Visitor Visa: Canada Travel Frequency

how often can you travel to canada on visitor visa

How often can you travel to Canada on a visitor visa?

If you're planning to travel to Canada, it's important to understand the requirements and restrictions that come with a visitor visa. A visitor visa, also known as a temporary resident visa, is typically required for most travellers and allows them to stay in Canada for a specific period. The visa is valid for up to six months, and visitors must meet basic requirements such as having a valid passport, no criminal convictions, and sufficient funds for their stay. Canada offers two types of visitor visas: single-entry and multiple-entry. The single-entry visa permits one entry into the country, while the multiple-entry visa allows individuals to enter and exit Canada multiple times during the validity of their visa. It's important to note that the duration of the visa is determined by an immigration officer, and visitors may be granted more or less than six months depending on their specific circumstances.

Characteristics Values
Who needs a visitor visa Most travellers
How long can you stay Up to 6 months
What happens at the port of entry A border services officer may allow you to stay for less/more than 6 months and will put the date in your passport
What if you don't get a stamp in your passport You can stay for 6 months from the day you entered or until your passport expires, whichever is first
Who is exempt from a visitor visa Citizens of countries with agreements with Canada
What is the difference between a visitor record and a visitor visa Visitor record is issued to those already in Canada and looking to extend their stay or change conditions of their stay
What is the difference between a visitor visa and a business visitor visa Visitor visa is for tourism, whereas a business visitor visa is required for business purposes, but not for temporary work
How to extend your visitor visa Apply for an extension from within Canada before your current visa expires

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Visitor visa requirements

To enter Canada, most people need a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). However, some may only need a valid passport. The entry document you need depends on the type of travel document you plan to travel with, the country that issued your travel document, and how you will travel to Canada.

When applying for a visitor visa, you must meet some basic requirements. These include:

  • Having a valid travel document, such as a passport.
  • Having no criminal or immigration-related convictions.
  • Convincing an immigration officer that you have ties, such as a job, home, financial assets, or family, that will bring you back to your home country.
  • Convincing an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit.
  • Having enough money to support yourself during your stay. The amount of money needed depends on how long you will stay and whether you will stay in a hotel or with friends or relatives.

In addition to these requirements, you may also need a medical exam and a letter of invitation from someone who lives in Canada. It is important to check the specific requirements based on your situation.

Types of Visitor Visas:

Canada offers two types of visitor visas: single-entry and multiple-entry. A single-entry visa allows foreign nationals to enter Canada once, while a multiple-entry visa permits individuals to enter and exit Canada multiple times during the visa's validity period. The duration of a visitor visa is typically up to six months, but it can be extended if needed.

Other Entry Requirements:

It is important to note that some countries are visa-exempt, meaning their citizens and permanent residents can visit Canada without a visitor visa. These include the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and certain British overseas territories.

If you are travelling to Canada by air, you may need an eTA, which is electronically linked to your passport and is valid for up to five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. An eTA typically allows visitors to stay in Canada for up to six months, but the length of stay may vary depending on the purpose of the visit and the border officer's discretion.

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How long can you stay in Canada?

The length of time a visitor can stay in Canada depends on several factors, including the type of visa or entry document they hold, their country of origin, and the discretion of the border services officer upon entry. Here is a detailed overview of the factors that determine the length of stay in Canada:

Visitor Visas:

Most visitors to Canada require a visitor visa, also known as a temporary resident visa (TRV), which is typically valid for up to six months. This visa is stamped in the individual's passport by a Canadian visa office before their arrival in Canada. However, it's important to note that the validity period of the visa in the passport only pertains to boarding a plane or crossing the Canadian border and does not dictate how long the visitor can stay in the country.

Upon arrival in Canada, the border services officer at the port of entry will determine the authorised length of stay. In most cases, visitors are permitted to stay for up to six months. This duration may be shorter or longer than six months at the officer's discretion, depending on factors such as the purpose of the visit and their intended departure from Canada. The officer may stamp the visitor's passport with a specific departure date or provide a Visitor Record, which outlines the expiry date of their authorised stay.

Electronic Travel Authorizations (eTAs):

Citizens of visa-exempt countries, such as the United States, do not require a visitor visa to enter Canada. Instead, they need an eTA, which is electronically linked to their passport. An eTA typically allows visitors to stay in Canada for up to six months per visit, but the length of stay may vary based on the purpose of the visit and the border officer's discretion.

Super Visa for Parents and Grandparents:

The Super Visa is a special type of visa that allows parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents to visit Canada for up to two years at a time. This visa can be extended for up to two additional years from inside Canada. Super Visa holders do not routinely receive a stamp in their passport upon entry, but if they are not limited by a border services officer, they are eligible to stay for the full two years.

