Visitor (Temporary Resident) Visa and eTA

For most travellers, you need a valid entry document to visit Canada.  This document can be a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).  You need to meet the basic requirements to visit Canada such as holding a valid passport, being in good health, having no criminal or immigration-related convictions etc.  You may also need a medical exam and a letter of invitation from somebody who lives in Canada.

Most visas Canada issues are Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), or a visitor visa as most people call. A Temporary Resident Visa is issued not only to visitors, but also to students and temporary workers as well so as to facilitate their traveling to Canada. If you are a citizen or hold travel document issued by a visa required countries, you need to apply for a visitor visa to enter Canada.

A Temporary Resident Visa does not guarantee admission to Canada, however. At the port or entry the visitors must always satisfy the officer that their visit is of a temporary nature. Most visitors will be granted temporary resident status for six months upon admission to Canada. It is possible for a visitor to stay in Canada for more than six months, particularly for those who hold a super visa.

Temporary Resident Visa

There are two types of temporary resident visa that you can apply for: a single entry visa and a multiple entry visa.

A single entry visa, which allows you to come to Canada only once. However, if you leave Canada for a visit in the U.S. or St. Pierre and Miquelon and will return to Canada before the end of your approved stay in Canada, you need to make a request to return to Canada.

A multiple entry visa, which allows you to visit and leave Canada without the need to reapply.  When you come to Canada with this visa, normally you will get 6 months to stay in Canada.  A multiple entry visa is valid up to 10 years, or one month before your passport expires, whichever comes first.  Once you get the multiple entry visa, you must arrive in Canada on or before the expiry date on your visa.

If people in Canada wish to stay in Canada longer than their authorized stay, they should apply for extension of their status at an immigration office within Canada. This should be done before their temporary resident status expires (the expiry date will be the stamp in your passport, or, if you do not have a stamp in your passport, 6 months from the day you entered Canada), otherwise extra measures will have to be taken in their application for extension. Under most circumstances, people may apply for a restoration of status within 90 days of the expiration of their temporary resident status.


Starting from March 15, 2016, if you need to fly to or transit through Canada with the passport that is from an eTA-required country, you then need an eTA.  You can applied for that online.  It’s not expensive and you can do this within minutes.  Once approved, your eTA  is valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

Please remember to get the eTA when you plan your trip and bring the passport that you applied for eTA when you travel to Canada.  You need to get the eTA approved before boarding your flight.

If you are a citizen of the U.S. and some other countries that are on the eTA exemptions list, or if you need a visa to visit Canada, then you do not need an eTA to enter Canada.  Canadian citizens (including dual citizens) and Canadian permanent residents cannot apply for an eTA.

Note: Until September 29, 2016, travellers who do not have an eTA can board their flight, as long as they have appropriate travel documents, such as a valid passport. During this leniency period, border services officers can let travellers arriving without an eTA into Canada.

Super Visa

Do you have children and/or grandchildren in Canada? Are they Canadian citizens or permanent residents? Do their salaries pass the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) to support your stay in Canada?

If all yes, then you may consider to apply for the super visa to visit your children and/or grandchildren in Canada.

People always compare a super visa with a 10-year multiple entry visa.  Both of them are valid up to 10 years.  But in many ways, a super visa outpaces the latter for parents and grandparents.  First, a super visa holder can stay in Canada for 2 years maximum per time.  This is much more than the 6 months granted to a multiple entry visa.  You can stay with your children or grandchildren longer and enjoy the temporary family reunion better.

Second, when your 6 months’ stay expires under a multiple entry visa, you need to apply for an extension, for which you have to pay a new fee.  If you were to plan to stay for 2 years, literally you have to re-apply 3 times.  That is expensive and a pain in the back.  Why not apply for a super visa and save all the troubles if your children or grandchildren are able to support you financially?

Probably the most tricky thing in an application for super visa is to calculate your family size.  Here is a scenario for you to refer:

Mr. A wants to visit his daughter (Mrs. B)’s family in Canada.  Mrs. B and Mr. C have 2 children, D and E.  Mrs. B and Mr. C are sponsoring Mr. C’s parents Mr. F and Mrs. G.  Now Mr. A is the applicant for super visa.

When we calculate the family size, we need to follow the categories listed below:

1) the child or grandchild inviting you.  In this case, it is Mrs. B (1);

2) the spouse of the child or grandchild inviting you.  In this case, it is Mr. C (1+1=2);

3) the dependants of the child or grandchild inviting you.  In this case, it is D and E (2+2=4);

4) the dependants travelling with you.  In this case, it is 0 (4+0=4);

5) any other person whom the child or grandchild inviting you is currently sponsoring or co-signing for.  In this case, it is Mr. F and Mrs. G (4+2=6);

6 ) yourself.  In this case, it is Mr. A (6+1=7).

So, if Mr. A wants to prove that Mrs. B has met the LICO, the minimum necessary income for Mrs. B is CA$64,381 in year 2016.  Mrs. B has to send a letter of invitation to Mr. A and promise that she will provide financial support for her father during his stay in Canada.

For applying for a super visa, you will also need to buy a Canadian medical insurance which will cover you for at least a year.  A medical exam is also needed when you apply for the visa.


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