Visitor Visa checklist: Everything you need to apply and visit Canada

Asheesh Moosapeta
Published: February 29, 2024

A visitor visa is needed to come to Canada as a tourist, or on a quick trip to visit family, or do business for individuals of many countries.

Anyone who is not a permanent or temporary resident of Canada (those with a work or study permit) will need a visitor visa to enter the country. However, citizens of certain countries do not need a visitor visa and can instead pursue an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). eTAs are a more streamlined form or travel authorisation available to nationals of countries that have visa-free travel agreements with Canada. For answers to common questions on eTAs, click here.

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What is needed to get a Canadian visitor visa?

1. Complete the needed forms

Depending on whether you are applying inside or outside of Canada, you will need to fill in different forms. Those applying outside of Canada will require:

  • Application for temporary resident visa (IMM 5257);
  • Family information form (IMM 5707);
  • Statutory declaration of common-law union (IMM 5409);
  • Use of representative (IMM 5476)—Note this is only required if you have used the services of a representative, or if you are appointing or cancelling use of a representative; and
  • Authority to release personal information to a designated individual (IMM 5475)—Note this form is only required if you authorise Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to release information from your case file to someone other than yourself (i.e.: a representative or authorised relative).

2. Collect the needed documentation

In addition to the above forms, applicants for a visitor visa will need to following documentation in support of their request:

  • Receipt of fee payment;
  • A photocopy of the information page of your passport, including: the passport number, issuance and expiry dates, and your photo, name, issue date, and place of birth;
  • Two photos meeting the requirements of the visa application photograph specifications. On the back of these two photos applicants must write their name and date of birth. If applicants are required to provide biometric fingerprints and photo they do not have to attach these photos;
  • Proof of financial support, proving that you can support yourself and any family member accompanying you while you are in Canada;
  • Photocopy of your marriage license or certificate (if relevant);
  • Letter explaining the purpose of your travel;
  • Photocopy of your current immigration status (if your country of residence differs from the country of citizenship listed on your passport, you must provide proof of legal status in your country of residence);
  • Minors travelling alone or with one parent must provide custody documents or a letter of authorisation from the other non-accompanying parent of a letter of authorisation signed by both parent or legal guardians; and
  • Any other additional documents required by the responsible visa office in your region.

Note that application forms completed online must be completed and validated with the generation of a barcode. If completed on a computer, these barcodes will be automatically attached to the immigration forms, otherwise they must be printed and placed at the top of an application if applying by paper.

How to pay required fees and prove fee payment to IRCC

There are two kinds of fees that applicants for a visitor visa may need to pay. These are application processing fees, and biometric fees. Those who do not need to provide biometrics may be exempt from the second set of fees—find out if you need to give biometrics here.

Application processing fees for visitor visas are $100 CAD per person, and $500 CAD for a family (five or more people).

Biometrics fees on the other hand are $85 CAD per person, and $170 per family (two or more people).

These fees may be subject to change and cannot be refunded regardless of the decision reached on your application. In addition, the only accepted method to pay these fees is online.

After following the given instructions and completing the process, you must wait until an official IRCC receipt is issued with a barcode. Applicants are advised to save this file and attach a copy of it to their application.

How to provide proof of financial support

There are several documents that you can use to prove that you can support yourself and any dependents that accompany you while you are visiting Canada.

Some examples include cash, certified cheque, bank draft, or money order in a large enough amount to cover all reasonable expenses incurred during your stay in Canada.

In addition, written or verbal statements (which can be verified) can also be used, provided that they satisfy an officer that sufficient financial support from friends and/or family has been arranged and can cover reasonable incurable expenses during your stay.

Other documents include bank statements, a letter of employment or previous tax filing information,

How to write a “purpose of travel” letter

All foreign nationals entering Canada must be able to satisfy an officer at their time of entry that they have legitimate reasons to enter and reside in Canada. In the context of a visitor visa, this can often also include proving that you (the foreign national) will leave Canada once the period of your authorised stay expires.

In some cases, visitor visa applicants may also need a letter of invitation from a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Applying with family members

Visitor visa applicants wishing to bring their family with them on their trip to Canada must complete an application form for each family member. All applications may be submitted together online or at the VAC where you will send your application on paper. A single receipt may also be given for all included applications.

Lastly all family members and dependents must meet all requirements for temporary residence in Canada.

Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration

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