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Citizens of countries who are visa-exempt for Canada require an ETA or Electronic Travel Authorization in order to travel to Canada by air. An ETA application can be done in minutes prior to travel but is required in order to board a commercial air carrier bound to Canada. Their application for admission is actually made on the border itself where the temporary resident usually explains their reason for coming to Canada, their financial means to support themselves and any other circumstances peculiar to their situation. An immigration consultant can help you understand what type of document you need and how to get it.
Citizens of visa-required countries apply for a temporary resident visa (TRV) counterfoil in their passport from Canadian visa offices abroad often called VAC (visa application centre). However, our firm also handles immigration service through online applications for international clients. If you have a visa in your passport, you do not require an ETA. Visas can warrant single entry meaning the person is allowed only one admission or multiple entries meaning the person can come multiple times within a specific time period. Visas will not be issued beyond the validity of one's passport so it is important to ensure that your passport is valid for at least a few years if you are seeking a multi entry visa.
It is important to know that visitor status is issued for a term of 6 months at a time. If you need to stay in Canada for longer than 6 months, you must either apply for an extension or leave Canada and then come back. It does not matter if you are a tourist, visiting family or a business visitor, the maximum term of the visa is 6 months. If you have overstayed by 90 days or less, there is still an opportunity to apply for restoration of your status and to correct the fact that you are without status in Canada. If you fall out of status, our attorneys can assist you in the reinstatement of your status.
For family visits, it is usually required to have a letter of invitation from a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Canada. You or the sponsor should have the financial means to support yourself while in Canada. Contact our immigration consultant in order to help you evaluate your financial capabilities. It is also key that you prove ties to your home country. These ties can be in the form of real estate, family members back home such as a spouse or children and a job or school to return to.
For tourism, there should be a clear schedule and confirmations of bookings. For instance, hotel reservations, flight confirmations, a plan. Financial means and ties to home country should also be established. It is highly recommended that you have extensive travel history to other countries also in order to simplify this process. Something as small as going on a short holiday could make a big difference.
Some people may require immigration services in order to obtain a visa for business purposes. This is the case if you intend to partner with Canadian businesses, to conduct an exploratory visit, or to establish other ties in business. You will require a letter of invitation from a Canadian business and/or an itinerary detailing what you will be doing during your visit. We may be able to assist you in the procurement of an invitation in this category. You must have sufficient means to support yourself in Canada via proof such as bank account statements etc. It is also advisable to have a travel history to other countries and ties to the home country.
All of these options are available to both visa-required and visa-exempt travellers. Each category has its own list of recommended and necessary documents that vary based on the requirements of the VAC in your home country as well as the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR). Each situation is also unique so there is no concrete list of documents that can be applied to all applicants. We recommend that you obtain professional advice from an immigration lawyer or consultant based on your unique case in order to put forth the strongest possible case and to illuminate your best features.