizens from many countries do not need a Canada visa for short stays. They can, instead apply for an Electronic Travel authorization (eTA) for Canada if entering the country by air.
If your country is not part of the list of countries covered by the eTA, you must apply for a visa to visit Canada. To be able to visit Canada, foreign citizens must have either a valid Canada visa or a valid eTA.
What’s a Canada eTA?
Citizens of 60 countries can enter Canada without a visa for tourism or transit or business. Starting from 2015, this is a mandatory requirement for citizens of visa-exempt countries to enter Canada. Canada started the eTA travel authorization for Canada to screen the travellers from visa exempt countries.
What Does a Canadian Visa look like?
A Canadian visa is a sticker on the passport and has a distinct look.
Canada Visa Application
The Canada visa application process is done through a centralized online portal. Depending on the type of Canada visa, the amount of documents that you need to submit and the processing time will greatly vary.
Any Canada visa application involves 7 steps.
1. Find Out if You Are Eligible for a Canada Visa.
You can visit the “Immigration and Citizenship” section of the official Canada visa portal to choose the kind of visa that fits your purpose. Based on the purpose of your visit, you can choose the appropriate visa.
2. Create Your Online Account.
Once you are sure about the visa, the next step is to create an online account where you need to provide the bank account details, that you will use to pay for the visa.
3. Fill in the Mandatory Details
You need to fill in different personal details such as passport, name, age etc. After this, save the application.
4. Download the Canada Visa Application form and Sign and Upload
Once you are done with filling in all the details, download the application and sign it electronically, and upload it again.
5. Pay the Canada Visa Fee
Once you submit all the necessary documents as per your visa, you will be forwarded to the payment page where you can pay for the visa fees depending on the Canada visa type you need. The application is submitted only after the payment.
6. Wait While your Canadian Visa is being Processed
Depending on the country where you live and the visa type, your visa processing time could vary. Generally it would take two or more weeks. Also, based on different factors, you might be asked to submit more documents and called for an interview and then submit your biometrics. In that case, you need to visit a Canadian mission in person.
7. On Approval, Mail Your Passport (dropbox or in-person)
If your Canada visa application is approved, you will receive a notification about the same. After this you can mail your passport to the Canadian mission in your country or use the dropbox facility at the Visa Application Center VAC.
Types of Canada Visa
There are many types of Canada visas. We can divide them to six main categories.
Canadian Temporary Visa
For foreigners who want to come to Canada for tourism or study or to work, there are different types of Canadian Temporary Visas that you can choose from. A temporary visa can be a single-entry or multiple-entry visa that allows you to be in Canada for a limited period of time.
- Single-entry temporary visa
Allows a foreigner to only enter Canada once, stay for 6 months and then return to their home country.
- Multiple-entry temporary visa
Allows the foreigner to enter Canada multiple times until their visa expires.
1.Canada Visitor Visa
A Visitor or Tourist Visa for Canada is a temporary resident visa allows the foreigner to enter Canada for tourism. You can apply for a visitor visa online or on paper.
2. Canada Business Visa
Foreign nationals who want to visit Canada for business purposes can get Canada business visa. This is for people who want to visit Canada temporarily to grow their business or make connections without being a part of the Canadian labor market.
3. Canada Transit visa
A foreign national whose country needs a visa to enter Canada needs a Transit Visa if the international flight stops in Canada on its way to another country and the transit time is less than 48 hours and if he/she does not have a valid visitor visa for Canada.
4. Diplomatic and Official Visa
The Diplomatic and Official visa is for officials and diplomats from foreign countries who want to come to Canada to fulfill their official duties.
5. Canada Super Visa
The Canadian Super Visa is a temporary resident visa that is available for parents or grandparents of Canadian citizens or Canadian Permanent Residents. They can visit their children or grandchildren for an extended stay using this visa, for up to 2 years at a time.
Canada Super Visa is a multi-entry visa that provides multiple entries for a period of up to 10 years.
6. Courtesy Visa
Foreign nationals who are not entitled to diplomatic immunity and thus cannot get a diplomatic officer visa can get a Courtesy visa if they are considered of sufficient importance. They can be members of a trade mission coming to Canada or people of diplomatic rank coming for tourism or member of IATA.
7. Canada Facilitation Visa
Canadian citizens with dual nationalities who do not have a Canadian passport due to extreme difficulties of getting a one can apply fo a facilitation Visa. The facilitation visa is stamped on the person’s other passport.
8. Canada Birth Visa
It’s a temporary resident visa given to pregnant women who want to stay in Canada and give birth while inside. Since Canada has birthright citizenship laws, giving birth in Canada makes the baby automatically a Canadian citizen.
9. Intending Organ Donors Visa
This visa is given to a foreign national who is traveling to Canada to donate an organ to a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident.
10. Canada Student Visa
Foreign nationals who want to finish their studies in Canada should get a Canadian student visa if the course duration is more than 6 months. If it’s less than 6 months, a temporary resident visa will suffice.
11. Canada Temporary Work Visa
Foreign nationals who have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer can opt for a temporary work visa in case the contract duration is for less than 6 months.
12. Temporary Residence Permit
A temporary resident permit is issued to foreigners who need to be in Canada for different purposes but are not admissible for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). This permit can be issued for the length of time the person needs to be in Canada, rather than for a fixed duration.
13.Working Holiday Visa
Foreign nationals of 30 countries can get a Canada Working Holiday Visa, to travel and work in Canada. The applicants are picked randomly for this visa.
