Canadian Tourist Visa: A Complete Document Checklist for 2023-2024
The Canadian tourist visa is a wonderful opportunity for people who want to experience Canada for all the benefits it has to offer for a short period. The tourist visa is handy for holidays, sightseeing, and visiting friends or family. In essence, the eligibility criteria for the Canadian tourist visa revolve around the intent of the visit, proof of funds to sustain oneself during the stay, and assurance to return to one's home country.
Canada Tourist Visa
The Canadian tourist visa, or the Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) as it is formally known, is a type of visa that allows foreign nationals to enter and stay in Canada for a limited period. This visa attempts to foster interpersonal ties and cultural exchanges among different people and cultures. Furthermore, It is essential to note that this visa strictly serves for visiting purposes only, and other activities such as working or studying require different types of visas.
In today’s article, we will be learning all about the Canadian tourist visa, so if you have any questions related to this visa, read on!
Eligibility Criteria for the Canadian Tourist Visa
In the first place, to be considered for a Canadian tourist visa, you must sufficiently fulfil several criteria. You should know if you will be able to meet them before you begin your visa application. Here are the eligibility criteria for a Canadian tourist visa application:
- Proof of Purpose: You must be able to demonstrate the purpose/intent of your visit, whether it's for tourism, visiting family or friends, or other recreational activities.
- Financial Stability: You should be able to prove that you have the money to cover your stay in Canada through bank statements, payslips, or even a letter from someone financially sponsoring the trip.
- Ties to Home Country: You must prove that you have strong ties to your home country. The Canadian government wants to know that you have a reason to return to your country after your visit. This can be demonstrated through evidence of stable employment, property ownership or family commitments.
- Passport Validity: Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in Canada.
- No Criminal Record: A criminal conviction might lead to a visa denial. So, it is essential to be truthful and provide all necessary documents, possibly including a police clearance certificate.
- Health: Depending on where you live or have recently visited, you might need to undergo a medical examination.
- Intent to Leave: Similar to the ‘Ties to home country criteria’, you must have a clear intent to leave Canada once your visa expires. You can prove this with a return flight ticket or an itinerary of onward travel.
- Invitation: If you are visiting someone in Canada, you should have an invitation letter from your host detailing their relationship with you, the purpose of your visit, where you will stay, and information about your host's financial status.
Understanding and meeting these criteria will increase your chances of a successful visa application.
Types of Canadian Tourist Visas
The next stage after determining your eligibility is to decide the type of tourist visa you want to apply for based on your need. There are 3 types of Canadian tourist visas, all available to ensure you apply for the one that best matches your travel intentions. Below, we explain the various types, shedding light on their purpose and duration of stay.
- Single Entry Visa
Purpose: The single-entry visa type is tailored for travellers who want to visit Canada once at a time. It is ideal for making one-off trips, like attending an event or visiting family.
Duration of Stay: The border services officer at the Canadian port of entry decides the duration, typically granting up to six months. However, once you exit Canada (except for travel to the United States or Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), you'll need a new visa to return.
- Multiple Entry Visa
Purpose: The multiple entry visa is for travellers who want to visit Canada multiple times over a longer period without reapplying each time. It's beneficial for frequent visitors or those who have family or business ties in Canada.
Duration of Stay: The visa is valid for up to 10 years or 1 month before your passport expires, allowing numerous entries. However, for each visit, you are allowed to stay for six months only.
- Transit Visa
Purpose: Specifically designed for travellers who need to pass through Canada en route to another destination. This visa is common for those with layovers in Canada but not intending to stay.
Duration of Stay: The Transit Visa is for short layovers, and allows you to remain in Canada for up to 48 hours. After this period, you must either continue your journey to the next destination or apply for a different type of visa to stay longer.
Documents Required to Apply for a Canadian Tourist Visa
Once you are settled on the type of visa you need for your unique situation, you need to gather the documents for your visa application. The good news is, you dont have to do that alone, we are here to help you. Here are the documents you need to provide for your Canadian tourist visa application:
- Passport: Your passport serves as the primary identification document. Ensure it has blank pages for any necessary stamps.
- Two Recent Passport-sized Photos: There are specific requirements for visa application photographs. Both photos should be identical, they must be 50 mm wide by 70 mm high (2 inches wide by 2¾ inches high), and the height of your face must measure between 31 mm (1¼ inches) and 36 mm (1⁷⁄₁₆ inches) from your chin to the crown of your head (natural top of head) and they must be clear. A professional photographer can help you achieve this.
- Proof of Sufficient Funds
- Travel Itinerary: This should include flight bookings, hotel reservations, and a list of places you intend to visit. While it's not mandatory to have every detail nailed down, a clear plan can instil confidence in your genuine intent to tour.
- Ties to Your Home Country: Evidence can be in the form of property deeds, a letter from your employer, family commitments, or any other documents that show your obligation to return.
- Invitation Letter From a Sponsor (if applicable).
- A Completed IMM 5645 Form (optional): Family members who apply on behalf of the applicant or third parties need to complete this form.
- A Completed (IMM 5475) Form: Use this form to allow Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to release your personal information to someone you choose.
- Employer Information (optional): A letter printed on your employer’s letterhead will suffice. The letter should not be later than 3 months before you apply and it should contain all the details about your employment.
- Medical Examination: Some countries or regions are flagged for specific health risks, and Canada requires visitors from these places to be examined to ensure public health within its borders.
- Travel History (optional): expired/valid visa, previous work or study permits or previous passports within the last 10 years.
