Canada is a country in the North American continent located right above the United States and is known as a highly developed country. The demand for people to travel to Canada has been steadily increasing in the last few years, but most people wonder how they can get to Canada.

What is a Canada Visa?

A Canada visa is a stamp on your passport which allows you to enter the country of Canada.

It is a permission for you to travel to the country and legally be able to stay either temporarily or permanently. Getting a visa to Canada means that the Canadian Consulate or Embassy in your home country decided that you are eligible and fulfill the requirements for entry. However, once you are at the Canadian border and customs, it is up to the officers at the border to evaluate whether you are fit to enter.

If you answer the Canadian Border Services Officer (BSO) questions honestly and correctly, they will allow you to enter. Otherwise, if they suspect that you are not eligible to enter, they can deny you and ask you to go back to your home country even if you have a Canada visa.

Who Needs a Canadian Visa?

People from countries that do not have a visa exemption or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) agreement with Canada will need a visa to enter the country. More specifically, people from around 148 countries need a visa to visit, work, or immigrate to Canada.

If you are one of these applicants and you need a visa for Canada, you must apply for one. Depending on the type of visa you want, you will have a method of applying, but there are a few general steps you must take.

What are the Canada Visa Types?

First, it is a necessity for you to know the kind of visa you desire, before applying for a Canadian visa. Here are the various kinds of Canadian visas:

  • Visitor visas.
  • Student visas.
  • Work visas.
  • Permanent Residence visas.
  • Business Immigrant visas.
  • Express Entry Program visas.

You must choose the one that best suits the intent of desiring to travelling to Canada.

Temporary Canadian Visa

The temporary Canadian visa permits guest to reside in Canada for a stipulated amount of time which the Canadian Consulate or the Border Services Officers (BSO)collectively agrees upon. This offer is for a 6 months duration. Nonetheless, the temporary visa can be single entry or multiple entry visa.

Single entry visa permits applicant to travel to Canada once, reside for a duration of 6 months and return to their country of origination. While a multiple visa entry permits applicant to always travel at will to Canada a couple of times and reside for a shirt period of time until their visa expires.

Here are the types of Canadian Temporary Visas:

  • Canadian Tourist Visa. This visa Guest or the Tourist visa permits the owner to travel to Canada for the purposes of tourism in the country.
  • Canadian Super Visa. The Canadian Super Visa grants permission to parents or grandparents of Canadian citizens or Canadian Permanent Residents to pay visit to their children or grandchildren for a long period of time.
  • Diplomatic and Official Visa. The Diplomatic and Official visa gives consent to officials and diplomats from international countries to move into Canada for official duties and purposes.
  • Courtesy Visa. The Courtesy visa is presented to all those people who did not meet standard for a Diplomatic and Official Visa but are of significant regard due to their ranks and positions. Exemplified as, members of trade missions or diplomats with touristic intent.
  • Canadian Business Visa. The Business Visa is given to those who are moving to Canada with business intentions as individuals or as a group of business people.
  • Visa to Give Birth in Canada. This visa is given to people who meet all the criteria to reside in Canada for a short period of time and are pregnant intending to deliver their baby in the country. When a child is put to birth in Canada it automatically makes the child a citizen of Canada.
  • Intending Organ Donors Visa. This visa is issued to a person who is going to Canada with the intention of donating an organ to a citizen of Canada or Permanent Resident.
  • Canadian Facilitation Visa. Facilitation Visas are issued to citizens of Canada with dual nationalities who do not have a Canadian passport but possess passport of another nationality. The facilitation visa is stamped on the person’s other nationality visa due to intense difficulty the person is facing in order to acquire a Canadian passport.
  • Canadian Student Visa. A Canadian student visa is issued to those who have gotten an admission from a university in Canada to fulfill their schooling dreams. If course of study is lesser than 6 momths, a TRV visa is what you would be given, but should I case your course of study is 6 months and above, a student visa will be issued to applicant.
  • Canadian Temporary Work Visa. Temporary work visas in Canada  are issued to people who have a job offer in Canada and the work will last up to 6 months. For this visa to be issued, applicant as a necessity must first, submit a valid job offer letter from the employer and second, qualify for a temporary (short stay) visa.
  • Temporary Residence Permit. This permit is for applicants whose travelling to Canada is necessitated by varying intents but are inadmissible regardless for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). This permit is issued only for the duration that the applicant needs to be in Canada, exemplified as 2 weeks for a workshop, a symposium or colloquium amongst others.
  • Working Holiday VisaThe Canadian Working Holiday Visa is issued to young people from 30 countries, so enable them work in Canada and travel. It is an aleatory choice visa meaning applicants place for consideration their applications and await arbitrary selection to apply for the work permit.