Canada Express Entry Visas
1. Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
It’s given to foreign nationals who are qualified tradespeople in various occupations, for example, crane operators, aircraft mechanics, carpenters, welders, etc.
2. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
Foreign nationals whose professions are in demand in Canada, can apply for a FSWP visa. It is given on the basis of various factors like language proficiency, experience, age and educational qualification.
3. Canadian Experience Class
Foreign nationals who have a temporary student visa or a temporary workers visa, can opt for this visa to become permanent residents.
4. Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP)
Foreign nationals who are semi-skilled or low-skilled workers can apply through the PNP program that would allow them to work and settle in different provinces in Canada.
Permanent Canada Visas
Foreign nationals who want to settles down in Canada permanently, can opt for one of the permanent Canada visas or immigrant visas.
1. Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP)
Foreign nationals who are qualified to take care for children, elderly or disabled people in private homes for at least 30 hours a week, can apply for a LCP visa.
The Canada LCP visa requires proper work experience, proficiency in English or French, and a high school diploma.
2. Family-Sponsorship Program
Canadian permanent residents are allowed to sponsor their spouse, dependent children, Common-law Partner, Conjugal partner, parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, grandchildren under the family sponsorship program for them to immigrate to Canada permanently.
3. Canada Startup Visa
The Canada Startup Visa is for immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that can create jobs for Canadians and compete on a global scale.
It needs the foreign national to
- have a net worth of at least CAD$300,000.
- commit to owning and managing at least one third of a Canadian business.
- create and maintain employment for Canadians within 3 years of being in the country.
4. Self-employed Persons Visa
Foreign nationals can immigrate with a Canada self-employed visa if they
- have relevant experience in sports, or cultural activities.
- are willing and able to contribute significantly to the cultural or athletic life of Canada.
5. Immigrant Investor Program
Canada Immigrant Investor Program is a permanent visa for foreigners who can invest in Canadian economy. To get this visa, they
- have a net worth of at least CAD$800,000.
- must invest at least CAD$400,000.
6. Quebec-Selected Skilled Worker Program (QSWP).
Quebec is a Canadian province which has its own skilled worker program for foreigners who want to move and work in Quebec permanently. For this, you have to be fluent in French and have one of the professions which are in demand there.
7. Atlantic Immigration Pilot
Under this program, employers can hire foreign skilled workers who want to immigrate to Atlantic Canada and international graduates who want to stay in Atlantic Canada after they graduate.
8. Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot
Skilled foreign workers who want to work and live in rural communities can immigrate to Canada under this pilot program.
9. Agri-Food Immigration Pilot
Experienced workers and labours in agri-food sector, can immigrate to Canada under this program, to help in particularly in year–round mushroom and greenhouse crop production, meat processing and livestock raising industries
What to Do if Your Canada Visa is Denied?
Your Canada visa can be rejected for
- Having a criminal record.
- Not providing proper and accurate supporting documents or falsifying them.
- Falsifying your financial resources to finance your travel to and stay in Canada.
- Applying for a visa whose purpose doesn’t coincide with your purpose.
If your Canada visa application is rejected, there is no process to appeal it. You can re-apply right away. But you should reapply, only if you can include information that you didn’t include before, something, that may help you get a Canada visa approval.
However you can not reapply, if your decision letter says you can’t.
How Can I Extend my Stay in Canada?
It’s possible to extend your Canada visitor visa if you are already inside Canada. However, you must apply to extend your Canada visitor visa at least 80 days before it expires. The visa extension for the Canada visitor visa is called a Canada Visitor Record.
Similarly if you want to study in Canada longer, you need to extend your study permit. For the same, you can apply to extend the permit more than 30 days before it expires.
Overstaying Your Canada Visa?
When it comes to overstay in Canada, there are two scenarios.
Overstay less than 90 days
In this case, you have the option to restore your visitor status by applying for a Visitor Record.
Overstay more than 90 days
In this scenario, you cannot apply to restore your status. You have to leave Canada if you are caught and you may not be able to get another Canada visa in future.
The bottomline is that no one should try to overstay in Canada. If you are planning to stay for longer than your visa allows, apply for an extension.
Do I need a Canadian visa if I have a United States visa?
Permanent citizens living in the United States can apply for an ETA or Electronic Travel Authorization to go to Canada. They must also present their Green Card and a valid passport.
What is CAN+ Expedited Visa for Indians?
First of all, CAN+ is not a visa. It’s an expedited program for tourist visa applicants from India. This program is for applicants with Indian passports who have traveled to the United States or Canada within the last 10 years. This program expedites your application process (2-5 days) and the applicants don’t have to submit additional documents usually.
Are Biometrics Needed for my Canada Visa Application?
Irrespective of the type of visa you are applying for, you need to provide your biometrics at a Canadian Visa Application center by paying a fee. The Canadian diplomatic mission would send you a letter informing you of when you have to give your biometrics.
What is Canada Visa Lottery Portal or Canada Visa Lottery Program?
Canada does not have a Canadian Visa Lottery or a program where immigrants can be picked up through a lottery system. There is no Canada visa lottery portal. Any website that advertises Canada Immigration Lottery Program is basically spreading false information.
The only reason this confusion might occur is that Canada conducts an Express Entry Draw with a minimum Comprehensive Score which can change for every draw. The CRS score for Canada Express entry might change for every draw, but this is no way a lottery.