So it’s almost time for your trip to Canada!
You’ve got your tickets, you know the best hiking spots and where to eat afterward. Your hotels are booked and you’re almost ready to go!
But… will you be able to get into Canada?
Keep reading to find out the visa requirements to enter Canada as a tourist.
The first piece of good news is that you can generally apply for a Canadian tourist visa online. Simply go to Canada.ca and search for immigration. In a few circumstances, you may have to apply in person, but generally, you can apply online from the comfort of your home.
There are two types of visas which Canada commonly issues to international tourists. What type you apply for will depend on which country you are from.
If you are from a visa-exempt country you will need to apply for an electronic travel authorization (eTA), prior to entering Canada by plane. Nationals from most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States can enter with just an eTA.
To apply for your eTA, you will need to have handy:
- your passport,
- a credit or debit card, and
- a valid email address
The online process to complete your eTA is straightforward
You will be asked to fill in an online form with your details. This form cannot be saved so watch out! Once you’ve filled out that form you will then be asked to fill in your credit/debit card details.
You should then receive an email. On the Canadian government website, it says most requests are approved within minutes. If your claim is not approved, you should get an email within 72 hours requesting further information.
The eTA is electronically linked to your passport, so when you get that confirmation email you are ready to go!
Non-visa exempt countries
If you are from a non-visa exempt country then you will not be able to apply for the eTA. The process to get a visitor visa, which is usually valid for six months, varies according to your country of origin. However, the good news is that you can still apply online!
In order to apply for a Canadian visa, you will need to upload your documents into an online portal. So it’s a good idea to have already scanned your documents or to be ready to take some good and easy to read photos of your documents. You will also need a credit or debit card.
The first thing you will have to do is complete a questionnaire to determine what type of visa you want to apply for, which is most likely to be a tourist visa. You will then have to create a GCKey account to continue with your application.
This will then provide you a personalized list of the documents which you need to upload into the portal. You must upload a copy of each document into the system. Each person will have a different set of documents to upload.
Finally, after uploading your documents, you will have to pay for your visa
You should receive an update on your visa after 48 to 72 hours, although obviously, this time can vary. Once you’re approved, send your visa to the embassy to get that physical visa in your passport! And presto, you’re ready to go!
If you have any questions about the visa process, the best place to ask is directly at your nearest embassy. The Canadian government’s website also has a wealth of information.
Finally, enjoy your trip to Canada!