What You Need to Know About Visitor Visas in Canada

Canada is home to millions of visitors each year. In fact, more than 35 million people visit Canada every year to enjoy the many opportunities our country has to offer, including visiting family and friends. If you wish to come to Canada for a temporary purpose like a vacation, or to visit family or friends, you may need a Temporary Resident Visa, unless you are a citizen from a “visa exempt” country like the USA or Australia.

A Temporary Resident Visa is often referred to as a TRV in our industry. You will most likely need to file Form IMM 5257. Form IMM 5257 is used by individuals who want to apply for a TRV to visit Canada for a temporary purpose such as tourism, visiting family or friends, or business trips.

5 Main Documents You Will Need With Your TRV Forms

There are five major documents you are required to show when applying for a TRV. Note that each immigration case is a little different depending on your specific situation, but generally you should have the following documentation when applying for a ‘Temporary Resident Visa’ in Canada:

  1. Proof of your ties to your home country
  2. Proof of funds for your visit to Canada
  3. ID such as a passport or county resident card
  4. A letter of invitation from the person inviting you to come to Canada
  5. Proof that you will be staying in Canada only on a temporary basis

Disclaimer: There may be other documents and information that you may need.Individuals must obtain a TRV before departure from their home country. Individuals cannot obtain a TRV upon arrival in Canada.

Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions About TRVs

1. What if you leave Canada and then return before your visitor visa expires?

Visitor visas have different “features”. Some are single entry visas, which mean that they are for one entry to Canada only. If you leave Canada and wish to return, you will have to apply for another visa unless you are traveling to the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon. However, some visas are multiple entry visas which allow people to leave and return to Canada during the validity of their visas.

2. Can I extend my visitor status?

If you are in Canada on a visitor visa and wish to apply for an extension of your stay in Canada, you need to get visitor status. You can apply for visitor status from within Canada at a Canadian immigration office. However, you should apply before the expiration of your current visitor status. As a general note, when you come to Canada as a ‘visitor’, you will be given visitor status for a six month period. If your visitor status expires but you have already applied for an extension and are waiting for your renewal, you have what is called implied status, until a final decision is made on your extension application. If your application for an extension is refused, you can apply for restoration of status, so long as your application is made within 90 days of the refusal date.

3. Who does not need a visitor visa for Canada?

Some people do not require a visa to visit Canada, such as citizens of:

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Tuvalu
  • United Kingdom*
  • The United States**
  • Vanuatu
  • Vatican City
  • Western Samoa
  • Zimbabwe
  • China (Taiwan)

* If you are a British citizen or British Overseas Citizen who is re-admissible to the United Kingdom; a Citizen of British dependent territories who derive their 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, Hong Kong, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena or the Turks and Caicos Islands you then do not need a visitor visa to travel to Canada.

** If you are someone who has been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence and in possession of your alien registration card (USA Green Card), or can provide other evidence of permanent residence, you do not need a visitor visa to travel to Canada, either.

If you are a Turkish citizen traveling on a diplomatic passport; or a person holding a passport or travel documents issued by the Holy See, you too do not need a TRV to travel to Canada.

4. Who does need a visitor visa for Canada?

Pretty much everyone else who was not mentioned as being exempt will need a TRV to travel to Canada, such as citizens of: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia-Hercegovina, Brazil, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina-Faso, Burundi, Cambodia Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, (The), Democratic Republic of Congo, (The), Cuba, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea,Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, (only Israeli citizens holding valid Israeli orange “Travel Document in Lieu of National Passport”) Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, (former Yugoslav Republic of) Malagasy Republic, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, (Burma) Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pacific, Islands, U.S. Trust Territory Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Sao Tome e Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovak Republic, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St., Lucia, St. Vincent, Sudan, Surinam, Swaziland, Syria, Tadjikistan, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia,

5. How long does it take to process a TRV?

No one can make any guarantees of how long it will take the Canadian government to process your TRV applications, but we recommend to apply at least 2 months in advance of your planned departure from Canada in order to avoid disappointment. It can be done faster with guidance of professional immigration help. One or more of the following factors could delay the processing of your application:

  • incomplete applications
  • medical exam required
  • background or security checks required
  • criminal record
  • interview required
  • verification of documents needed

Other Important Temporary Resident Visa Information

In order to qualify for a Temporary Resident Visa, individuals must show the officer that they meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, and that they will be in Canada for a temporary stay.

Individuals must also:

  • Satisfy an officer that they will leave Canada at the end of their stay
  • Show that they have enough money to maintain themselves and their family members in Canada and to return home
  • Not intend to work or study in Canada (unless authorized to do so)
  • Have no record of criminal activity
  • Not be a risk to the security of Canada
  • Be in good health (complete a medical examination if required)

Why Seeking Professional Immigration Help is Important

While the procedures for applying for a TRV may seem uncomplicated, some applicants apply without seeking any help from an immigration lawyer, thinking that they can ‘do it themselves’. For TRV applications, there is actually a higher risk of refusal in cases where the application is not properly prepared. The standards are very high. We find that the number one reason why applications are denied is due to forms not being correctly filled out. It is a shame when someone can not fulfill their dreams because of one missed 'dotted i' or 'crossed t'. You can increase your chances at getting an approval on your TRV applications with the assistance of professional immigration experts.

Why Hire Us to Help You With Your TRV Applications

Many of our clients are happy to relieve themselves of the headaches of preparing paperwork and having to deal with government red tape by outsourcing this work to our professional team of immigration experts. It is extremely satisfying to see our clients enter Canada to visit their family and friends or to travel through Canada’s wonderful landscape without all the hassles of filing tons of complicated paperwork. We have literally helped thousands and thousands of people successfully visit Canada, and even though no one can promise any guarantees, we are certain we can help you increase your chances with our extensive experience.

Getting started is easy. Just fill out our immigration assessment form here and we’ll get back to you (within 24 hours) to discuss your eligibility and options.

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