Permanent Canadian Visas

The permanent Canadian visas are visas which permits the owner to settle down in the country intransiently. These are otherwise known as immigrant visas and come in various kinds, as follows: 

  • Immigrant Investor Program. The Immigrant Investor Program is for people who invest in the Canadian economy and have a net worth of at least CAD$800,000. They must invest at least CAD$400,000 and investment is returned to them in 5 years time without any interest rate by the government. 
  • Startup Visa Program. The Canadian Startup Visa is for people who independently make contributions to the economy. It is mandatory for them to have a net worth of at least CAD$300,000 and must commit to owning and managing at least one third of a Canadian business, also provide and maintain employment within 3 years of being in the country.
  • Self-employed Persons Visa. The Self-employed Persons visa is for people who are skilled in business, athletics, culture, or farming and can begin their own businesses. These people must display a breakdown on how they plan to finance the business as well as their skills in those particular areas.
  • Quebec-Selected Skilled Worker Program (QSWP). Assuming you are skilled in one of the vocations which are required in the Canadian province of Quebec and your French is fluent, then you can apply for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program which will grant you permission to move and work intransiently there.
  • Family-Sponsorship Program. The Family Sponsorship Visa grants permission to the spouses and dependent children of Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents to immigrate to Canada intransiently.
  • Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP). This visa is given to carers who are meet requirements to care for the elderly, disabled people, or children and reside in a secluded home in Canada.

Express Entry Visas

The Canadian Express Entry Program is an electronic immigration program designed by the Canadian Government. It permits people from all over the world to apply for immigration to Canada based on their specific skills.

The following are part of this program:

  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
  • Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP)
  • Canadian Experience Class

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) visa is given to people who meet standard as trades people in vocations such as:

  • Carpenters
  • Aircraft Mechanics
  • Crane Operators
  • Heavy-duty Equipment Mechanics
  • Electricians
  • Machinists
  • Ironworkers
  • Welders
  • Plumbers, etc.

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

The visa under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is issued to people who have professions which are required in Canada. You must research for kinds of occupations Canada is in need of at the time you plan your application and obtain the requisite points.

Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP)

This visa under the Provincial Nominee Program is issued to semi or low-skilled workers who can contribute a quota to the Canadian economy through their work. The workers are positioned in various provinces of Canada where the demand for their work is higher.

Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class permanent visa is issued to persons who have a transient student visa or a transient workers visa and desire to change it to an intransient resident status. They either have a Canadian education or work experience and have settled into Canadian society.

Canadian Visa Application

The Canadian visa application process is solely conditioned mostly on the type of visa you desire to apply for.

For a Canadian visa application, it is necessary to adhere strictly to these simple steps below:

  • Research your eligibility status for a Canadian visa.
  • Create your online account or profile.
  • Compile the document file.
  • Pay the stipulated fees.
  • Wait for processing of your Canadian visa.
  • Submit your passport and processing fees.

Research your eligibility status for a Canadian visa.

The Canadian government has made the research of procedure for acquiring a Canadian visa quite easy. Diverse challenges have introduced to evaluate the eligibility of applicants which requires them filling an online questionnaire. Conditioned by the visa type you desire, a couple of questions will be thrown at you and they require honest answers, also the system will notify you if you can carry on with application or not. In addition, you will be sent relevant instructions and mandatory steps you must adhere to, to complete all the prerequisites.

How to navigate through the Canadian government website?

For accessibility to these questionnaires to research your eligibility status for the Canadian visa, you must visit their website here. The website will display diverse information and various tabs that you can select, but you must click on the Immigration tab.

When you click on the Immigration tab, it will display a drop-down list of options to choose from. The first one will be My Application, and then there will be tabs for Visit, Immigrant, Work, Study, amongst others. You make a choice that is equivalent to the visa type you desire to apply for. Further exemplification of the aforementioned, if you desire to acquire a tourist visa, you must click on the Visit tab.

After you click on the tab that is equivalent to your intention of desiring to visit Canada and the visa application you wish for, more information will be accessed from there. Whichever tab you choose and click, one out of the links that will pop up presents this statement, “Find out if you can apply” or “Find out if you are eligible”. You must click on this link.

The link gives access to the questionnaire were various questions will be asked. They range from personal information to reasons why you intend visiting Canada, and prior travel history. At the end of the questionnaire, the system shows the result garned.

Receiving the results

Three varying types of results will be on display. They are:

  • You met the qualification for the visa you have selected.
  • You are qualified for a different kind of visa, the system will provide the visa that best suits your result. 
  • You are not eligible for the visa.

If you qualified for the visa you have chose or a different kind of visa, the system will request input of your contact information (usually your email), and send you specified documents.

The documents contain a description of the visa, as well as instruction guides and details about application process. In addition, a reference code will be sent.

