Applying for a Canada Visa - Step by Step Guide for Foreigners

Find out what documents you need to travel, visit family and friends, do business, or transit through Canada at any reliable time you want.

Applying for a Canada Visa - Step by Step Guide for Foreigners

Whether you are returning or it's your first time traveling to Canada, you should prioritize the Canada Visa application in your travel plans. If possible, you should complete the visa application procedure before you start making other travel plans. However, with this step-by-step guide to the Canada visa application process, your dreams of exploring this country where no dream is too big and anything is possible just became a little less complicated.

 The North American country, Canada is a highly developed country. According to Wikipedia, Canada has the seventeenth-highest nominal per-capita income globally and the sixteenth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index. Its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks.

As with other developed nations, the country’s economy is dominated by the service industry which employs about three-quarters of Canadians & foreigners based in Canada. Moreover, Canada's stable and diverse economy has been attracting foreign nationals. The demand for foreigners to travel to the country has been consistently increasing over the past few years.

Making the country a prime destination for people seeking to relocate to the country to achieve a better life. As there are so many opportunities for professional growth and development. But most people are still wondering how they can enter the country legally. The answer is Canada Visa application, with the exception of some,  foreigners who must apply and get a Visa to enter the country legally.

However, we will provide information in full detail about Canada Visa, who needs a Canadian Visa, types, requirements, and Canada Visa application. In addition, we will also provide any other important information pertaining to the Canada Visa application.


What is Canada Visa?

A visa is an official document, usually stamped or glued inside a passport, giving permission from a foreign authority for you to enter, remain within, or leave that territory or country. Visas are issued by foreign government offices in one's home country.

Therefore, a Canada visa is an official document that gives a foreigner the authorization to legally enter Canada and stay either permanently or temporarily. However, you will need to contact the Canadian embassy or consulate in your home country before you plan to leave on your trip. This is to find out if you need a visa to enter the country or to stay for a longer period of time.

Moreover, you will have to meet the eligibility criteria and fulfill all the necessary requirements for the Canada Visa application. Also, the requirements, fees, and processing times may vary depending on the type of Canadian visa you need. Furthermore, Canada Visa applications can be done in person, by mail, or online. However, whichever means you choose to follow, ensure that you have the complete application documents.

You must mail your passport, use secure mail services and enclose a stamped, self-addressed return envelope if you cannot visit the foreign government office in person.

Do You Need a Canada Visa Application

Most people need a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada - not both. Some people may only need their valid passports.

What you need depends on:

  • the type of travel document you will travel with;
  • the country that issued your travel document;
  • your nationality; and
  • how you will travel to Canada.

However, you do not need a Canada Visa application if you are from one of the countries that have a visa exemption or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) agreement with Canada. If you are otherwise, that is from people from countries that don't have such an agreement, then, you must apply for a visa.

However, just as we mentioned earlier, the requirements, fees, and processing time may vary depending on the type of visa you need. Including the Canada Visa application process, but there are a few general steps you must follow which we will be talking about in this article.

Types of Canada Visa

Furthermore, you must first find out which visa you need to apply for before you start the Canada Visa application process. Besides, there are several types of visas for Canada, each of them designed to fit your motive or reason for going to Canada.

However, some of them are as follows:

  • Visitor visa (Temporary Resident Visa)
  • Student visa
  • Work visa
  • Permanent Resident Visa

Visitor Visa(Temporary Resident Visa):

The temporary Canada visa gives a foreigner permission to stay in Canada for a specific period of time, usually up to six months or more. However, the Canadian temporary visa is an ideal option for foreigners who wish to come to Canada for studies, work, or vacations. Moreover, a temporary Canada visa may be multiple or single entries.

A multiple entry visa, while valid will let you travel to Canada for six months at a time as many times as you want. It will be valid for up to 10 years or one month before your passport expires, whichever is shorter. You must arrive in Canada on or before the expiry date of your visa.