Multiple-Entry Visitor Visas:

Canada offers multiple-entry visitor visas that allow foreign nationals to enter and exit the country multiple times during the valid duration of their visa. Visitors with multiple-entry visas can stay for up to six months at a time, and their length of stay may be adjusted by the border services officer upon each entry, similarly to single-entry visa holders.

Extending Your Stay:

Regardless of the initial authorised length of stay, visitors can apply to extend their status from within Canada. To do so, they must demonstrate their need to stay longer and meet eligibility requirements, including proof of funds to support themselves. Visitors can continue to apply for extensions indefinitely until their application is refused. However, receiving a Visitor Record valid for only 30 days or less is a warning that the visitor may be staying too long, and subsequent extension applications are likely to be denied.

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Visa-exempt countries

Canada has agreements with certain countries that allow their citizens and permanent residents to visit without a visa. These are known as "visa-exempt countries".

Travellers from visa-exempt countries do not need a visitor visa to enter Canada. However, they do require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if they are travelling to Canada by air. The eTA is electronically linked to the traveller's passport and is valid for up to five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. The eTA typically costs CAN$7 and most applications are automatically approved within minutes.

It is important to note that having an eTA does not guarantee entry into Canada. Travellers must still meet admissibility requirements upon arrival. Additionally, US citizens can travel to and from Canada with just their valid US passport and do not require an eTA.

  • British National (Overseas)
  • British overseas citizen (re-admissible to the United Kingdom)
  • British overseas territory citizen with citizenship through birth, descent, naturalization or registration in one of the British overseas territories of: British Virgin Islands, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), or Turks and Caicos Islands
  • British Subject with a right of abode in the United Kingdom
  • Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (must have a passport issued by Hong Kong SAR)
  • Israel (must have a national Israeli passport)
  • Romania (electronic passport holders only)
  • Taiwan (must have an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes the personal identification number)
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Lawful permanent resident of the United States
  • Vatican City State (must have a passport or travel document issued by the Vatican)

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Applying for a visitor visa

To apply for a visitor visa to Canada, you must first determine whether you need a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). This depends on the type of travel document you plan to use, the country that issued your travel document, your nationality, and how you will travel to Canada for your trip.

If you need a visitor visa, you can apply through the IRCC Portal or IRCC Secure account. You will need to provide the following documents:

  • A valid passport or travel document.
  • Proof of how long you plan to stay and what you will do in Canada, such as proof of accommodation or registration for an event.
  • Bank account statements to demonstrate that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay.
  • A letter of invitation from a business or company in Canada, if applicable.
  • If you are visiting family, proof of your relationship with the person or family member inviting you to Canada, such as a marriage certificate or official documents naming you as a parent.
  • If you are visiting children or grandchildren, you may be eligible for a Super Visa, which allows multiple entries for up to 10 years with a stay of up to 5 years at a time.
  • If you are applying for a business visitor visa, you must demonstrate that you plan to stay for less than 6 months, you do not plan to enter the Canadian labour market, and your main place of business and source of income is outside Canada.

It is important to note that not all documents listed are required, and submitting these documents does not guarantee that your application will be approved. Additional documents may be requested during the application process.

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Extending your stay in Canada

Most visitors to Canada on a visitor visa can stay for up to six months. If you wish to extend your stay beyond this period, you must apply for a visitor record. A visitor record is not a visa, but a document that allows you to remain in Canada as a worker or student without a work or study permit, respectively.

To be eligible for a visitor record, you must apply before your current status expires. The expiry date is either stamped on your passport or, if you do not have a stamp, it is calculated as six months from the day you entered the country. If you have a visitor record, you must leave Canada before it expires.

You can apply for a visitor record online or by submitting a paper application. To apply online, you will need a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents and a valid credit or debit card. If you apply on paper, you can pay with a prepaid card or a Visa Debit card.

It is important to note that a visitor record does not guarantee re-entry into Canada if you travel outside the country. If you plan to leave and re-enter Canada, you will need a valid entry document, such as a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Frequently asked questions

Most visitors can stay for up to six months in Canada. However, the border services officer may allow you to stay for less or more than six months. If so, they will put the date you need to leave by in your passport.

To get a visitor visa to Canada, you must meet some basic requirements, including having a valid travel document, such as a passport, having no criminal or immigration-related convictions, and having enough money for your stay.

A visitor visa is a temporary resident visa (TRV) that is stamped into your passport and allows for a single or multiple entry. An eTA is electronically linked to your passport and is valid for up to five years. It is required for visa-exempt foreign nationals traveling to Canada by air.

You can apply for a visitor visa online or on paper. The application process includes providing your fingerprints and photo (biometrics) and submitting the required documents. Processing times typically take a few weeks or less.

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