The reference code is one of the most relevant information on specified documents because it is used to start the application. Without a reference code, ability to apply will not be granted. The reference code acquaint the system with information you provided it during your questionnaire and it will have the sort of visa you are applying for.

As a result, the email and the documents must be securely saved. You can decide to write the reference code in diverse ways, for instance sending it to yourself, writing it on your computer, or on a piece of paper, but you must not lose it. Should incase you misplace or loose it, you will have to carry out the questionnaire process once again.

Create your online account or profile. 

Amongst the sent instructions by email, specification about whether your application for the Canadian visa must be done in person or online. From the time that the Canadian government digitalized its records, most people began to apply online. To gain access, you must as a necessity create an account.

There are two ways of account creation for the application:

  • Using your online banking login because the Canadian Government has partnered with many banks;
  • Creating a Government of Canada login (GCKey);

You can use whichever one suitable for you, because either way your banking details will be used to pay the visa fees.

Compile the document file.

As soon as you login to your account, you can start application process for the Canadian visa. Start application for the visa you have been deemed qualified for with your reference code. After inputting the reference code, the system will display a list of documents for your Canadian visa application. 

For a complete list of documents required for Canada visa application, you can visit the article here. 

All these forms must be put forward for approval online in the system before proceeding to submit the application. 

Pay the stipulated fees. 

As soon as verification is carried out by the system that all required documents have been submitted for consideration, you will transit to the payment page. You arw mandated to pay the Canadian visa fees based on the kind of visa you are applying for. With completion of the aforementioned procedures, your application will be submitted.

It will take around 5 workdays for you to see the application on your account, and if you apply in person, you will just have to take those documents to the Canadian Embassy in your home country.

Wait for processing of your Canadian Visa.

The Canadian Embassy or Consulate will then begin to process your Canadian visa application which can take two weeks or more based on the kind of visa. In addition, more documents could be requested for, or biometrics might be taken for consideration  and  an interview conducted. 

In Case you are requested for biometrics submission and an interview, this means you will have to appear in person at the Embassy despite making an online application. You ought to schedule an appointment with the Embassy, or the Embassy will schedulethe appointment and notify you. On the appointed day, you will submit your fingerprints, photographs, and also answer questions from a Canadian Embassy official.

The official will ascertain definitely whether it is proper to issue a Canadian visa to you or not. They can announce their decision immediately after your appointment or send a notification to you afterwards.

All Embassy appraisement in respect to your visa will be posted on your account, so you must check it incessantly, regardless of whether you did not submit biometrics or undergo an interview section.

Submit your passport and processing fees.

Upon reception of appraisal that your Canadian visa application was successful, submission of passport to the Canadian Embassy is the next step to take. This can be done by mailing it to the address of the Embassy in your country, concurrently with the processing fees. The processing fees is usually based on the kind of visa you are applying for and it ranges from $20 to $50, which must be paid by check or money order. Also, payment for a return envelope for your passport must be sent along.

The Embassy officials after receiving your passport and fees, will stamp the visa on your passport, and mail it back to you. Assuming their decision is announced to you immediately after the visa interview, you will have to pay for the processing fees only and get the passport instantly.

After a Successful Canadian Visa Application

As soon as you have your visa handy, you can travel to Canada with ease. At the point of entry (border), your passport and documents will be requested for. The officials will scrutize them and ask a couple of questions about your reason for travelling to Canada.

Their decision whether to grant you permission to enter the country or not is sole dependent on yoir answers to their questions. The officials at the point of entry (border) have the authority to repudiate your entering into Canada if they have suspicion that you will commit crimes or not respect your visa restrictions. Having a Canadian visa does not guarantee ypu entering Canada, only the border officials have the power to grant the permission.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Visa to Canada?

The Canadian visa processing time differs for each specific situation. Its duration can be between two to four weeks, or even longer.

The Canadian visa processing begins only after the Canadian authorities have received your complete application.

If need be for additional documents, the procedural time will be cunctatious.

Can I Help Someone Get a Canadian Visa?

On the occasion were you have a family member or friend who resides abroad, and you desire to invite them to visit Canada, you can write them a Letter of Invitation. 

The Letter of Invitation must include the following information:

About the person you are inviting:

  • Full name and date of birth.
  • Their intent of desiring to visit Canada.
  • The duration of their stay in Canada and time of leaving.
  • Their contact information.
  • Your relationship status with them.
  • Where they will reside.
  • Means of financing their trip.

About you:

  • Your full name and date of birth.
  • Your occupation.
  • Your residential status in Canada (Canadian citizen or permanent resident).
  • Your family details – names and dates of birth of your immediate family members (spouse and dependent).
  • Number of people who live in your household.

However, the Letter of Invitation does not give assurance that they will get a Canadian visa. The visa will be processed on its own merit, but the letter may help.

