February 3, 2020

Visa to Canada: Complete List of Required Documents

Canada is a sparsely populated country of the notorious “first world”: 3 people per 1 sq. km. The indicator is one of the lowest in the world. Among other things, due to strict immigration laws: it is impossible for a foreigner to legally cross the border without a Canadian visa or an electronic permit [eTA visa].

For example: a visa to Canada is needed even for transit passengers, whose plane just lands for refueling at the airport on its territory. But above all, it will be needed by those who have decided to immigrate to this North American country. Going to fish salmon in Canadian rivers or watch Niagara Falls, study or work, visit relatives or open a business – you need to get a visa. Without it, it will also not be possible to take part in a business forum, scientific conference / symposium and sports competition. When you just have to transfer to another flight at a Canadian airport, the situation is similar: a person will need a visa to Canada.

Only US citizens, several small categories of workers, holders of diplomatic passports, Queen Elizabeth II with her family, and airliner crews can enter here without a visa.

Disclaimer: if you clearly know the rules established by Canadians and strictly adhere to them. What is the visa procedure, what documents are needed, where and how to submit them – we tell in a detailed overview of the visa processing process.

Up-to-date information on entering the country

The main world event of recent years – coronavirus – has also affected the procedure for obtaining a visa to Canada. The country has not been closed, the lockdown has not been introduced, travel permits are being issued. But the following rules apply:

  1. During the period of quarantine restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online is the only way to apply for a visa.
  2. Canadians have introduced additional requirements for incoming foreigners: receiving a full course of vaccination. In this case, the period of administration of the last dose of the vaccine should be at least 2 weeks. An exception is made for workers, students and those who “deserve compassion” (example: Canadian relative dies).
  3. Upon arrival, you must present a molecular test made no later than 72 hours (PCR – good, express antigen – no) with a negative result for COVID-19. If the Canadian border guard in appearance doubts the good health of the visitor, he will ask to be tested on the spot.
  4. For vaccinated travelers, the principle of randomized tests applies (randomly assigned), for unvaccinated – mandatory for everyone. With subsequent registration in the ArriveCAN mobile application: they create an account there and reflect all the information (about the final test results, isolation, treatment).
  5. A 14-day quarantine has been introduced: the traveler must have accommodation where he will withstand. If the result of an additional test (biological sampling is done on the 8th day of isolation) turns out to be negative, you can be free to move. If positive, you need to be treated under the supervision of the authorities (+ quarantine for another 10 days).
  6. For those wishing to be vaccinated, the Canadian authorities will provide doses (basic and booster) at their own expense.
  7. Wearing masks is federally recommended. But it may be mandatory in some provinces / territories of the federation by decision of local administrators.

Important for to Note: To be allowed into the country, you need to be vaccinated with Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, COVISHIELD or AstraZeneca.

Canadian Visa Types

This is an important point: for a specific purpose, you need a strictly defined visa (and a corresponding list of documents – motivational letters, certificates, diplomas, permits, invitations, etc.). Canadians issue the following types of visas:

  • Canadian temporary resident visa – for temporary residents: 1-entry, multiple and transit.
  • Visitor visa – tourist (sightseeing, meeting with friends) and guest (“family sponsorship”). By status, this is 1 type of visa, but it is issued as different options.
  • Student – for studying in public and private educational institutions in Canada.
  • Labor – foreign labor force.
  • Business – for entrepreneurs who want to establish business contacts or start a business in Canadian territory.
  • Family – for reunification with Canadian citizens / residents of direct foreign relatives (parents / children / sisters / brothers).
  • Immigration – start-ups, large investors, brides / grooms / Canadians, skilled professionals and employees.

A separate variety is the Canadian sports visa: for referees and athletes who are preparing and participating in competitions on Canadian territory. Let’s dwell on each of them in more detail.

Temporary Resident Visas

Canadians have three types of them:

  1. Transit Canadian visa. Needed by intercontinental travelers who need a short-term “transshipment base”. Depending on his route, he will be given permission to 1 or more border crossings of the North American country. But it will work within 3 days.
  2. Single entry visa. It allows you to enter Canadian territory only once during the entire period of validity: departure = cancellation.
  3. Multi-entry Visa. No limited entry-exit.

When applying for this visa category, you need to select documents that will convince the migration officer of the real need for travel and good reasons for returning to your own country. Applicants with a positive migration history (there is a Schengen, no problems with the immigration authorities) have a probability of receiving it close to 100%, subject to all other requirements.

They will refuse extradition to criminal elements (convictions for professional crime) and people with poor health.

