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What is a visitor VISA?

A visitor visa is a document that illustrates that you meet the requirements to enter Canada. You can apply for a visitor visa online or on paper. Most travellers need a visitor visa to travel to Canada.

How long does a visitor VISA last?

Often, a visitor is authorized to stay up to a period of 6 months in Canada. The date that the visitor is required to leave is clearly marked by an immigration officer on a person’s passport. At a port of entry, an immigration officer may permit you to enter Canada for under or over 6 months. A document titled Visitor Record may also be issued to a traveller indicating the date of required departure. If there is no stamp on the passport, then the visitor can stay for a period of 6 months from the date of entry into Canada or until a passport expires, whichever comes first.

It is important to know how long your visitor visa is valid for to avoid overstaying. This will cause problems of re-entry in the future where a visitor visa could be denied.

How do I determine eligibility to visit Canada?

There are basic requirements to be eligible for a visitor visa to Canada. You will require a valid travel document (i.e.: passport; have no criminal or immigration-related convictions; be in good health (i.e.: you may be asked to do a medical exam); have enough money for your stay (i.e.: proof of funds); demonstrate ties to your home country (i.e.: persuade an immigration officer of your ties that will take you back home such as your job, family, assets, etc.); convince an immigration officer that you will in fact leave at the end of your authorized stay in Canada and provide an invitation letter (see below). At Aitken Robertson, we ensure the above factors are adequately met when we submit your visa application to Immigration and Citizenship Canada.

What is an invitation letter?

When a foreign national wishes to visit Canada, often he or she may be required to provide to Immigration Canada an invitation letter as part of the visa application. An invitation letter is a written letter from the person you are visiting in Canada. This person can be a friend, colleague, family member or anyone else. The invitation letter demonstrates that the person you are visiting and staying with has invited you to do so. Some important details must be provided in this letter to satisfy Immigration Canada to offer you a temporary resident visa. The person by default guarantees that you will not overstay your visit. The person is not legally responsible for you. Nevertheless, it is expected that the letter is written in good faith and that the person intends to keep the promises made in the letter.

The invitation letter should be notarized, a service our firm offers. You must then submit the invitation letter to the Canadian embassy or consulate outside of Canada along with your application for a temporary resident visa. Speak to one of our immigration lawyers to get more information about how to provide an adequate invitation letter to strength your application to visit Canada.

Who is inadmissible to Canada?

If you are inadmissible to Canada, it means that you are not allowed entry into the country for specific reasons. These often include criminal activity, human rights violations, organized crime, security, health problems, financial reasons and/or a criminal record.

Note* Changes to Impaired Driving and Cannabis-related Crime Laws in Canada

There are new penalties for impaired driving and cannabis related criminal offences that will affect your immigration status in Canada or visitor visa application. If you are convicted of one of these criminal offences, you may lose your status and have to leave Canada or be denied entry into the country.

What is the difference between a single entry VISA and a multiple entry VISA?

The main difference between these two visa types is that a single entry visa allows entry to Canada for one-time only whereas a multiple entry visa allows entry multiple times.

A multiple entry visa will let you travel to Canada for six months at a time as many times as you wish. It will be valid for up to 10 years or one month before your passport expires, whichever is shorter. You must arrive in Canada on or before the expiry date on your visa. A single entry visa lets you travel to Canada only once. Once you leave Canada, you will need a new visa to enter Canada again. You will not need a new visitor visa to return to Canada if you are travelling directly to the United States (including its Territories and Possessions) or St. Pierre and Miquelon.

You don’t need to choose the type of entry visa to obtain. A multiple entry visa is the type of visa that all applicants are automatically considered for. The immigration officer will make this decision upon review of your application.

Do I need a Canadian VISA if I already have a US VISA?

Yes. You will need a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization to travel to, or transit through, Canada.

Looking to get a visitor VISA a family member to Canada? Contact us today to learn how we can help.
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