How to Get a Canadian Visa

Three Methods:Determining What You NeedApplying Online for a Visitor VisaApplying for a eTA

You may need a Canadian visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization if you're visiting Canada for any reason. You will need to fill out paperwork for both of these, though the visa is much more extensive. Once you submit your application, you'll need to wait to see whether you were approved or not.

Method 1
Determining What You Need

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    Check to see if you need a visa to enter Canada. Not everyone needs a visa to visit Canada. For instance, United States citizens do not need a visa. Visit the Government of Canada's website at, which has a section titled "Find out if you need a visa." Find your country in the drop-down list, and then answer any other questions that pop up. Once you hit "Go," it will tell you whether or not you need a visa.[1]
    • Note that whether you need a visa or not, you will need a valid passport to enter Canada.[2]
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    Check to see if you need an ETA to travel. Canada is also implementing another type of travel authorization, which will be made final in March of 2016. It's called an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) and only applies to people entering the country by air from certain countries. For instance, if you are flying from Australia, you need this authorization. When you search for whether or not you need a visa, it should tell you whether or not you need an ETD instead.[3]
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    Make sure you have a valid reason to travel. One of the most common reason for a visa applications is if you are planning to visit as a tourist.[4] You may also get one for business trips.[5] Finally, you can get a visa to see your kids or grandkids.[6]
    • You may want to apply for a super visa as a parent or grandparent, even if you don't need a visa to visit Canada; this visa lets you visit for as long as 2 years.[7]

Method 2
Applying Online for a Visitor Visa

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    Check your eligibility. Use the website's eligibility calculator to make sure you can apply for a visa. Though it doesn't ensure you will get one, it can tell you if you are not eligible at all.[8]
    • It will ask you questions about the length of your trip, how long you're staying, where you are from, and even your marital status.[9]
    • If you are applying on paper, you can download the application online to print off. It will have a reader's guide to help you fill out the forms.[10]
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    Create a checklist. Once you've checked your eligibility, you'll be asked a series of questions to create a checklist of documents. You'll need to answer questions about why you're visiting, whether you're employed, if you've ever committed a crime, whether you've had a physical in the last year, and other such questions.[11]
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    Gather your documents. The documents you need may vary based on the country you’re coming from. Some common documents you may need include a valid passport and information about your travel planes, such as a plane ticket and your itinerary. You need to prove you're in good health with a copy of the appointment you made for a physical.[12]
    • You may also need to provide proof of your income, such as bank statements or pay stubs.[13]
    • You will fill in information about your family, including any family you have in Canada.[14]
    • In addition, the application may ask that you give information on any time you've traveled outside your country in the last 10 years, proven with your passport, visas, work permits, and student permits.[15]
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    Provide extra information for a super visa. If you are applying for a parent or grandparent super visa, you will need to give proof that you are actually a parent or grandparent. You can provide evidence such as the birth certificate of your child or grandchild or a baptismal certificate. You'll also need a letter from your child or grandchild that includes an outline of care and lists the number people that are in that household.[16]
    • You or your child must provide evidence that the child or grandchild exceeds the low income cut-off, which is on the website. For instance, in a single-person household, that person's income must exceed $23,861 in 2015.[17]
    • Before entering on this visa, you need to show you have insurance from a Canadian company that will cover you for the time period you are there. It must cover up to $100,000 and be valid for multiple entries to Canada.[18]
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    Provide a photo. You are required to give a passport photo when applying. It needs to be at least 420 pixels by 540 pixels. It should be a JPEG file between 60 kilobytes and 240 kilobytes in color.[19]
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    Upload the information to the computer. Any documentation you have must be scanned and added to the computer. That includes your photo.[20]
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    Create an account. When going through the eligibility checklist, you should have been given a personal reference number. Create an account with the system, and when prompted, enter your personal reference number.If you didn't get one, you can use the same link to apply for one.[21]
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    Pay the fee. As of 2015, the fee was 100 Canadian Dollars. You can pay the fee through the website's online payment system.[22]
    • Fees can vary based on what country you come from. You may also have to pay a fee for the government to collect fingerprints and a photo, depending on where you come from.[23]
    • You can save money by applying together as a family. However, it's really only beneficial if you have 5 people or more.[24]
    • If you are applying on paper, you can still pay online if you want, and you must submit the payment before you turn in the application. However, you can also pay by bank draft or certified check to the Receiver General for Canada. You need to send in a copy of the receipt or copy of the bank draft with your application.[25]
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    Work through the application. You will need to add your documents and fill in any biographical paperwork. You will also need to upload your picture.[26]
    • Submit the paper application to the appropriate place. If you are submitting on paper, you will need to find the location of where to submit it through the website. It has a place to enter your country and find the appropriate application destination. Send your application in.[27]
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    Look for confirmation. You should receive confirmation that government received your application. Don't forget to check your spam folder.[28] Also, be watching for acceptance or rejection of your application, which should come through the mail. How long it takes varies by application, but it can take as long as 70 days.[29],[30]
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    Follow any further directions. Once you are approve, you will most likely need to send your passport in to receive the visa. The authorization email or letter should give you more information.

Method 3
Applying for a eTA

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    Understand how an eTA differs from a visitor's visa. An eTA is not nearly as complicated as a visa. You must apply online.[31]
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    Gather what you'll need. You need a valid email address before submitting. You'll also need a credit card and your valid passport.[32]
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    Fill out the form. It will ask you some basic questions about your travel, such as if you are traveling by land or air. It will also ask what country you're coming from. In addition, you need to provide biographical information and information on your passport. Finally, you need to declare that you are giving true information.[33]
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    Pay the fee, and submit the application. The fee for this application is only 7 Canadian Dollars as of 2015. You pay online as you submit the application.[34]
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    Wait for authorization. Unlike the visa, you should get a response fairly quickly. In fact, you may get it as quickly as within 5 minutes or so of submitting your application.[35]


  • Your application for a visa may be delayed if you have missing information or documents.

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Official Travel Documentation