Depending on your country of residence, if you want to visit Canada, you may need to apply for a Canadian visa.
If you are on the list of countries whose nationals require a visa for Canada, then you need to apply for a Canadian visa. The type of Canadian visa you need to apply for depends on the purpose and length of your stay. For example, if you wanted to go to Canada as a visitor, you would need a Temporary Visitor Visa. If you wanted to study, you would need a Student Visa.
Here are the documents required for a Canada visa:
- Your passport.
- Appropriate Canada visa application form.
- Proof of paid Canada visa fees.
- Photographs in accordance with the photo requirements for Canada visa.
- Proof of financial means.
- Proof you will return to your home country once the Canadian visa expires.
- Identity and Civil Status Documents.
- Police clearances.
- Medical exam.
- A cover letter that explains the purpose of your travel to Canada.
- Letter of support/invitation to Canada.
The requirements may differ based on whether the applicant is an adult (over 18) or a minor (17 or under). Only adults can be primary applicants on an application. The minors must be attached as the dependents.
If a minor is travelling alone, there are different requirements. (See the visa requirements for minors below).
You must have a valid passport and any other travel documentation. When you apply for a Canadian visa, you have to provide photocopies of the information page of your passport. It must include:
- Your passport number.
- The date of issue and expiry.
- Your personal information: name, photo, place of birth, and date of birth.
Documents and forms
When you apply for a Canadian visa, you will have to download an Application Package from the IRCC website. There, you will find an instructional guide, a document checklist, as well as all the forms you have to complete and submit.
You have to submit all the documents and forms that are on the checklist. These documents include (but are not not limited to) passport copies, pictures, fee receipts, and other identity documents.
In addition to the documents listed on IRCC’s checklist, different countries may require specific documents. You will have to ask the visa office responsible in your country whether you need additional documents.
Proof of paid Canada visa fees
In order to apply for a Canadian visa, you will have to pay the necessary fees and attach the receipts on your application. The fee prices change depending on the purpose of travel.
There are two types of fees:
- Application processing fees
- Biometric fees
Canadian visa photos
You have to provide two passport pictures based on Canada’s requirements. If the pictures do not match the requirements set by Canada’s Government, your application could be rejected.
You may want to bring the photo requirements when you go to take the picture and show them to the photographer.
Proof of financial means
You have to provide evidence that you can financially support yourself and any family members that may be coming with you for the duration of your stay. You can do this through the following:
- Bank statements.
- Letter of employment showing annual earnings.
- Evidence you have arranged to receive financial support from friends/family to cover the duration of your stay.
- Evidence of income of your Canadian host or family member.
Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list, and different countries may require other types of proof.
Proof you will return to your home country once the visa expires
You will need to convince your visa officers that after your visa expires, you will return back home. There are several ways you could do that, including:
- Proof of employment. You have to provide copies of your employment contract, a letter of employment which identifies you as a permanent employee, states when you are expected to return to work, and your role at the company.
- If you own property in your home country, you have to provide evidence of it, such as title deeds or lease agreements.
- If you have familial ties in your home country or people that you need to take care of, such as elderly family members or children, you need to get evidence of your responsibilities.
Identity and Civil Status Documents
You need to attach photocopies of identity and civil status documents with your Canada visa application. This includes birth certificates, marriage certificates, or divorce/annulment certificates.
In some cases, you may be required to provide National IDs or family or household registries.
You will have to contact the visa office in your country for more information.
You will have to prove that you do not have any previous criminal records and are not a danger to Canadian society. You can do this by obtaining a police certificate or clearance in your home country.
In some cases, you may have to provide police clearances from any country you have lived in for longer than six months.
You have to be in good health in order to obtain a Canadian visa. In order to prove that, you may be required to enter a medical examination and include the results in your application.
However, if you plan to stay for less than six months, a medical exam is usually not necessary, unless you will be working closely with people.
However, your usual doctor cannot perform your examination. It will have to be a Panel Physician.
Panel Physicians for each country can be found on IRCC’s website.
Purpose of travel
You need to provide a purpose for your travel to Canada when you apply for a Canadian visa. The requirements depend on the country, but it could include:
- An invitation letter from your sponsor or the family member/friend you will visit.
- Contact information of the people who can support your stated purpose of visit.
- Any documents that support your purpose of travel.
Letter of support/invitation
In some cases, you may need to provide a letter of invitation from someone in Canada. That person has to be either a Canadian citizen or hold Permanent Residence.
The person who writes the letter is not legally responsible for you. He or she has to give you that letter, and you must include it in your application.
The letter has to include this information about you (the person applying for the visa):
- Birth date.
- Phone number and address.
- The relationship you have with the person who is writing the letter.
- How long you will stay in Canada, where you will stay, and when you plan to leave.
- How you plan to support yourself financially.
The letter also has to include the following information about the writer:
- Their complete name and date of birth.
- Their Canadian address and phone number.
- Their residence status (Citizen or Permanent Resident) and a photocopy of a document that proves it.
- Their job title.
- Their family details (names and dates of birth for his/her spouse and dependents).
- How many people are in their household.
Minors who are travelling to Canada must also abide by the same rules as all other visitors. However, there are additional document requirements for children, depending on how they are travelling. All minors, regardless of how they are travelling, must carry:
- Their passport
- Copy of their birth certificate
Then, additional documents based on whether they are travelling alone or accompanied, include:
Travelling alone: Letter of authorization for the travel, signed by both parents or legal guardians. The letter has to:
- Be in either English or French
- Include the parents’/legal guardians’ address and phone number
- Include information (name, address, phone number) of the person who will take care of the child in Canada
Accompanied by one parent: Signed letter of authorization from the parent who is not travelling with them. It has to include:
- The address and phone number of the parent not travelling.
- The photocopy of the passport and national identity card of the parent not travelling.
If the parents are divorced but share custody: The parent who is present has to bring copies of the legal custody documents and letter of authorization from the other parent.
If only one parent has custody: They must bring a copy of the custody decree.
If one of the parents has passed away: The other parent has to bring a copy of the death certificate.
If travelling with legal guardians/adoptive parents: Bring a copy of the guardianship or adoption papers.
If travelling with someone who isn’t their parent/legal guardian: That person must have a written permission from the parents/guardians. The letter has to include the address/es and phone numbers of the parents/legal guardians