Canadian Tourist visas and other Temporary Visas to Canada

Do you need a visa to Canada?

Statistics show that over 30 million visa applications to Canada are received each year. The main reasons for wanting to go to Canada are for:

  • Trip or a short visit
  • Studies and school
  • Employment opportunities and work

If you are not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident in Canada, our office can assist you with the process of obtaining a temporary resident visa.

Below is a list of visa types that are not immigration visas:

  1. Visitor Visa

Most visitors to Canada are required to obtain a visa to Canada so that they can enter the country. If the traveler plans to stay in Canada for a short time it is likely that he will need a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to enter Canada.

What is an ETA? As of today (24/01/2019) there are 58 countries around the world that are exempt from needing a visitor visa to enter Canada by air. In the following link you can find the full list of these countries. Citizens of these countries do not need an ETA when entering Canada by land or sea.

An ETA is required from citizens of visa exempt countries that wish to enter Canada by air. The ETA is electronically linked to the passport of the traveler. The ETA is valid for up to 5 years or until the passport expires, whichever date is earlier. The ETA does not guarantee entry into Canada.

The ETA allows a visitor to stay in Canada for a maximum of 6 months, however, the border control agent has the discretion to limit the visit for a shorter period of time, as is also the case with a regular visitor visa to Canada.

The ETA is issued in a process that takes only a matter of minutes. Once approved, the ETA is valid for 5 years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. This means that a person can fly to Canada multiple times within that period of validity without having to apply again.

The time and ease of issuing a visitor visa, will depend on the place it is being submitted from and the manner of how it is submitted (online or in paper). As of today, if the request is made from Canada it will usually take approximately 14-19 days to receive an answer.


  1. Student Visa


This visa allows a foreign citizen to study a specific program in a recognized institution in Canada.


  1. Work visa to Canada


A temporary work visa allows a foreign citizen, that received an offer of employment from a local employer, to start working in Canada.

When considering a visit to Canada, consider the fact that you must submit your application and receive your visa before you get to the Canadian port of entry (POE). It is important to note that unless otherwise specified, the visa should always be in your possession and at any Canadian POE.

The procedure to obtain a visa can be simple if you have the right help guidance. The laws associated with visas can be complicated. For example, a visitor visa can be valid for one entry or multiple entries.

Visa to Canada for a single entry

  • Issued for up to 6 months before the date you plan to visit
  • Valid for up to 5 years or 30 days before your passport expires
  • If you are a foreign resident who has already begun the process of obtaining an immigration visa, you may not apply for a temporary resident visa in addition to the visa you are already applying for.

It is important to know that there are specific circumstances that may cause the issuance of the visitor visa to be delayed or accelerated.  Citizens of specific countries are prohibited from obtaining a visitor visa, and citizens of specific countries are exempt from this visa.


All said and explained in this article does not constitute a legal opinion and does not replace legal advice. Responsibility for using the wordings and opinions conveyed in this article relies solely and entirely on the reader.

This article was written by Dotan Cohen Law Offices, working in the field of immigration law in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

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