In the case of desiring to sponsor a family member to join you in Canada permanently or long-term, you can do so through the Canada Family Sponsorship Program.

How Can I Extend my Stay in Canada?

Supposing your Canadian visitor visa is about to lapse, and you elongate your stay, you have to apply for a visa extension. This is called a Canada Visitor Record.

You have to apply for a visa extension for Canada (visitor record) at least 30 days prior to the lapse of your visitor visa.

Besides extending a tourist visa, you can replace your study or work permit to a Visitor Record to the same effect. However, a visitor record is only obtainable while you are inside Canada.

If you wish to exit Canada and enter again, entry will be denied with a visitor record.

What Happens if I Overstay my Canadian Visa?

Assuming you have stayed in Canada past the expiry of your visa, the next step is based on how long you overstayed.

If you remained after your appropriate departure time and it is less than 90 days, your visitor status can be reestablished by applying for a Visitor Record and selecting “Restore my status as a visitor”.

If you remained after your appropriate departure time and it is more than 90 days, you cannot apply to recover your status and you have to leave Canada. This may likely hinder your ability to get another Canadian visa.

However, you should avoid overstaying a Canadian visa. If you presume circumstances beyond your control will elongate your stay than the duration of your visa, apply for a visa extension before it becomes invalid.

How Much is a Canadian Visa Fee?

The Canadian visa fee solely based on the sort of visa you are applying for. There are also various kinds of fees you will be mandated to pay, for example a processing fee and a biometrics fee.

A normal Visitor Visa fee, nonetheless, is $CAN100. 

See the Canada visa fees here.

What if My Canadian Visa is Repudiated?

Supposing your Canadian visa application is repudiated, you can apply again at anytime, on the condition that your repudiation letter does not prohibit you from re-applying.

However, you can apply again only if circumstances surrounding your application has changed or you have additional information to tender that might aid sanction of your Canadian visa.

As for appeals, there is no formal procedure to appeal a Canadian tourist visa decision. Appeals are only obtainable by refugee and intransient residency applications. They are processed by the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD).

Will I Get a Reimbursement if my Canadian Visa Application is Repudiated?

Canadian visa fees are non-refundable, even though your application is repudiated. Reason being that payment fee is made for processing the visa application, not for the visa itself. 

Nevertheless, in some rare occasions, reimbursement is gotten only if there is application withdrawal before it starts processing. You will not get reimbursement, as far as the processing has commenced.

In addition, if your application is affected by the following, you are liable to receive a reimbursement:

  • The fee for Right of Permanent Residence
  • The fee for Right of Citizenship
  • The fee for an Open Work Permit
  • The fee for International Experience Canada (IEC)
  • The fee for Employer Compliance

However, you can request a reimbursement for any of your fees through the Government of Canada: Immigration and citizenship website.

Can I Apply for a Canadian Visa From Another Country?

In cases were Canadian embassy or Visa Application Center is not available in your country of residence, the only option you have is to travel to another county that has a Canadian Embassy  for your Canadian visa application.

However, it is under compulsion for your application for a visa to be carried out at a Canadian embassy or VAC responsible for your jurisdiction (ie. for the country you are a legal resident of or the country you originate from).

Furthermore, if you are from Country A and have a residence permit for Country B, your Canadian visa application can be from Country B.

However, if you are simply visiting Country B and have no legal residency there, you have to apply at the Canadian embassy or Visa Application Center responsible for your jurisdiction, in your own country or otherwise.

You can submit your biometrics at a Canadian Visa Application center. The Canadian embassy will send you a letter to notify you of when you have to give your biometrics. To receive the letter, you must pay the biometrics fee when you submit your Canadian visa application.

There are Visa Application Centers worldwide where you can submit your biometrics. Visit the website of the one closest to you to inquire about the fees and services they offer.

Do I Need to Submit Biometrics For my Canadian Visa Application?

Yes, most visa applicants have to give their biometrics (fingerprints and picture) when applying for a Canada visa, irrespective of the visa type being applied for.

What Does a Canadian Visa look like?

A Canadian visa is a imprint on the passport and has a distinct look. It usually does not include a picture, but includes the following information:

  • The place the visa was issued;
  • Date of issuance and expiration;
  • Number of entries allowed;
  • Document number;
  • Visa category;
  • Visa type;
  • The visa holder’s last and first name;
  • Passport number.

As exemplified below, three sorts of how Canada visas look for visitors, workers, and immigrants are displayed.

Canada Immigrant VisaCanada Employment VisaCanada Visitor Visa

How Can I Travel to The US as a Canadian Visa Holder?

To travel to the US from Canada,  application for a US visa in Canada might be a prerequisite. However, if you are a citizen of a country in the Visa Waiver Program, you are not required to apply for a US visa from Canada, but you will have to apply for ESTA to substitute for a visa.