Those who entered Canada on such a visa do not have the right to work, study (only short-term courses are allowed) and apply for permanent residence.

Tourist and Visitor Visas

In the first case, the purpose of the trip will be tourism: gastronomic, museum, natural. Or we go to visit our friends, comrades, colleagues (at their invitation). Validity period – up to 6 months Second – temporary relocation to relatives and friends who have Canadian citizenship / residence and have agreed to take a foreigner as their dependent. Issued for up to 2 years.

To obtain a visa, a tourist must convince the visa officers of the validity of the reason for the trip, the availability of funds for travel and the unwillingness to take steps to stay on Canadian soil. Dependent – in the presence of Canadian relatives / friends, their well-being and the desire to feed him. Visitor visa holders are prohibited from working and studying in Canada (except for short studies).

Student Visa

It will be needed by a candidate to study at a Canadian college or university in the event that he plans to study there for a full semester or more (stationary). When a short-term training or a course of study is planned, a Visitor visa is issued (the application form and the package of documents to it differ).

To obtain one of the options is needed: an invitation to study from an educational institution accredited in Canada or an official confirmation from him about enrollment in his students. The last element is the motivational letter of the future student: a convincing explanation of the choice of a particular Canadian university/college. You will also need a language proficiency certificate (English/French). They may also be called for an interview with a visa officer.

Employment visa

The labor market in Canada is quota for foreigners. Every year, the provinces report to the government on the number of vacancies they have and those areas / industries that need to attract third-party labor resources. Then the Canadian authorities approve a plan, according to which they issue work visas. To obtain a Canadian visa, a labor migrant must attach to his application an invitation on the letterhead of an employer who is officially registered in this status.

Validity period – tied to the end date of the employment contract (up to 10 years).

Business visa

Option for those who:

  • travels to establish business relationships;
  • wants to open a business – to establish a Canadian company;
  • was going to buy a company operating in Canada.

The requirements here are serious – to constituent documents, business reputation (income, taxes) and the amount of capital that the applicant can invest in the business.

Family visa

Canadians issue it to those foreigners who are related to Canadian citizens/residents and have received an invitation from them to move to Canada for family reunification. The option applies to spouses, as well as their children. The package of necessary documentation here includes papers that give an idea about the receiving party:

  1. Birth certificate and proof of Canadian citizen/resident status.
  2. Information about the financial position – assets in banks, securities, real estate.
  3. Information about income for the last year – salary or tax return.
  4. Certificate of the tax service on the absence of debt.
  5. “Characteristics from the place of work” – letters of recommendation from employers.

From the applicant – a certificate of non-conviction and a medical report on the state of health.

immigrant visa

The sparsely populated country – especially in rural areas and northern provinces – worries the Canadian authorities, so they are actively launching immigration programs in cooperation with regional administrations. For emigration from other countries, moving is available under economic, humanitarian and family programs. Canadian bilingualism is a determining factor in their choice: French-speaking – Quebec immigration, English-speaking – Express Entry (2 most popular projects).

Each province of Canada has its own programs – Saskatchewan, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, and the Yukon Territory.

To implement them, the federal government is expanding quotas for foreign migrants – by 10 thousand per year:

  • 401 thousand migrants – in 2021;
  • 411 – in 2022;
  • 421 – in 2023.

This visa category is suitable for: those who are going to marry Canadians; has large funds for investment in the Canadian economy; has a good technical education or specialty.

Productive age, good health, verified diplomas and certificates, and a deep wallet are factors that matter for the approval of applications for this type of Canadian visa.

Required Documents for Canada Visa

Typical package:

Document Notes
1. Application form standard forms. They are downloaded on the website of the Canadian government: the electronic service itself leads a person to a questionnaire of a certain form – for the selected visa category. And there they give a choice of 2 filling options: in English or French.
2. The passport Domestic and foreign. Copies – all pages. Plus a birth certificate.
2. Driver’s license In Canada, the most common mode of transport is the car. To rent it, you need a license.
4. Medical insurance policy With coverage from $40 thousand. Insurance aggregators offer prices from 1.5 CAD to 8 CAD for 1 day.
5. Wallet An extract on the movement of money on a bank card for six months, a certificate of deposits, a payroll or income statement for a year, letters of guarantee from sponsors are arguments to convince the migration service that you can ensure your residence in Canada at the rate of 70 CAD per day.
6. AGS Civil status acts: marriage/divorce/birth certificates.
7. criminal record Certificate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on the presence / absence of a criminal past.
8. Not a legend The reality of the purpose of the trip: the intended route in Canada, hotel reservations, return tickets.
9. Permission To work with personal data of a person.
10. Photos 2 copies – for Visitor visa, 3 – for immigration, work and student visas. If the application is submitted online – digital format.

