Visit Canada and Ontario

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Visit Canada and Ontario

Every year, more than 35 million people visit Canada to enjoy the many opportunities our country has to offer, including visiting family and friends. Depending on where you live, you will need to meet certain entry requirements. Make sure you meet the basic requirements to visit Canada.

VISIT AS A TOURIST

To visit Canada, you must:

  • have a valid travel document, such as a passport;
  • be in good health;
  • satisfy an immigration officer that you have ties, such as a job, home, financial assets and family, that will take you back to your country of origin;
  • satisfy an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit; and
  • have enough money for your stay. The amount of money you will need can vary with the circumstances of the visit, how long you will stay and whether you will stay in a hotel or with friends or relatives. For more information, ask the Canadian visa office in your country or region.

You may also need:

  • a temporary resident (visitor) visa, depending on your citizenship;
  • a medical exam; and
  • a letter of invitation from someone who lives in Canada.

Travel documents

Transport companies, such as airlines, must make sure you have proper, valid travel documents to enter Canada. If you do not have the proper documents, you may be delayed or not be able to board the plane. The following travel documents are considered unreliable and are not acceptable for entry into Canada:

  • any passport claiming to have been issued by Somalia
  • non-machine readable passports issued by the Czech Republic
  • temporary passports issued by the Republic of South Africa
  • provisional passports issued by Venezuela

This list is subject to change. Check it regularly for up-to-date information

Apply for a visitor visa

Before you plan your visit, you should find out if you need a visa to enter Canada. If you do need a visa, find out how to apply.

If you are currently a temporary resident in Canada with a valid status (that is, a study or work permit), you can apply for a new visitor visa to return to Canada before you leave.

Check processing times

Most applications for visitor visas (temporary resident visas) are processed within a few weeks or less. Processing times vary depending on the visa office.

After you apply: get next steps

Find out what you should do after you apply for a visitor visa.

Prepare for your arrival

Be prepared and know what to expect when you arrive in Canada.

Extend your visa

To extend your stay in Canada, you should apply 30 days before your status expires.

VISIT YOUR CHILDREN OR GRANDCHILDREN

Parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents have a new option for visiting Canada. As of December 1, 2011, you may be eligible to apply for the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa – which is valid for up to 10 years and allows an applicant to remain in Canada for up to 24 months at a time without the need for renewal of their status.

Determine your eligibility

To apply for the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa, you must:

  • be the parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada;
  • be found admissible to Canada; and
  • meet certain other conditions.

Note: You cannot include dependants in this application. Only your spouse or common-law partner is eligible to accompany you under this provision.

Visa officers consider several factors before deciding if a person is admissible. The person must be a genuine visitor to Canada who will leave by choice at the end of the visit. Among the things that could be considered are:

  • the person’s ties to the home country;
  • the purpose of the visit;
  • the person’s family and financial situation;
  • the overall economic and political stability of the home country; and
  • an invitation from a Canadian host.

In addition to being found admissible to Canada, the parent or grandparent must also:

  • provide a written commitment of financial support from their child or grandchild in Canada who meets a minimum income threshold;
  • prove that they have bought Canadian medical insurance coverage for at least one year; and
  • complete an Immigration Medical Examination.

Visa-Exempt Visitors

You may need a temporary resident visa to visit Canada, depending on your citizenship. However, if you are visa-exempt, you may still benefit from the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa provisions.

Apply for a Super Visa

Before you plan your visit, you should find out if you need a visa to enter Canada. You may need a temporary resident visa to visit Canada, depending upon your citizenship. If you do need a visa, find out how to apply.

Even if you do not need a visa you may still benefit from the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa. If you would like to stay in Canada for up to two years, you may obtain a Parent and Grandparent Super Visa by applying for a temporary resident visa. You will also need to meet some specific requirements.

Check processing times

Most applications for super visas (temporary resident visas) are processed within a few weeks or less. Processing times vary depending on the visa office.

After you apply: get next steps

Find out what you should do after you apply for a super visa.

Prepare for your arrival

Be prepared and know what to expect when you arrive in Canada.

Extend your visa

To extend your stay in Canada, you should apply 30 days before your status expires.

VISIT ON BUSINESS

Every year, thousands of international business people come to Canada to do business with Canadian companies. There are requirements you must meet to be allowed into Canada. This information will help you avoid problems that can affect your business plans.

