How to apply for a visa to Canada?

Americans don’t need a visa to visit Canada, Mexicans, and other nationals from some high-income countries, see list below, don’t need a visa either but just need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) that they can get online.  Everyone else will need a visa to visit Canada. You will need to go to your local Canadian consulate to give your biometrics, that is your photographs and fingerprints. You will get a visa when you can demonstrate that you can support yourself during your stay and that you have good reasons to leave Canada at the end of your visa.

Most foreigners, who want to work or study in Canada, will need to apply for a work visa or a study visa. You can do it almost all online, again you just need to give your biometrics, that is photographs and fingerprints. In Canada, you can apply for a work visa without having a job first.

Do you need a visa to go to Canada?

You don’t need a visa to come to Canada for 6 months if you have a passport from the United States.

You don’t need a visa to come to Canada for 6 months, but, if you traveling to Canada by air, you will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), when you have a passport from

any European Union countries, Andorra, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Brunei, Chile, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vatican City.

an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) can be obtained online easily here at the official Canadian government website, they have explanations in multiple languages.

Everyone else needs a visa and can apply for it online. You can do almost everything online but you need to give your biometrics to your closest Canadian consulate.

You can also check your visa requirements also at the government of Canada website. Their website is mainly in English and French, but some of the most useful pages are in other common languages.

You can check here below whether you need a visa to visit Canada. Choose your passport citizenship on the dropdown list on top and click on the yellow visa requirements button.

How to apply for a visa to Canada?

You can apply at the Canadian government website, for the type of visa that you need. You can do almost everything online but, depending on your nationality and the type of visa you need, you might need to go to your closest Canadian consulate to give your biometrics, that is your photographs and fingerprints.

The Canadian government website offers two different ways for you to apply for your visa:

  1. Apply online using the website’s online form,
  2. Fill out the application form on paper and submit it together with other documents.

Canadian visa types

All these types of visas are broadly divided into two categories. These categories will provide you a basic highlight of the visa application process and make it easier for you to prepare all your documents properly. Here are the types of Canada visas:

  • Temporary visas: visitor visas, student visas, and work visas,
  • Permanent residence visas: Permanent Residency, Business immigrant visas, and Express Entry Program visas.

You have to pick the one that fits the reason you’d like to go to Canada.

How to get help with your visa application?

You can apply for a Canadian visa on your own at but if you need help with your visa application you can go through a reliable visa service, like VisaHQ or iVisa.
Depending on your nationality and the time you have, one of these below visa services can be more convenient or effective than the other.

Apply for a Canadian visa with iVisa 

Apply for a Canadian visa with VisaHQ 

What are the requirements for getting a Canadian visa?

These are the basic requirements that everyone needs to pass through when they are applying for a visitor visa. These requirements will in general apply also to work or study visas.

  • You have a valid travel document, for example, a passport.
  • You are healthy. 
  • You don’t have a criminal record.  
  • You will leave Canada when your visa expires.
  • You have the means to support yourself while you stay.
  • You have significant bonds to your home country and you will want to go back. 

The Canadian Government has made it relatively easy to find out how to get a Canadian visa. They have created various tests that assess applicants’ eligibility. You can answer some questions depending on the type of visa you want. After that, the test will then let you know whether you should apply or not. They will also send you the relevant instructions that you need to take to meet all the requirements.

Here are some of the documents that might be required for a Canadian visa:

  • your passport,
  • Canada visa application form,
  • proof of paid Canada visa fees,
  • photos and fingerprints under the requirements for a Canada visa,
  • proof of financial means,
  • evidence that once the Canadian visa expires, you will be returning to your home country,
  • civil status documents,
  • police clearances.
  • medical exam,
  • an invitation letter from someone living in Canada.

Image result for canada touristThe application could be get denied if: 

  • If you have failed to prove you have enough money to support your time in Canada,  
  • visa officers suspect that you are not going to just study or work or travel in Canada, 
  • visa officers suspect that you are not going to overstay your visa,  
  • You didn’t pass a medical exam if that was required. 

How long would it take to obtain a visa to Canada?

The Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) should take only a few minutes. The Canadian visa processing time varies for each specific case, but it normally takes few weeks. Your visa begins to process only after the authorities have received your application and your biometrics. You can check here for processing times.

How can I get a study visa for Canada?

First, you need to find a university, or a learning institution, that will enroll you. After, you’ll need to receive a Canadian study permit, which acts as a Canadian student visa for the duration of your stay. If you have a Canadian research license, or if you want to resume your studies, you can apply to renew it from within Canada.

You can apply either online or via a paper application for a study permit, on the Canadian Government website. See above for the possible requirements to obtain a study permit.

How to get a permanent visa in Canada

You can apply for a permanent visa to Canada. You just need to demonstrate that your work experience and your education can benefit the place where you want to live. You can also ask to be reunited with a member of your family. And you can also demonstrate that you would be able to start or continue a successful business in Canada.

You don’t need to find a job first to apply for permanent residency. Start with this Canadian government tool to assess your options and to understand how to start your application.

After getting the permanent resident (PR) status, you will get a PR card as proof. This card needs to be shown while traveling your way back to Canada along with your passport. The permanent resident status also gives you various rights like:

  • You are entitled to most of the social benefits that Canadian citizens have.
  • Health coverage
  • Live, study, or work anywhere in Canada.
  • Also, after getting permanent residency, you need to pay all the taxes and also need to follow all Canadian Laws. 

Although there are certain things which permanent residents cannot do:

  • They do not have the right to vote or cannot stand for political offices.
  • They cannot have some of the jobs which need a high level of security clearance. 

Cover Image is in Windsor, Canada. Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash