Tourist & Transit Visas

Will your visit qualify as tourism or transit?

Depending on your nationality and the length of your trip to Canada, you may need a tourist visa or a transit visa. This section covers the basics of tourist and transit visas to enter Canada.

Tourist Visas for Canada

In order to visit Canada, you have to satisfy certain conditions. In this section, we look at the basics for who needs a tourist visa, the procedures and requirements for Visas for Canada.

First, you must be healthy. You might need a doctor’s examination before you arrive to Canada depending on your country of current residence/origin. The importance of such a requirement was proven during the SARS crisis of 2003.

Next, you must respect Canadian laws. This means that you are allowed to enter and visit Canada as long as you do not engage in any criminal activities during your stay. You are subject to Canadian laws while in Canada. Breaking any of those laws might result in the arrest, deportation and permanent prohibition from future travel to Canada. Additionally, you will need a valid passport, proof of who you are or other travel documents from your country of origin. In some cases, you will be required to provide proof of the purpose of your trip to Canada (such as a letter of invitation from a Canadian permanent resident or company). Finally, you may need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).

Who needs a Tourist Visa?

You require a Tourist visa if you are a citizen in any of the following countries and territories:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Colombia, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel (only Israeli citizens holding valid Israeli “Travel Document in lieu of National Passport”), Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea, North, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Macao S.A.R., Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives Islands, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Fed. States, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Palestinian Authority, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Sao Tomé e Principe, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia-Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovak Republic, Somalia, South Africa, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia & Zimbabwe.

The visas are issued for different lengths of time depending on the traveller’s requirement and current Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) rules and regulations.

Who does not need a Tourist Visa?

Many people do not require a visitor visa when coming to Canada. These include:

  • Citizens of Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brunei, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel (National Passport holders only), Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Republic of Korea, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, San Marino, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, and Western Samoa;
  • Persons lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence who are in possession of their alien registration card (Green card) or can provide other evidence of permanent residence.
  • British citizens and British Overseas Citizens who are re-admissible to the United Kingdom;
  • Citizens of British dependent territories who derive their citizenship through birth, descent, registration or naturalization in one of the British dependent territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena or the Turks and Caicos Islands;
  • Persons holding a valid and subsisting Special Administrative Region passport issued by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China;
  • Persons holding passports or travel documents issued by the Holy See.

If you qualify under one or more of the above, you are permitted to stay in Canada for a period of up to 6 months. To obtain an extension, you will need to leave Canada and re-enter or apply in Canada for an extension.

Transit Visas for Canada

In some instances, a traveller stopping in Canada for less than 48 hours on their way to another country may require a Transit Visa. The list of countries requiring a tourist visa is the same as for the transit visa.

Further reading

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Other comments

  • Confused, 24 April 2008 Reply

    What kind of visa is needed?

    I have a friend who is going to HK and on his way there he is staying here for 15 horas. On his way back he is thinking in stopping by Canada for a day and going to NY by bus for three days. After that he wants to come back to take the airplane back to his country.

    What kind of visa does he need? Please advise.