Determine your eligibility

You may qualify as a business visitor if you are a foreign national who plans to visit Canada temporarily to look for new business opportunities, to invest or to advance existing business relationships.

If you are from a country that requires a visa to visit Canada, you must apply for a temporary resident visa just like any other temporary visitor to Canada. There is no separate application for business visitors. The temporary resident visa covers all visitors, including those in Canada on business.

Business visitors usually stay in Canada for a few days or a few weeks. To be considered a business visitor you must show that:

  • you intend to stay for less than six months and do not plan to enter the Canadian labour market
  • your main place of business and source of income is located outside Canada
  • profits from your business will accrue outside Canada
  • you can provide documents that support your application and
  • you meet Canada’s basic entry requirements. You:
    • have a valid travel document, such as a passport
    • have enough money for your stay and to return home
    • plan to leave Canada at the end of your visit and
    • do not pose criminal, security or health risks to Canadians.

Cross-border business can include activities like:

  • buying Canadian goods or services for a foreign business or government
  • taking orders for goods or services
  • attending meetings, conferences, conventions or trade fairs
  • providing after-sales service (mainly supervision, not hands-on labour)
  • being trained by a Canadian parent company you work for outside Canada
  • training employees of a Canadian subsidiary of a foreign company or
  • being trained by a Canadian company that has sold you equipment or services.

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, a U.S. or Mexican national may also take part in other activities, such as research, marketing and general service. For detailed information, see the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada website.

If you plan to stay longer than six months or intend to work in Canada, you may be considered a temporary worker and have to apply for a work permit.

If you need a temporary resident visa, as a business visitor, you must submit certain documents when applying:

  • a letter of invitation from your potential business partner in Canada and
  • 24-hour contact details for that person.

You may also need identification cards or proof of employment. For more information, see Canadian visa offices to find the visa office responsible for the country or region where you live.

Apply

Before you plan your visit, you should find out if you need a visa to enter Canada. If you do not need a visa to enter Canada, you will still need to meet some specific requirements. If you do need a visa, find out how to apply.

Check processing times

Most applications for visitor visas (temporary resident visas) are processed within a few weeks or less. Processing times vary depending on the visa office.

After you apply: get next steps

Find out what you should do after you apply for a visitor visa.

Prepare for arrival

Be prepared and know what to expect when you arrive in Canada.

Extend your visa

To extend your stay in Canada, you should apply 30 days before your status expires.

Bring business guests to Canada

You can avoid problems or delays when you bring your foreign business guests to Canada by following certain guidelines.

EXTEND YOUR STAY

When you arrive at the port of entry in Canada, a Canada Border Services Officer (BSO) will stamp your passport or travel document and record the date by which you must leave Canada. The BSO will also note any terms and conditions related to your visit. There may be times you wish to extend your visitor status or change the conditions of your visit.

If you wish to extend your status date, you should apply 30 days before your status expires in order to do any of the following:

  • extend your visitor, student or work status
  • change the type of permit you hold (for example, from a student to a work permit)
  • change a condition of your permit (for example, if you are studying and you want to change schools, or if you are working and your want to change jobs)

Find out how to apply to extend your stay.

Implied status

If your visitor visa expires after you have submitted your application for an extension of your authorization to remain in Canada, you will be considered in status as a temporary resident (visitor) until a decision is made on the application. This is known as implied status.

Working or studying in Canada

Most visitors to Canada are not allowed to work or study in Canada without permission.

You must apply for a work permit or a study permit before coming to Canada. If you are visiting Canada and you want to work or study, you must leave Canada and apply from your home country. However, in some cases, working or studying without a permit is allowed. For more information, see:

Getting a visitor visa from within Canada

If you are currently a temporary resident in Canada with a valid status (i.e. study or work permit), you can apply for a new visitor visa to return to Canada before you leave.

Becoming a permanent resident of Canada

If you wish to stay in Canada as a permanent resident, you must leave the country and apply from outside Canada, except in the special circumstances listed below. To become a permanent resident, you must meet the requirements for immigration to Canada.

You can apply to become a permanent resident from inside Canada if:

  • you are a refugee or a protected person
  • you are a spouse or common-law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • you are a live-in caregiver
  • you hold a valid Temporary Residence Permit or
  • you are applying under the Canadian Experience Class.

Find more information about becoming a permanent resident.

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Author: AllOntario Team

AllOntario.ca is an information resource for Ontario residents and a marketplace for Ontario businesses. It’s all about living and doing business in Ontario. All in one site.