Important: according to the principle of reasonable sufficiency, we add evidence of social status and reasons for returning home – place of work, specialty / education, ownership of real estate and corporate rights in your country of residence.

If your documents are not in English or French then we get them translated from authorized notaries and submit them for your visa approval. Canada has two official languages i.e., English and French, hence they only accept documents printed or translated in these languages.

Canada visa photo


  • age of the photo – the picture was taken no more than six months before submission;
  • not necessarily color, but in good quality – without “blurring” and physical defects (“kinks”, scratches, stains, dirt, etc.);
  • the face (in the center of the frame, with a closed mouth) and shoulders of a person should be visible;
  • hats are allowed (a hat or a kippah, for example), glasses (except for sunglasses and those behind which the eyes are not visible), wigs.

Requirements for “paper” photographs: 35×45 mm, vertical size of the face 32-36 mm, white or light background, head looking directly into the camera.

Important: on the reverse side of the photo there is information about when and by whom (stamp / seal and contact details of the studio) it was taken.

To digital:

  1. Weight ≥ 240 Kb.
  2. JPG, JEPEG, JPEG2000 are acceptable formats.
  3. Scan parameters ≥ 600 dpi.
  4.  sRGB is the color spectrum of the camera.

It’s a paradox, but at this point – providing pictures – applicants also make mistakes.

Please note: Failure to meet the standard photo requirements = visa denial for Canada.

Filling out a Canadian visa application

Canadians provide an opportunity to fill out an application in English or French – at the choice of the applicant. During a pandemic, this happens online: a person registers an account on the official website of the Government of Canada, goes to the form and answers the questions of the questionnaire. After filling out the pages, the application must be saved in PDF-ke, and also check your signatures under each of them. The content of the questionnaire is also in several versions: depending on the purpose of the trip and the desired visa category, the electronic service will offer a strictly defined form.

Applying for a Canadian visa on your own

Moving to Canada has historically been a popular option for emigrating from poor countries. In their recent history, Canadians, in order not to feign economic refugees, have adopted harsh rules for the entry of foreigners and scrupulously observe them. You need to be ready for this. There are two options for obtaining a visa to Canada on your own:

  1. Submit an application (with attachments) for a visa to the consular section of a Canadian diplomatic mission. In this case, you will interact with the migration officials directly.
  2. Use the paid services of an intermediary accredited by the Canadian authorities – visa centers. They advise on procedural issues, and also accept documentation and biometrics (fingerprints) for subsequent transfer to Canadians. Their staff has been trained / trained, every day they work with the issuance of visas to Canada and know the practice of consideration, the reasons for refusals and life hacks – how to avoid fails.

In independent mode, we recommend that an applicant for a visa to Canada follow the following process:

  1. From the website of the Canadian embassy/consulate or the government of Canada, download and complete the visa application form (English or French format).
  2. In the same place, through the payment gateway, pay the consular fee for issuing visas and biometrics.
  3. Prepare a package of necessary documentation (originals and copies).
  4. Submit fingerprints (from which people who have given them to Canadians in the last 5 years, children under 14 years of age and persons over 79 years of age are exempted).
  5. Submit a package of documents through the consulate or CC.

Please note: the visit for the submission of biometrics and papers takes place in the order of the preliminary online appointment.

In cases where questions arise for an applicant for a Canadian visa, he will be sent a request for an interview at the embassy / consulate: the date of the visit is at least 5 days in advance.

You can also independently submit a package of documents online – through the official website of the Government of Canada https://www.canada.ca/en.html . This requires authorization in the electronic service. Then you need to sequentially go through the quiz questionnaire, select the visa category, fill out the application form, pay the fees for the examination and biometrics, upload the scanned documentation.

But you still have to take your fingerprints and stick a visa in your passport offline.

Let us dwell in more detail on the terms of the procedure and the cost of obtaining a Canadian visa.

Cost of Applying for a Visa

Consular fee rates depend on the purpose of travel and the types of visas required for them. For 2022, Canadians have set the following price tags:

Visa category Amount in Canadian Dollars ( CAD )
Student 150
working 155
Family 500 (max)
Temporary Resident and Visitor 100-200
transit issued free of charge
Biometrics fee 85

In case of applying for a visa to Canada through the EC, there will still be a visa fee: 31.2 CAD. And for each additional service – 4.04 CAD.

Deadlines for Consideration of Documents

The pedantry of Canadians in this matter disappears: there is no specific deadline for considering applications for a visa to Canada. The duration of the check is tied to the visa category and the personal history of the applicant.