A single entry visa, on the other hand, lets you travel to Canada only one time and is valid for up to six months from your date of arrival. For instance, you may only be eligible for a single entry visa if:

  • you are eligible for a fee-exemption and the purpose of your entry to Canada is limited (such as, for an official visit by a foreign national)
  • you are taking part in a one-time special event in Canada
  • there are approved country-specific procedures or guidelines in place.

However, you don't need to choose between the two. A multiple entry visa is what all visa applicants are automatically considered for. Your Canada Visa application will be reviewed and you will get a visa depending on your situation. Furthermore, student and work visa or permit with several other visas are under or types of temporary visa.

Canadian Permanent Resident Visa

The permanent Canada visa allows the holder to live and work permanently in the country. However, there are also known as immigrant visas, and the types are as follows:

  • Immigrant Investor Program
  • Family Sponsorship Program
  • Self-employed Persons Visa
  • Quebec-Selected Skilled Worker Program (QSWP)
  • Start-up Visa
  • Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP)

Canada Visa Application

However, just like we have mentioned earlier, the requirements, visa fee, processing time, and Canada Visa application process may vary depending on the type of visa you need. We will guide you through the general step-by-step application process for both applications in person and online.

To apply for a Canada visa in person, you need to go through the following step-by-step guidelines:

  • Identify visa type
  • Begin your application
  • Book an appointment
  • Pay your visa fees
  • Attend your visa appointment
  • Wait for the processing of your visa.
  • Submit your passport and processing fees
  • Collect your passport

1. Identify visa type

Firstly, you need to know the type of visa you need and find out whether you are eligible to apply for it. Moreover, you will also need to know the necessary supporting documents that you will have to submit during the application process. Including the fees, you will have to pay and the processing time for the specific type of visa.

However, each application must comply with the guidelines applicable to the specific visa category. You can use the link at the end of this article for detailed information on the visa categories.

2. Begin your application

After you determine the visa type you need, and whether you meet the eligibility requirements. The next step is to go ahead and start the Canada Visa application process. You can download the visa application form, and fill out and print the completed form. Then bring it with you to the visa application center or Canadian embassy or consulate in your home country for submission.

Moreover, if you are applying online, you can submit the Canada Visa application directly to the Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. However, either way, you must completely fill out the Canada Visa application form online. Handwritten forms will not be accepted. If you are applying in person you have to print the application, sign, and attach all the necessary supporting documents. Then, submit them to the Canadian embassy or consulate/ Visa Application Centre in your country.

3. Book an appointment

Furthermore, once you have completed your Canada Visa application. The next step is to choose a Visa Application Centre or a Canadian embassy/ consulate and schedule an appointment. This is appointment is to have your biometrics ( fingerprints and photo) taken.

After that, you will receive an email notification, confirming that they have your biometrics. A letter of confirmation will also be included in the confirmation email. You will have to book individual appointments for each member if you are part of a family or group.

4. Pay your Canada Visa application fees

After you must have completed your application, you will have to pay your visa application fee. Besides, must have already found out the fees you are required to pay depending on the visa type you need. However, you can pay the fees at the time of your appointment, if you wish to download and print the application form, and take it with you to the embassy or Visa Application Centre.

5. Attend your visa appointment

The next step is to visit the Visa application center or Canadian embassy/ consulate and attend your scheduled appointment. This is when you submit your complete Canada Visa application form if you have not submitted it online. You will have to give your application and biometrics once you arrive at the Canadian Visa application center or embassy/ consulate.

Moreover, you will also pay the applicable visa application fees and charges, after which you will get a receipt. The receipt will contain a tracking number, which you can use to check the status of your Canada Visa application online. You can do this via your online account if you applied for the visa online.

6. Wait for the processing of your visa

Then, the Canadian visa application center or embassy will process your Canada Visa application. Which might take up to two weeks or more depending on the type of visa. You will get an email notification once a decision has been made regarding your application. You must continuously check your email account, as all embassy notifications regarding your Canada Visa application will be posted on your account.

