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 by 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.
You may need a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization. The entry document you need depends on:
Sometimes, when you apply for a visa to visit Canada, we ask you to give us a letter of invitation from someone in Canada.
A letter of invitation does not guarantee that we will issue a visa. Visa officers assess you to decide whether you meet the terms of Canada’s immigration law.
Information for the person writing the letter of invitation
Writing a letter of invitation does not mean you are legally responsible for the visitor once he or she gets to Canada.
You should still write the letter in good faith. You must tell the truth and plan to keep the promises you make in the letter.
Send your letter (notarized, if the visa office asks for that) to the person you are inviting to Canada. The person must then send this letter to the Canadian embassy or consulate outside of Canada when he or she applies for a temporary resident visa.
When you first come to Canada as a visitor, you use one of these documents to enter:
If you want to extend your stay in Canada as a visitor (stay in Canada longer), you need to apply for a visitor record. A visitor record is not a visa.
You must apply for a visitor record before your current status expires.
A visitor record is a document that continues to give you status as a visitor in Canada and allows you to stay longer. It doesn’t guarantee that you can leave and then re-enter Canada.
If you plan to travel outside Canada or the United States, you need a valid entry document, such as a visitor visa or eTA, to return to Canada.