For non-Canadians wanting to visit Canada, a visa is almost always a requirement. There are exceptions to this, of course. Citizens of certain countries like Japan and the United States, for example, are not required to present a visa before entering Canada at any point of entry (POE). The same goes for British overseas citizens who are permitted re-entry to the UK, and people holding passports or travel documents that are issued by the Holy See. For everyone else, however, a visa is needed to enter Canadian territory.
There are several types of Canadian visas, each with its own specific purpose; however, they all fall under two types: temporary entry visit visas and permanent residence visas.
The Temporary Entry Visit Visa permits the temporary entry of foreign nationals who are qualified visitors, students, or workers under several employment sponsorship programs. These individuals obtain a permit for staying in Canada based on their purpose of visit.
A Canada Visit Visa (also known as a Tourist Permit) is given to people who would like to enter Canadian borders for reasons other than studies or employment. The person who applies for this visa usually has the burden of convincing the consular officer that he or she is not an immigrant and will leave the country once the validity period is up.
The Canada Visit Visa is further subdivided into three categories: single entry visa, multiple-entry visa, and transit visa. The single entry visa allows the foreigner to enter Canada just once. The multiple-entry visa allows the foreigner to enter Canada as many times as he or she wants, provided that he or she is within the validated time of stay within Canada. Finally, the transit visa is given to visitors who will not stay for more than 48 hours in Canada on their way to another country.
A Canada Study Visa is also known as a Student Permit. The permit is issued to foreign students who wish to study under a Canadian academic institution. Studying in Canada is also a good option for those who aim to acquire permanent citizenship in Canada, since a study program in Canada will count towards the qualification period that is required to obtain Canadian citizenship.
A Canada Work Visa (Employment Permit) is given to skilled workers who are hired or sponsored by a legitimate Canadian company or employer. Like the Study Visa, the Work Visa is also a good way for foreigners who want a permanent citizenship in Canada to accomplish their goal.
Permanent Residence Visas are granted to foreigners who have undergone Family Class Sponsorship. Family Class sponsorship requires a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada to sponsor close relatives or family members who may want to permanently stay in Canada. Also, permanent residency may be given to federal skilled workers who have demonstrated an ability to become economically established in Canada. A point-based system is used to judge this.
To obtain a visa, you must show some required documents and prove to the consul officer that you meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations. You must also show that your stay in Canada will only be temporary and that you have enough money to maintain yourself in Canada and to go home.
You must fill out an application form (IMM 5257). The form can be obtained at your local Canadian Embassy or Consulate.
Proof of identity is needed as well. A valid passport or a travel document that guarantees re-entry to your country is preferred. You also need to provide two photos of yourself, which must have been taken within the last six months. The size must be 35mm x 45mm. The photos can be in color or black and white.
You must offer a proof of financial support. Any documentation stating that you have the sufficient funds to sustain yourself or your family during your stay in Canada, such as bank statements or proof of employment, is welcome. You also need to show proof of payment of the required fees.
You must submit your application to your local Canadian visa office for processing. If the consul officer decides that an interview is necessary, you will be informed of the required time and place for the interview. Also, remember that the processing fee will not be refunded, regardless of the outcome of your application. If you learn from this article, you’ll surely be interested in reading The Guide to Canada Tourism.