7. Submit your passport and processing fees

If the notification you received says that your Canada Visa application was successful, then the next step will be to submit your passport to the Canadian embassy or consulate. You can mail the passport together with the processing fees to the address of the embassy in your home country. However, the processing fees vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for, the cost may range from $20 to $50.

8. Collect your passport

After submitting the passport and paying the required processing fee. The Canadian embassy officials will receive the passport and fees, and then stamp the visa on your passport. After that, you can pick up your passport or the embassy will mail it back to you. Most times, you may get the notification of the embassy's decision immediately after the visa interview or appointment. In such cases, you will have to provide your passport, pay the processing fees, and get the passport there immediately.

Required Documents for a Canada Visa Application

Furthermore, here are the documents you will need to submit during the Canada Visa application process. They are as follows:

  • Valid passport
  • Canada visa application form
  • Evidence of paid visa fees
  • Police statement (to prove clean criminal record)
  • Medical test results
  • Passport photographs must be in accordance with the Canada visa photo requirements
  • Proof of financial stability
  • Proof you will return to your home country once the Canadian visa expires.
  • Official government identity documents
  • Letter of support or invitation to Canada
  • A cover letter that explains the purpose of your travel to Canada

7 Important Steps to Immigrating to Canada

If your Canada visa application to immigrate to Canada is successful. You receive a Permanent resident (PR) visa. This allows you to live and work in the country permanently. Moreover, if you travel outside Canada, you will need to show your PR card and your passport when you return.

In short, as a permanent resident, you will enjoy most social benefits, including public healthcare coverage, and be protected under Canadian law. You can apply for citizenship after you have lived in Canada for five years, and receive a Canadian passport.

However, here's an overview of Canada's immigration application process:

1. Check if you are not inadmissible to enter Canada

The first step in Canada’s immigration application process is to check if you are not inadmissible to Canada. For E.g. you have a clean criminal record and are in good health. However, if you are found inadmissible, you won’t be allowed to come to Canada under Canada’s immigration law.

2. Find a Canadian immigration program that you qualify for

This may be the most challenging step in the immigration application process. But Canada has over 100 immigration and visa programs available. Each program comes with different eligibility criteria, application methods, processing times as well as specific documents that are required.

3. Gather your immigration documents

These include forms, certificates, and records that serve to support your claims during Canada’s immigration application process. For example, if you state that you are in good health then you need to include a medical examination certificate with your application. Further examples are as follows:

  • A valid passport/ travel document - must be valid during the immigration application process and during your stay in Canada if it's temporary.
  • Proof of funds - You must prove that you have sufficient settlement funds for immigration purposes or enough funds to pay for a flight back during a temporary stay in Canada.
  • Police certification - Proof that you do not have a criminal record.

4. Give your biometrics at a National Visa Application Center near you

Furthermore, you will need to provide your biometrics information (fingerprints and photos) during the Canada visa application or immigration process. Firstly, you will have to the biometrics fee when you submit your Canada visa application. Then, after that, you will get a letter confirming that you need to give your biometrics and telling you the next step to follow.

5. Fill in the government forms associated with the Canada visa application

However, you will need to complete quite a few pages of government forms that are associated with your immigration program. It’s also very important that you complete the forms accurately because something as small as a typo or accidentally skipping information can result in your application being returned. No one can escape the strict rules set forward by the Canadian government.

6. Submit your Canada visa application

You will have to submit an error-free application to the correct Canadian immigration department. However, where you need to send your application depends on which Canadian immigration program you want to apply for. Express Entry is the only immigration program that is online-based.

7. Wait for your results

Finally, you will have to wait for the government to process your Canada visa application. This typically takes only a few months. Although the wait time may be long it will surely be worth it.

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However, just like we mentioned earlier the processing time for the Canada visa varies for each type. Although it usually takes between two to four weeks, or more generally. The processing of your visa starts once the Canadian immigration authorities received your complete visa application. The processing time can only be delayed if you are required to provide additional documents for the application.

Moreover, you can also check out other articles we have published about Canadian immigration. Please refer to the Official Website of the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) using the link below for more detailed information on the Canada Visa application.

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