Do I need a visitor's visa to visit Canada?

Most travellers to Canada will need entry document in addition to a valid passport to get into Canada.

If you are staying only a short time, you will likely need either a visitor's visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to enter Canada depending on which country you are from.

Please note that the eTA does not come into force until March 15, 2016.

Check Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)'s website for current information before you make travel plans because the list of countries can change at any time. Make sure you have all the proper documents before you travel to Canada.

Canada does not pay for hospital or medical services for visitors. It is a good idea to make sure you have basic travel health insurance to pay your medical costs before you leave for Canada.

Multi-Entry Visas

When you apply for a single-entry visitor’s visa, you will automatically be considered for a multiple-entry visa. These visas are valid for 10 years. You can only stay in Canada for up to 6 months at a time.

The Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is valid up to five years, or when your passport expires, whichever happens first. You can only stay in Canada for up to 6 months at a time.

The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa is also a multiple-entry visa that is valid for 10 years. It allows parents and grandparents to stay in Canada for up to 2 years at a time.

How to Apply

There are different application processes for each type of entry document. You can learn more on the CIC website.

How can I help someone get a visitor visa to come to Canada?

You can help your friend or relative find and complete the right application. You may be able to write a letter of invitation.

Letter of Invitation

Sometimes, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) asks applicants to provide a letter of invitation from someone in Canada.

If you want to write a letter of invitation for a relative or a friend, you can get more information about how to write the letter on CIC's website. The letter needs to include information about you and the person you are inviting.

Some visa offices may require that your letter be notarized by a Notary Public.

Send your letter (notarized if necessary) directly to the person you are inviting to Canada. They must submit this letter with the rest of their application package when they apply for their visitor's visa.

A letter of invitation does not guarantee that a visa will be issued.

For More Information

  • Visiting Canada - Information about how to apply for a visitor's visa, how you can extend your stay, and answers to frequently asked questions. From Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
  • Visitors to Canada - Information that visitors to Canada need to know before they travel. From the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
  • Come to Canada - A tool that can help you figure out what your options are if you want to come to Canada as an immigrant, student, worker or visitor. From Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
  • CIC Help Centre - A tool that helps answer frequently asked questions on immigration matters. It offers several ways of searching through the information available, including search by keyword. From Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
Last updated: September 18, 2015 4000175