How to go to Canada as a visitor?

Canada’s visitor visa has four types:

  1. Multiple Entry Visa (M.E.V),
  2. Single Entry Visa (S.E.V),
  3. Transit Visa,
  4. and Super Visa.

I will briefly discuss each type of visitor visa in the following topics:

Single Entry Visa (S.E.V):

This visa allows you to enter Canada only once. However, if you visit the USA or St. Pierre et Miquelon within your authorized period of stay, you can re-enter without applying for a new visa. This visa is issued in limited circumstances when your purpose of the visit is limited to one instance, for example, an official visit by a foreign national, attending a one-time special event, or if the Canadian government has any specific procedures or guidelines in place for your country.

Multiple Entry Visa (M.E.V)

This visa allows you to enter Canada as many times as necessary during your visa’s validity period. This type of visa is usually issued for 10 years or up to the expiry of your passport minus 1 month. This is a standard visa unless there is a specific reason for the officer to issue you a single-entry visa.

Transit Visa

Some foreign nationals will need a transit visa who are going through Canada to another country, without stopping in or visiting Canada. If you need a visitor visa to enter Canada, you will need a transit visa if you are going through Canada. This visa is issued free of charge.

Who is eligible for a visitor visa?

You must meet some basic requirements to get a visitor visa.

You must:

  • have a valid travel document, like a passport
  • be in good health
  • have no criminal or immigration-related convictions
  • have a family—that will take you back to your home country and convince an immigration officer that you have ties—such as a job, home, and financial assets, or
  • be able to convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit, will not overstay or need an extension.
  • have enough money for your stay
  • sufficient financial resources to cover the cost of your residence in Canada and still meet your needs in your country. The amount of money you will need depends on how long you will stay and if you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives.
  • Medical exam if you stay for more than six months in Canada.
  • Obtain a letter of invitation from your host in Canada.
  • Check the visitor visa guide and get a list of documents you need based on your situation.

Please note that some people are inadmissible to Canada, meaning, regardless of their documentation and valid reasons for visiting the country they are not allowed to enter Canada. You can be inadmissible for several reasons, including being involved in:

  • criminal activity
  • human rights violations
  • organized crime
  • You can also be inadmissible for security, health, or financial reasons among a full list of inadmissibility factors explained in the first chapter.

What is a Super Visa?

This is a multiple-entry temporary resident visa issued to parents and grandparents of a Canadian permanent resident or citizen. Currently, a Super visa is issued for ten years, multiple entries and with an authorized stay of up to 5 years on each entry. The 5 years authorized stay can be further extended from inside Canada by additional 2 years at a time.

Who is eligible for a Super Visa and what documents are required for the super visa application?

The super visa offers parents and grandparents the possibility of visiting Canada for up to 5 years on each entry to Canada. An applicant is eligible for a super visa if they meet the requirements for temporary residence in Canada as a visitor and provide all additional required documentation.

To be eligible for a super visa, applicants must provide the following:

  • proof of their relationship to the child or grandchild (who must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident), such as
  • a copy of the child’s or grandchild’s birth certificate
  • a copy of the child’s or grandchild’s baptismal certificate
  • another official document naming the applicant as the parent or grandparent
  • proof of an immigration medical examination and of being admissible to Canada on health grounds
  • proof of private medical insurance from a Canadian insurance company valid for a minimum period of 1 year from the date of entry. The private medical insurance must:
    • be purchased from a Canadian insurance company
    • be paid in full (quotes and payments in installments are not accepted)
    • cover the applicant for health care, hospitalization, and repatriation
    • provide a minimum of $100,000 in emergency coverage
    • be valid for each entry to Canada and available for review by the border services officer upon request
  • a letter of invitation written and signed by the host child or grandchild that includes the following:
  • a promise of financial support for the length of the applicant’s intended stay in Canada
  • a list of all members of the household in Canada (including the visiting parent(s) or grandparent(s)
  • a copy of the host child or grandchild’s Canadian citizenship or permanent resident document
  • proof of financial support by the child or grandchild. This means that the child or grandchild who invites the applicant must prove that their household meets the low-income cut-off (or LICO). Please note the Canadian or permanent resident spouse or common-law partner of the host child or grandchild may co-sign the invitation letter to meet the LICO minimum. The following documents are examples of what the child or grandchild, including the co-signer, can use as proof of financial support:
    • notice of assessment (N.O.A) for the most recent tax year
    • T4 or T1 for the most recent tax year
    • pay stubs
  • Employment Insurance benefit statement, including:
    • a letter from an accountant confirming the child’s or grandchild’s annual income, if they are self-employed, and/or
    • proof of other sources of income (for example, pension statement, investments)
    • an original letter from the employer stating the job title, job description and salary,
    • and finally bank statements

Understand your visa codes:

This is a long list of all the visa codes you may find on your visa counterfoil.

B-1: is issued for Business Visitor

C-1: is issued for Courtesy

D-1: is issued for Diplomat

F-1: is issued for Facilitation Visa

IM-1: is issued for Immigrants (single-entry visa for PR)

0-1: i is issued for Official

P A-1: is issued for Permit Holder

PAX-1: is issued for National Interest TRP

PC-1: is issued for Permit Holder with Valid TRP

PG-1: is issued for Parents or Grandparents Super Visa

R-1: is issued for Passed-Residency Obligation

RA-1: is issued for Presence at Appeal

RC-1: is issued for Passed H&C – PR Travel Document

RX-1: is issued for Attending a PR hearing.

S-1: is issued for A student with Study Permit

SW-1: is issued for An international student with Study & Work Permit

SX-1: is issued for study permit-exempt students.

V-1: is issued for Visitor

VH-1: is issued for Visitors in Transit for not more than 48 hours

W-1: is issued for a worker with Work Permit

WX-1: is issued for Work permit-exempt workers

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