A Canadian temporary resident visa is an official document issued by a Canadian visa office. The temporary resident visa is placed in your passport to show that you have met the requirements for admission to Canada as a visitor, student or temporary worker. It does not guarantee your admission to the country. When you arrive at the point of entry, an officer from the Canada Border Service Agency will decide if you will be admitted. A change of circumstances between the time of your application for a temporary resident visa and your arrival in Canada or additional information available could still result in you being refused entry.
Who Needs a Temporary Resident Visa for Canada
Visitors from these countries require a temporary resident visa to either visit or transit Canada.
If you need a temporary resident visa, you must apply for one before you leave; you won't be able to get one once you arrive in Canada.
Types of Temporary Resident Visas for Canada
There are three types of temporary resident visas for Canada:
- Single entry visa-allows you to enter Canada just once. It can also be used for repeat entries from the United States or Saint-Pierre and Miquelon during the time validated for your stay in Canada as long as you do not enter another country. A single-entry visa is normally valid for six months.
- Multiple entry visa-allows you to enter Canada as many times as you wish for the time validated for your stay in Canada.
- Transit visa-required when you will be in Canada for 48 hours or less on your way to another country.
Requirements for a Temporary Resident Visa for Canada
When you apply for a temporary resident visa for Canada, you must satisfy the visa officer who reviews your application that you:
- Will leave Canada after your temporary stay
- Have enough money to support yourself and family members while you are in Canada, and enough to return home
- Do not intend to work or study in Canada unless authorized
- Will be law-abiding
- Have no record of criminal activity (a Police Certificate may be required)
- Are not a risk to the security of Canada
- Are in good health (a medical exam may be required)
Your passport should be valid for at least three months from your intended date of arrival in Canada since the validity of a temporary resident visa cannot be longer than the validity of a passport. If your passport is getting close to expiring, then have it renewed before you apply for a temporary resident visa.
You must also produce any additional documents requested to establish that you are admissible to Canada.
How to Apply for a Temporary Resident Visa for Canada
To apply for a temporary resident visa for Canada:
- Download the temporary resident application kit and guide. You can also contact the Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate responsible for your area to have a temporary resident visa application kit mailed to you.
- Read the guide carefully. Fees for temporary resident visa applications are not refundable, so be sure you are eligible for a temporary resident visa and can meet the requirements before you apply.
- Complete the form and attach the required documents. If you don't follow all the instructions or don't provide the necessary documents, your application could be delayed. Sign and date your application. Double check that you have completed the application fully and that you have enclosed all the required documents. Make a copy of your application for your own records.
- Pay the fee and get an official receipt. Check with your local visa office on fees and how to pay them.
- Submit your application. For details on accepted methods of submitting your application, consult the visa office responsible for your area.
Processing Times for Temporary Resident Visas for Canada
Most applications for temporary resident visas for Canada are processed in a month or less. You should apply for a temporary resident visa a minimum of one month before your scheduled departure date. If you are mailing your application, you should allow a minimum of eight weeks.
However, processing times vary depending on the visa office where you apply. The Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada maintains statistical information on processing times to give you an idea of how long applications at different visa offices have taken in the past to use as a general guideline.
Citizens of certain countries may need to complete additional formalities which could add several weeks or longer to the normal processing time. You will be advised if these requirements apply to you.
If you require a medical exam, it could add several months to the application processing time. Generally, no medical exam is required if you plan to visit Canada for less than six months. If you require a medical exam, a Canadian immigration officer will tell you and send you instructions.
Acceptance or Refusal of Application for Temporary Resident Visa for Canada
After reviewing your application for a temporary resident visa for Canada, a visa officer may decide that an interview with you is required. If so, you will be notified of the time and place.
If your application for a temporary resident visa is turned down, your passport and documents will be returned to you, unless the documents are fraudulent. You will also be given an explanation of why your application was refused. There is no formal appeal process if your application is refused. You can apply again, including any documents or information that may have been missing from the first application. There is no point in applying again unless your situation has changed or you include new information or there is a change in the purpose of your visit, as your application would most likely be refused again.
If your application is accepted, your passport and documents will be returned to you, along with your temporary resident visa.
Entering Canada With a Temporary Resident Visa
When you arrive in Canada a Canada Border Services Agency officer will ask to see your passport and travel documents and ask you questions. Even if you have a temporary resident visa, you must satisfy the officer that you are eligible to enter Canada and will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay. A change of circumstances between your application and your arrival in Canada or additional information available could still result in you being refused entry to Canada. The border officer will decide if and for how long, you may stay. The officer will stamp your passport or let you know how long you may stay in Canada.
Contact Information for Temporary Resident Visas for Canada
Please check with the Canadian visa office for your region for any specific local requirements, for additional information or if you have any questions about your application for a temporary resident visa for Canada.