A visitor means a person who is sanctioned by law Canada or seeks to come to Canada temporarily to visit and who is not a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or the holder of a minister’s permit. Every visitor, unless from exempted countries, must apply for and obtain a visa before appearing at a Port of Entry (POE). All visitors who are required to obtain a visa must possess a visa when they appear at a POE. Canada nowadays has many diplomatic agreements with some nations, exempting them from visas (require only Travel Document Authorization) depending on the duration of visitors’ stay in Canada.
Visitor Visa: About the document
A visitor visa (also called a temporary resident visa) is an official document that we stick in your passport. It shows that you meet the requirements needed to enter Canada.
Most travelers need a visitor visa to travel to Canada. You may also need one if you’re transiting through a Canadian airport on your way to your final destination.
You can apply for a visitor visa online or on paper.
How long you can stay
Most visitors can stay for up to 6 months in Canada.
At the port of entry, the border services officer may allow you to stay for less or more than 6 months. If so, they’ll put the date you need to leave in your passport. They might also give you a document, called a visitor record, which will show the date you need to leave by.
If you don’t get a stamp in your passport, you can stay for 6 months from the day you entered Canada or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. If you need a stamp, you can ask a border services officer for one. If you arrive at an airport that uses primary inspection kiosks, ask the border officer after you finish at the kiosk.
Make sure you need a visitor visa before you apply
You may need a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization. The entry document you need depends on:
Find out if you need a visitor visa