How Long Can You Stay in Canada as a Visitor?

Published on: February 13th, 2024

Whether it’s to visit friends or family, take in some of the incredible sights, or find out if Canada is the right place for a permanent move, millions of people come to canada as a visitor every year! A Canadian visitor visa allows tourists to stay in the country for up to six months at a time.

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How Long I Can Stay in Canada as Visitor

Being aware of the authorized period of stay is crucial for compliance with immigration regulations and avoiding overstays, which can have serious consequences for future visits and immigration applications. By understanding visitor status and duration of stay, individuals can plan their visit effectively, ensure legal compliance, and maximize their enjoyment of their time in Canada.

Before planning the duration of your stay in Canada, it is crucial to understand the various types of visas and permits available for visiting the country. Canada offers a range of entry documents, including tourist visas, temporary resident visas, electronic travel authorizations (eTAs), and visitor records. Each type of document has its own eligibility criteria, application process, and authorized length of stay.

Visa-exempt countries

Visa-exempt countries are those with whom Canada has agreements that allow their citizens and permanent residents to visit Canada without a visitor visa:

 

Visa-exempt countries

Visa-exempt countries
Andorra
Australia
Austria
Bahamas
Barbados
Belgium
British citizen
British National (Overseas)
British overseas citizen (re-admissible to the United Kingdom)
British overseas territory citizen with citizenship through birth, descent, naturalization or registration in one of the British overseas territories of:
Anguilla
Bermuda
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
Gibraltar
Montserrat
Pitcairn Island
Saint Helena
Turks and Caicos Islands
British Subject with a right of abode in the United Kingdom
Brunei Darussalam
Bulgaria
Chile
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, must have a passport issued by Hong Kong SAR.
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Israel, must have a national Israeli passport
Italy
Japan
Republic of Korea
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Mexico
Monaco
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Papua New Guinea
Poland
Portugal
Romania (electronic passport holders only)
Samoa
San Marino
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan, must have an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes the personal identification number
United Arab Emirates
Lawful permanent resident of United States
Vatican City State, must have a passport or travel document issued by the Vatican

Those travelling to Canada from visa-exempt countries do not require a visitor visa to enter the country. However, an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is an entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals traveling to Canada by air.

With an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), you can typically stay in Canada for up to six months per visit. However, the specific length of stay authorized by your eTA may vary depending on factors such as the purpose of your visit and the discretion of the border officer upon entry. It’s essential to check the expiration date of your eTA and adhere to any conditions outlined to ensure compliance with Canadian immigration regulations.

The eTA is electronically linked to the traveler’s passport and is valid for up to five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. However, it’s important to note that having an eTA does not guarantee entry into Canada; travelers must still meet admissibility requirements upon arrival.

Note:

United States citizens can travel into and out of Canada with just their valid U.S. passport, no eTA required.

Visitor Visa

If you are not from a visa-exempt country, you require a visitor visa (sometimes called a Temporary Resident Visa or TRV) to enter the country. If you’re applying for a study permit or a work permit,  then the TRV will be included as a part of your application. However, if you want to come to Canada only to visit, then you have to apply for a visitor visa on your own.

Canada offers two kinds of visitor visas: single-entry and multiple-entry. The single-entry visa will allow foreign nationals to cross into Canada once. Those with multiple-entry visas can enter and exit as often as they like within the valid duration of their visa. A visitor visa can be granted for a period of up to six months. However, the duration of the visa will be decided by the immigration officer handling your case.

If you have children or grandchildren living in Canada, you might qualify for the super visa for parents and grandparents. This multiple-entry visa allows you to stay in the country for up to two years at a time, helping you to spend more time with your loved ones.

You have the option to extend your visitor visa from inside Canada only if your temporary status is still valid. Remaining in Canada with an expired visitor visa and no in-process extension application can jeopardize future immigration applications. If you have completed the extension application before the expiry of your visa, you can remain in Canada under implied status until the application is processed.

If you are travelling to Canada for business, you may be required to obtain a business visitor visa. It should be noted, however, that this visa is not for temporary foreign workers. A separate work permit is needed to directly engage in the Canadian labour market.

Visitor Records vs. Visitor Visas: What’s the Difference?

A visitor record in Canada is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that grants authorization for an individual to legally stay in the country as a visitor for a specific period of time.

The visitor record is typically issued to individuals who are already in Canada and wish to extend their stay beyond the originally authorized period, or to individuals with temporary resident status in Canada who need to make changes to their conditions, such as changing their visitor status to worker or student status.

The key difference between a visitor record and a visitor visa lies in their purposes and issuance processes. A visitor visa, also known as a temporary resident visa (TRV), is a document issued by Canadian visa offices abroad that allows individuals from certain countries to enter Canada as visitors for a limited period, usually up to six months. It is obtained prior to travel and is stamped in the individual’s passport.

On the other hand, a visitor record is typically issued to individuals who are already in Canada and need to extend their stay or make changes to their conditions of stay. It is applied for and obtained from within Canada, usually through an application submitted to IRCC. While both documents serve to authorize an individual’s presence in Canada as a visitor, they differ in terms of issuance process, purpose, and timing of obtaining them.

In terms of the length of stay in Canada, the difference between Visitor Records and Visitor Visas lies primarily in their issuance process and purpose rather than the duration of stay they authorize. Visitor Visas, also known as Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs), are typically issued to individuals from certain countries prior to their arrival in Canada. They allow visitors to stay in Canada for a limited period, usually up to six months. On the other hand, Visitor Records are documents issued to individuals who are already in Canada and need to extend their stay or make changes to their conditions of stay. The duration of stay authorized by a Visitor Record depends on the specific circumstances of the individual and is determined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) based on factors such as the purpose of the visit and compliance with immigration regulations. Therefore, both Visitor Records and Visitor Visas can authorize stays of varying lengths in Canada, with the duration determined by the issuing authority and the individual’s circumstances.

 

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