Foreign nationals who intend to live in Canada for studies, tourism, work, or permanent residence would require the Canadian visa stamp on their passport. Those who own an Electronic Travel Authorization or come from a country to which Canada provides visa exemption do not need this visa stamp.
The Electronic Travel Authorization is a document that permits members of selected countries to visit Canada without a visa. However, there are restrictions on the level of freedom due to a person with the ETA document.
There are several types of Canadian Visas – Tourist Visa, Student visa, Express entry Canada program, and work visa. These visa types are classified into Temporary and Permanent Visas.
The list below would guide you on what visas serve a temporary or permanent purpose.
Temporary Canadian Visa
- Holiday Visa
- Student Visa
- Organ Donor Visa
- Business Immigrant Visa
- Childbirth Visa
- Super visa for grandparents and parents
- Tourist Visa
- Diplomatic Visa
- Temporary Work Visa
Permanent Canadian Visa
- Start-up visa
- Family sponsorship program
- Selected Quebec worker program
- Self-employed visa
- Investor Visa
- Live-in caregiver program
Get more visa guides to other countries here
Complete Process For Canada Visa Application
Filling the Canadian visa application is quite easily done, as long as you follow the step by step process we would discuss in this guide:
Check your eligibility status
The first step to applying for a Canadian visa is confirming your eligibility status. If you are not eligible for any temporary or permanent visas, your dream to travel to Canada would be a mere wish.
To confirm your status, you would have to answer a questionnaire drawn up by the Canadian authorities. With more than 80 different Canadian immigration programs available, you can check your eligibility for any of them through this link – https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/come-canada-tool.html
For temporary residency, you have to be eligible in one of these three programs:
- Temporary Foreign workers program
- Post-graduation Canada work permit visa program
- International Experience Canada
For permanent residency, you have to be eligible in one of the following:
- Provincial Nominee Program
- Federal Skilled Trades Program
- Canadian Experience Class Visa
- Federal Skilled Worker Program
Once you fill the questionnaire, you would either be eligible or not eligible for any visa. If you qualify for other visas different from those you checked eligibility for, the system would automatically match your status with those visas.
You would be asked to provide your email if you are eligible, after which a set of documents would be sent to you. These documents would guide you on your application. A reference code which seals the questionnaire process would also be sent to you. Losing this code would mean you have to start the eligibility confirmation process again.
Create an Online Account
After checking the eligibility criteria, the next step is to create an account for completing the rest of the formalities. The emailed documents you received would determine whether you would register online or offline.
For online registration, two methods are offered by the Canadian Government for opening an account:
- GC Key – Through a simple process, anyone can create a Government of Canada login.
- Sign-in partner – Here, the user registers with a Sign-in partner. In simple terms, Canadian banking information can be used by the user to register an account. The Government of Canada has partnered with several banks to make the process easy.
Sign in and Start Applying
Enter your reference code to start your visa application. You would then be required to upload some specific documents for your application. Some of these documents are:
- Clearance document from the Police
- Required photographs
- Evidence of financial buoyancy
- Civil Identity and Status Document
- Reason for Visit
- Invitation letter to Canada.
- Evidence of return after visa expiration
- Evidence of paid fees
- Medical Examination document
If any of your documents are missing, you’ll need to fill the waiver form.
For updates on the list of required documents, consistently check the IRCC checklist.
Your application form can be submitted online or offline. The Government encourages online applications due to the complications involved with the offline method.
For instance, the processing time for an online visa is less than the time taken for an offline application.
(Citizens of Venezuela Republic need to follow extra steps when filling the application form)
For the online application page, select one of the options provided on the dropdown.
Payment of Fee
After you submit all the required documents, the next stage for you is the payment of fees.
The visa application form will automatically redirect you to the fee payment portal, once you complete the previous step. The amount you will pay for a visa depends on the type of visa you apply for.
However, the minimum fee you would pay might not be less than C$75
You will pay a restoration fee of C$200 if your status in Canada expires within ninety days.
Start Visa Processing
At this stage, your application is transferred to the Canadian Embassy for processing. The time involved in visa processing differs based on the country of origin.
In situations like the COVID 19 pandemic, the visa service would be delayed for those who have already submitted it.