- Certified Translations: If you're providing documents (like bank statements, criminal record checks, letters of employment, etc.) that are not in English or French, you'll need to seek certified translation services in Canada. This is crucial since the Canadian government requires a precise translation of all supporting documents. It's recommended to use a certified translator in Canada to ensure the translations are accepted by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
- Criminal Record Check
- Visa Payment Receipt
- Filled visa Application Form
Processing Time for a Canada Tourist Visa
The processing time for a Canada tourist visa is not the same for all applicants; it varies based on several factors and understanding these factors will help you set your expectations and plan your trip more effectively. Below are some factors that influence the visa processing duration:
Mode of Application
- Online Application: When you apply for a Canada tourist visa online, the processing is generally quicker. The online system, facilitated by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, is efficient as it directly feeds your information into the IRCC system. This direct digital input minimizes manual intervention, and any required documents can be uploaded instantly. Moreover, if any additional documentation or clarification is needed, communication through the online portal is swift.
- Paper-Based Application: Traditional paper-based applications, submitted at VACs (Visa Application Centers), usually take longer. The manual handling of documents, postal delays, and the time it takes for physical files to move between departments can add to the processing time. Furthermore, if there are discrepancies or missing information, the back-and-forth communication can extend your wait.
Country of Application
The country you're applying from can significantly affect the duration. Some visa offices may have a high volume of applications, leading to longer processing times. For instance, a Canada tourist visa from Australia, due to its proximity and bilateral relations, might have a quicker turnaround compared to countries with more significant visa demand or more stringent security checks.
Complexity of the Application
A straightforward application, with all documents in order and clear intent, will be processed more speedily. In contrast, applications with missing documents, unclear travel purposes, or other complexities might require additional review or verification.
- Peak Travel Seasons: During holiday seasons or peak travel times, there's usually a surge in visa applications. This increased demand can lead to longer processing times.
- Security Concerns: If there are security concerns related to the country of origin or the individual, additional checks might be required, leading to extended processing times.
- Technical Issues: At times, technical glitches, either in the online system or at the visa processing centres, can lead to delays.
- Translation of Documents: The completeness and correctness of your submitted documents, including any necessary certified translations obtained through online translation services or local certified translators, can affect the processing time. Inaccurate or non-certified translations may result in requests for additional information, thereby prolonging the processing time.
The images below show the estimated processing time according to the IRCC website for an Indian applicant applying for a Canadian visitor visa from outside Canada, and the processing time for an applicant applying for the same visa within Canada for an online and a paper application.
Other Canadian Tourist Visa Requirements
- Travel Insurance
Importance: While travel insurance is not mandatory for a Canadian tourist visa, it is strongly recommended. Canadian healthcare can be expensive for non-residents, and having insurance ensures you're covered in case of any unforeseen medical emergencies.
Coverage: It's advisable to obtain comprehensive travel insurance that covers hospitalization, emergency care, repatriation, and more. Some policies might also cover travel disruptions and cancellations.
Duration: Ensure your insurance policy covers the entire duration of your stay in Canada.
- Language Proficiency
Overview: Canada has two official languages: English and French. While a tourist visa doesn't always necessitate a demonstration of language proficiency, in some circumstances or for extended stays, it can be beneficial.
Evidence: If you're from a non-English/French-speaking country and your itinerary involves activities that require communication, like attending short courses, it might be helpful to show some level of language proficiency.
- Language Test Results (if required)
Testing Bodies: If required, you'll need to provide results from recognized language tests such as IELTS for English or TEF for French.
Validity: They are valid for two years from the date of the test result.
Level: While there isn't a strict 'pass' level for tourist visas, higher scores can make your application more robust, especially if language skills are pertinent to your visit's purpose. To pass IELTS, you need a minimum overall score of 6.5 and a minimum score of 6.0 in each category of the Academy test.
Biometrics is a modern identification method that involves taking your fingerprints and photographs. To do this, you need to book an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC) or an Application Support Center (ASC) closest to you in your country of residence.
Fee: The biometric fee is non-refundable and costs $85 per adult, in addition to your visa application fee.
Validity: Biometrics data for visiting visa applications is valid for ten years. It will be used for all your future TRV applications.
How do I Apply for a Canada Tourist Visa?
You can apply for a Canada tourist visa online through the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website or via a paper application at your local visa office.
What is the Processing Time for a Canada Tourist Visa?
The processing time for a Canada tourist visa ranges between 2 to 5 weeks but may vary depending on your situation.
Can I Work on a Tourist Visa in Canada?
No, you cannot work on the Canada tourist visa because it doesn't permit employment.
What Should I do if my Visa Application is Rejected?
If your visa application is rejected, review the reason for rejection, rectify any issues, and consider reapplying or consulting an immigration lawyer.
Is Travel Insurance Mandatory for a Canada Tourist Visa?
Travel insurance is not always mandatory, but it is highly recommended that you get one for your safety.
How can I Obtain a Police Clearance Certificate for my Visa Application?
To get a police clearance certificate for your visa application, you should apply in your home country's local police department or an equivalent authorized agency in your country.
Can I Visit Multiple Cities in Canada on a Single Tourist Visa?
Yes, you can travel freely within Canada.
What if I Have a Criminal Record in my Home Country?
If you have a criminal record in your home country, it is best to declare it. Depending on severity and recency, it might not affect your eligibility. But it is better to be honest.
How can I Extend my Stay in Canada as a Tourist?
To extend your stay in Canada on a Tourist visa, you must apply for an extension before your current visa expires.