A visitor visa (also called a temporary resident visa) is an official entry document that the government of Canada places in the visitor´s passport. This document demonstrates that the holder meets the requirements needed to enter Canada.
Many visitors can stay for up to 6 months in Canada. At the port of entry, the border services officer will decide the duration permitted. If s/he decides less than 6 months, the border services officer will write the departure date in the visitor´s passport or issue a visitor record. The visitor record is a status document that specifies the conditions and validity period of a visitor´s temporary stay in Canada. It can be issued to visa-required or visa-exempt foreign nationals.
If a stamp is not placed in the passport, the visitor can stay for 6 months from the date of entry or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.
Most people need a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada or if transiting through a Canadian airport en route to their final destination, but not both. Some people may only need their valid passport to enter Canada.
The entry document required depends on:
- their nationality
- the type of travel document they are travelling with
- the country that issued the travel document
- the method of travel to Canada