During the processing, the Visa authorities might ask the applicant to have a physical interview with embassy officials, undergo a medical examination, or provide a certificate from the police force.
If an interview is conducted for you with the embassy officials, they can instantly decide if you get the visa or not. However, all information regarding your visa application would be posted on your online account, where you can always have access to it as long as you check.
Once the processing has been completed, all the original documents submitted offline would be returned to the applicants, but fake forms or bank statements found would not be returned.
If the visa application is approved, there would be a visa stamp on the passport. However, if it is rejected, a proper explanation will be sent to the applicant.
If your visa is approved, are you assured of entering into Canada?
A visa does not seal entry into Canada.
On arrival at the Canadian airport, specific procedures must be completed before entry is guaranteed:
- Fingerprint checks at the Primary inspection kiosk
- Confirmation of identity through earlier provides information.
- Passport stamp by border security officials
How do I fill the field for questions that do not relate to me?
Specific fields do not apply to some applicants.
Visa applications are lengthy and are created with the inclusion of various possibilities.
Nevertheless, keeping those fields blank is not an option when filling a visa form. Instead, give an N/A reply to the non-applicable questions.
For the online form, the N/A option might not be available as a choice; thus, the question can be left blank.
Are there any possibilities of presently processing a visa for urgent situations?
The Government of Canada considers a few cases where a visa needs to be processed urgently. Some of these cases are:
- Citizenship Grant
- Renouncement of Citizenship
- Citizenship Proof
- Search for Citizenship Records
What is UCI?
UCI or Unique Client Identifier is an Identification Number included in the official document an applicant receives from the visa authorities of Canada.
For first time applicants, the UCI section of the form is irrelevant. They can fill in N/A for offline application and leave the space blank for online application.
What happens to the fees paid when the application gets rejected?
Your entire fee would be refunded to you.
An application is denied due to incomplete information provided, Full program, or submission before the program is re-opened.
The refund process is completed in six weeks. You can submit a request for a refund if you are yet to get your fee after six weeks.
However, the biometric fee is non-refundable.
Can you include a family member in your application?
The Canadian Visa form provides a slot for you to include any family member of your choice. Although the family member you choose might not immigrate immediately, it will reduce complications for a future Canada immigration.
What do I gain if I have a Canadian relative?
If you have a Canadian relative, your entry would be relatively easy.
However, you have to be a first-degree relative – siblings or parents.
Second-degree relatives, such as Grandparents and Grandchildren, would also be considered.
COVID 19 Regulations
Due to the spread of the virus, strict regulations have been put in place to guide foreign nationals traveling to Canada.
Currently, traveling to Canada for recreational or tourism purposes is restricted.
However, some foreign nationals are exempted from travel restrictions. They are:
- Foreign students.
- Members of the Canadian force and the Department of National Defence.
- All first degree relatives of Canadian force workers and accredited diplomats.
- Crew members for aircraft and marine ships.
- Foreign nationals:
- Traveling for essential reasons.
- Coming directly from the U.S.
- Staying in Canada for a minimum of 15 consecutive days.
- All immediate family members who are seeking to reunite with a Canadian resident member. He/she must have written authorization.
- COVID 19 medical personnel invited by the Ministry of Health.
- Individuals whose presence would foster national interest and economic growth.
Other sets of people allowed to travel into the country are protected persons, Canadian citizens, and permanent Canadian residents.
Anyone allowed to enter Canada must have a quarantine plan of 14 days, whether infected or not. The plan should contain details of where you’d stay during the quarantine period and how you’d access food, medical care, and other services.
Refusal to follow up with the plan would subject you to penalties of a fine, a jail term, or possible ban and expulsion from Canada.
For air travelers, you must undergo the regular airline health check and wear a mask/ face covering during the flight and at your quarantine point.
For land and air travelers, you must provide your personal information through any of the mobile app or paper form formats.
You must also be screened by a border or quarantine officer.
Demand for Canada Immigration has grown over the years due to the advancement recorded in the country. Students and professionals across the world look for opportunities to work or school in Canada.
Therefore, understanding the visa process would increase your chances of getting an approved Canadian visa.