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Anyone that does not seek permanent residency is not a citizen or is not the holder of a minister’s permit can only be legally allowed into Canada as a visitor. Essentially, according to Canadian Law, a ‘visitor’ is the person who is already lawfully in Canada or someone that seeks to come into Canada for temporary purposes either for study, work or a visit.

Unless a visitor is specifically exempted from doing so, they have to apply for a visa and obtain it before being allowed into the country through any Port of Entry in Canada. Each visitor must, therefore, have a legally issued visa when they get to the Port of Entry before getting into the country.

Furthermore, since November 2016, any air traveler from a visa exempted country or otherwise is now required to have an eTA or Electronic Travel Authorization before boarding a flight to Canada. Whether you are transiting through Canada or traveling to Canada, the eTA is now a requirement.

In order to acquire a Canadian visitor visa and be admitted into the country, the following steps must be followed:

  • STEP-1: You must apply for and submit your visitor visa application in your home country and at the responsible Canadian visa office in your home country. Before your application is fully accepted, you may be required to go for an interview so that the visa officer can verify your reasons for visiting Canada. The visa officer will also seek to establish your willingness or ability to leave Canada and return to your home country within the visa validity period. Additionally, further requirements for admission into Canada will be scrutinized.
  • STEP-2: The second step comes after your visa has been issued and you are at a port of entry in Canada. At this stage, an immigration officer will ask you some questions to verify your admissibility into Canada.
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If it is probable that you will be making several visits to Canada, then it may be better for you to seek a multiple entry use visitor’s visa instead of a single entry visitor’s visa.

Single entry visas are usually a lot easier to acquire and are often routinely granted for a period of six months from the date of issue.

Multiple entry visas can be repeatedly used for up to 10 years or up to one month before the expiry date on the passport or re-entry visa, whichever comes first.

There are some circumstances where you are not allowed to apply for a visitor’s visa to Canada. For example, if you already have an immigrant’s visa, then you cannot apply for a visitor’s visa.

Some of the main reasons why you would want to get a visitor’s visa to Canada will include the following:

If you seek to visit Canada for tourism purposes or to visit a family member, then the best application that will suit you is a visitor visa. Before traveling to Canada, for family or tourism reasons it is important to ensure that you have all the necessary travel documentation. Before being granted access to Canada you may, for example, be required to provide a letter of invitation to support your visa application. The invitation letter will not necessarily guarantee that you will gain access into the country because other factors may come into play including; your nationality, how you travel to Canada, the other travel documents that you have, and so on.

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If you are a parent or grandparent of a child that is a permanent resident or a citizen, then instead of the ordinary visitor visa to Canada, you may apply for the super visa for parents and grandparents.

The validity period of the super visa is 10 years or one month prior to the applicant’s passport expiry, whichever comes first. During any period of visit using the super visa, the applicant can only be in the country for a maximum continuous period of 2 years with the super visa.

A super visa is also a useful option for the citizens of visa exempt countries since they would normally get a visa for a maximum period of 6 months only.

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If you are a business person or an investor seeking to explore business or investment opportunities in Canada, then the most appropriate visitor’s visa that you should apply for is the Canadian Business visitor’s visa.

The main reasons for requesting such a visa will often range from:

  • Meeting business partners in Canada
  • Attending different forums including seminars
  • Meeting a seller for your existing business
  • Surveying a new business venture in Canada. And so on.

It is also important to note that applicants are also usually required to have their main source of income outside of Canada in order to be granted this visa.

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