According to the statistics of the official government portal, visa applicants receive a response to their appeal after an average of 22 business days.

An applicant can get a Canadian visa in 2 weeks or in 2 months, it depends on your documentation and satisfaction of the visa authorities. But, visas for Canada can be issued quickly if there is:

  • British or American visa in your Passport;
  • Your family member(s) living in Canada;

A seriously ill or deceased relative in Canada (its citizen) is a reason to ask for a visa on an emergency basis.

What helps to “program” the design for your schedule:

  1. Advance submission of an application for extradition. You can make a visa request 6 months before the trip. Example: booked a ticket for a flight on July 1 – you can apply for a visa starting from January 1.
  2. The completeness of the package of documents – confirm the stated purpose of the trip and convince that the applicant is not going to leave for Canada forever in this way (it is illegal to stay there after the expiration of the visa or seek permanent residence).

Realities of practice: a Canadian visa is issued both in 10 days and in 5 months. The sooner you submit the documents before the required date, the higher the probability of timely receipt.

Visa Validity Periods

There are two visa types: immigrant and non-immigrant.

The first ones are issued for 5/10 years, but the validity period is tied to the date by which the applicant’s passport is valid. Such visas can be obtained for participation in federal and regional projects, where Express Entry (English-speaking Canada) and the Quebec immigration program are most popular.

The second – can operate from 72 hours to 10 years:

  • transit – up to 3 days;
  • tourist – up to six months;
  • temporary resident – 5 or 10 years.

By default, all visas have a multi-status: during their validity period, you can cross the Canadian border an unlimited number of times. But migration officers, at their discretion, can issue a single-entry visa – for 1 trip.

All short-term visas (up to 6 months) are a convention for the Canadian border guard: it is he who will put a stamp in the passport with the date of the end of the period of permitted stay in Canada. According to their subjective idea of ​​the necessary time for the implementation of the purpose of the trip of the tourist / guest. And objective facts: the end of the hotel reservation and return tickets.

Canada Visa for a Child

If children are traveling with the applicant, a separate application form is submitted for each. The procedure is similar to that described above for adult travelers. The key point in obtaining a Canadian visa for a child is his own passport: a must have! For entering it into parental documents is not an option, the visa officer will reject the documents. The “children’s” documentation also includes two more additional papers:

  1. When a child leaves for Canada on his own (or accompanied by relatives) – a notarized consent of both parents to the child’s departure from their country of residence.
  2. If he travels with one of them – a similarly issued permit for the second.

Secondary and higher education in Canada is a prestigious thing, recognized all over the world. And Canadians allow children of any age to enter their territory and for the period that is needed to obtain it.

Denial of a visa to Canada: Causes and Solutions to this Problem

This topic is subject to manipulation. Thus, intermediary firms claim that 40% of independently submitted applications for a Canadian visa are refused. But the Canadian Migration Service itself is silent: it does not publish any information on the percentage of refusals to visa applicants. Neither in general, nor, moreover, for applicants from individual countries. But the problem of “ban” really exists: it is known from acquaintances, friends and relatives; they talk about it on the Internet (social networks, forums, channels, blogs).

Practice makes it possible to single out two key points that are very likely to lead to the refusal of the migration official to provide the applicant with a Canadian visa:

  1. Lack of legal income. No job, no business, no pension, no dividends, no rent—forget about Canada: the unspoken motto of visa officers.
  2. No positive visa history. Past trips to the US, the European Union, or the UK are an important element of a good traveler’s reputation.

The following points will also negatively affect the decision to approve the application:

  • non-standard photo;
  • spelling and grammatical errors in the questionnaire;
  • established facts of crime (convictions for professional crimes) and problems with migration laws when entering other states;
  • lack of social status – no occupation, family, home, dog, indoor plants;
  • relatives with refugee status live in Canada;
  • viral infections, contraindications to flights (with the exception of transporting a patient for treatment to a Canadian clinic);
  • lies about oneself and forgery of documents.

Important: Canadians record in their databases all the submitted data – about individuals and legal entities.

Recommendations for minimizing the threat of visa refusal to Canada:

  1. Attention to details. Complete the form accurately and without errors.
  2. Correctly understand what kind of visa is needed for the specific purpose of the trip.
  3. Submit paperwork that: requires immigration regulations and will convince visa officers of your good intentions – only to visit Canada, and not stay here forever.
  4. Have an adequate travel budget that can be proved (non-cash).

Appeal is futile. But if it was caused by documentation flaws, fix it and apply for a Canadian visa again. Or you can contact us to get it done right and get you a Canadian Visa.

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