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Canada Visa Policy

While there are currently 54 eligible visa exempt countries for visiting Canada, citizens from elsewhere in the world will need to ensure they obtain a temporary visa from a Canadian diplomatic mission before traveling to Canada. For those who come from a visa exempt country, they will take part in the Electronic Travel Authorization program, which has been in place since 2016. Depending on where you are from in the world, you can either apply for your visa online or you may have to travel to a Canadian diplomatic mission. Keep reading to learn more about the visa application process for Canada.

The History of the Canadian Visa

In the year 1984, 76 countries were able to travel into Canada without a visa. However, over the years, procedures have been tightened up, and now only 54 countries can enter Canada without a visa. In 2013, the government first announced their intention for the Electronic Travel Authorization procedure to fall in line with the ESTA policy in the US. Applications opened in 2015, and visitors had to use this system for any entries starting in November 2016.

Since 2018 and 2019, Canada has expanded its requirements for photographs and fingerprints to enter the country. If you are applying for a visitor visa, work permit, study permit, or to become a permanent resident, these can be provided at a center in your local country before your visit. For anyone who can enter the country and receive their permit at that time, your biometrics are collected at this point. If you are entering the country for an extended period of time, these biometrics are collected every ten years, and applicants are required to pay a fee for this process. Certain exemptions do apply, such as for permanent residents of the country.

Visa Types for Canada

When it comes to the Canadian visa options, they generally fall under four categories for temporary residents. These include visitors, students, temporary foreign workers, and temporary resident permit holders. Unless you are eligible for the Electronic Travel Authorization or are a citizen or temporary resident, you'll need to hold a valid visa every time you enter Canada. Depending on the visa you are choosing, or where you are from, these may need to be applied for before, during, or after your arrival.

A popular visa option in Canada is the working holiday visa, which is split into three different categories: working holiday, young professionals, and international co-op internships. There are specific age limits and citizenship requirements for these visas, but if you don't fall under those categories, there may be other work options available if you are sponsored by a company.

Applying for a Canadian Visa

For anyone who needs to apply for a visa, you'll need to either apply online or with a physical application at a Visa Application Center. In recent years, Canada has also introduced a program called CAN+. This program is in place for anyone who has entered Canada within the last ten years or who holds a visa for the US. This means they can supply proof of their past trips and then submit less financial support information. If you are the parent or grandparent of a Canadian permanent resident or citizen, you can apply for a super visa which allows you to stay for two years in the country without having to renew your visa.

Documents Needed for a Canada Visa

When applying for a Canada visa, you will need to supply a wide variety of documents. You'll need your passport, the completed Canada visa application form, and proof of your visa feed payment. On top of that, you need to prove you have a clean criminal record and may also need to go through a medical exam. Photographs are required to be uploaded, and these will need to comply with the requirements. You will need to share proof of your financial support for the trip, as well as showing you will return to the country following your visit. Finally, depending on the type of trip you are going on, you'll also need to provide a cover letter or a letter of support.

As we mentioned above, you'll also need to supply your biometrics. During this current time, this procedure may vary, so ensure you check the current requirements for biometrics. If you are applying for a visa along with a minor of age 17 or under, the minors will be attached as dependents on the adult's application form. However, if the minor is traveling alone, you'll need to check the visa requirements for this process. As you can see, the visa application process is incredibly in-depth for Canada, so you'll want to ensure you carry out the research and application well ahead of your entry into the country to avoid any delays or issues at the border.

Canada ETA

For those 54 countries that are visa-exempt for entering Canada, they must apply for the ETA before their trip. This is a quick and easy online process that requires you to pay a small fee of CA$7 for the application. You'll have to share your personal details, passport information, citizenship information, proof of funds for your trip, contact details, and employment history. You are also required to declare health information, immigration history, and any convictions. The ETA is valid for up to five years or until your passport expires and offers you multiple entries to the country. Upon completing your application, you won't have to add in any information about your trip at that time.

If you are traveling to Canada this year, ensure you check out the current requirements for entry into the country. At this time, some visas may require a different application process or support of your application to go through. For those individuals who aren't eligible for the ETA, we encourage you to start your application as early as possible to avoid any delays to your trip. This will ensure you have no issues upon your entry and can enjoy your visit to Canada without worrying about your visa application.


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