Canada Visa Policy

Check the visa policy of Canada and discover the travel requirements for your nationality.

Visa Policy for Canada

On this page, you can check the Visa policy of Canada for your nationality and discover the requirements you need to meet to travel to the country.

Check Canadian visa options for passport holders of your country by browsing the boxes below.

The Canadian visa policy determines who may enter the country without a visa, as well as the requirements for foreign citizens who do need a visa for Canada to travel to, enter, and remain within the country.

The Canadian immigration policy currently states that citizens of over 50 countries around the world are able to enter Canada visa-free for short stays. However, citizens of the majority of Canada visa-exempt countries are required to register for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) online before departure if entering Canada by air.

The only exception is citizens or permanent residents of the United States, who are not required to obtain an eTA to travel to Canada.

All travelers who are not visa-exempt are required to apply for a visa from a Canadian government diplomatic office in their country of residence.

When applying for an embassy visa, it is necessary to indicate which of the different types of visa for Canada the applicant requires, whether a Canadian visitor visa for tourism, a business visa, work visa, student visa, or transit visa to pass through on the way to an onward destination.

Although they do not need a visa for short stays, citizens of Canadian visa not required countries are also required to apply for an embassy visa to travel to Canada for longer periods or purposes not permitted visa-exempt or with an eTA.

Below you will find a full list of travel visa restrictions for Canada. Browse the list to discover the requirements for your nationality. You can also check this page periodically to keep track of any Canadian immigration policy changes.

Tourist Visa Policy for Canada

The visa policy for traveling to Canada for tourism depends on the nationality of the traveler.

Over 50 nationalities are able to enter Canada without a visa for short stays for purposes of either tourism, business, or transit. However, the majority of visa-free nationalities are required to submit an electronic travel authorization application online and receive approval before they can visit Canada if traveling by air.

This is not a requirement for United States citizens and permanent residents, who are able to enter Canada visa-free for up to 180 days by presenting either a valid US passport, passport card, or NEXUS traveler card.

However, to travel to Canada for longer periods or purposes other than tourism, business, or transit, it is necessary to obtain a visa from one of the Canadian diplomatic missions around the world.

Applicants for a Canadian embassy visa are usually required to make an appointment at the nearest consulate of Canada, bringing along a completed visa application form.

It is necessary to meet different Canadian visa requirements for supporting documents depending on the type of visa for Canada the applicant requests.

Find below further information about the visa policy of Canada for your nationality.

eTA for Canada

Citizens of over 50 nationalities across the world have an exemption from applying for a visa for Canada for short stays for tourism, business or transit purposes.

However, although a visa is not required for these citizens, it is mandatory for visa-free travelers, excluding US residents, to pre-register for an electronic travel authorization for Canada (eTA) if traveling to the country by air for a short stay.

The Canada eTA program was introduced in 2015 and obtaining an electronic travel authorization is a mandatory requirement for most visa-exempt nationalities arriving by air.

Eligible citizens are able to register for a Canadian eTA through a simple online application which takes just a few minutes to complete, to receive an approved travel authorization electronically linked to their passport.

An approved eTA for Canada is a multiple entry travel authorization that allows the holder to stay in Canada for up to 6 months with each entry. It is valid for 5 years from the date of issue, or until the associated passport expires, whichever comes first.

A Canada electronic travel authorization is not required for overland entry via one of the land border crossings between Canada, or for entry by sea.

eTA-eligible travelers who wish to visit Canada for longer consecutive periods, or purposes such as to work or study, should contact their nearest Canadian Embassy or Consulate for further information.

Below you will find a comprehensive list of all the countries for which an eTA is needed to visit Canada.

Canada eTA Exemptions

Aside from US citizens and nationals, and citizens and permanent residents of Canada, the following persons are exempt from having to obtain a Canada eTA:

  • Holders of a visa for Canada
  • Flight crew members
  • Members of the Canadian royal family
  • Visiting armed force members from a designated state
  • Holders of diplomatic acceptances
  • French citizens residing in Saint Pierre and Miquelon who enter Canada directly from the territory
  • A person who is conducting inspections of flight operation procedures or cabin safety of a commercial air carrier operating international flights, who holds valid documentation
  • Those with a valid study, work, or temporary resident permit for Canada who will only visit the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon, provided that they return to Canada before their period of authorized stay expires.

Additionally, passengers on a flight that has made an emergency landing in Canada do not need an eTA, nor do travelers on a flight that originated from or travels to the United States and has stopped in Canada for refueling.

Embassy or Consular Visa Required

The Canada visa policy states that there are currently over 190 nationalities who are required to obtain a Canadian embassy visa in advance of travel, no matter the intended purpose and duration of the stay in Canada.

These citizens are required to apply for a visa from a Canadian Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence well in advance of their intended arrival, to allow for sufficient processing time for the visa.

The protocol of applying for a Canadian embassy visa usually involves making an appointment at a government diplomatic office of Canada and attending a visa interview with a range of supporting documentation depending on the visa type the applicant requires.

It is usually necessary to bring along a completed Canada visa application, indicating whether the traveler needs a Canadian tourist visa, transit visa, student visa, business visa or work visa on the form. The validity period of an approved embassy visa depends on the purpose of the travel.

Depending on the applicant’s nationality, it may be possible to submit an application for a Canada visitor visa, work permit, study permit and certain types of permanent residency online without having to visit an embassy. However, in these cases, it is necessary for the individual to supply biometric data (fingerprints, a current photograph) as part of the application.

Browse the list below and discover if you need an embassy visa for Canada to travel to the country.

Embassy or Consular Visa Required: Country list

Click on the links below to find out more about each country

CAN+ Program

Travelers of some nationalities who have been to Canada in the last 10 years or who possess a valid US visa are eligible to participate in the program known as CAN+.

The CAN+ program was introduced by the Canadian government in order to make it easier for foreign citizens who have ties to Canada to obtain a visa for the country.

Eligible citizens are able to apply for a visa through CAN+ at select Canadian diplomatic offices. The program greatly simplifies the process of obtaining a visa for Canada, as applicants are required to present less supporting documentation than for a traditional Canadian embassy visa.

In order to apply for a Canada visa through CAN+, the applicant is only required to supply proof of travel to the US, as well as proof of sufficient financial means to cover their stay.

Additionally, parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents are able to apply for a parent and grandparent super visa for Canada. This visa type permits the holder to spend up to a maximum of 2 years in Canada without having to renew their status.

US permanent residents and citizens of a Canada visa-exempt country are also able to apply for a visa through these programs, but will not be given a visa label in their passport. Instead, such applicants must also apply for a Canada eTA after their visa application has been approved.

Visa Not Required

Canadian visa laws state that certain nationalities do not need a visa for Canada to enter the country, nor do they need to register for an eTA.

At the moment, there is only one country whose citizens are not required to obtain any kind of permit to visit Canada.

Nationals of the United States can enter and stay in Canada for up to 6 months within a 1-year period without having to apply for a travel authorization. They simply have to show some proof of US citizenship or nationality.

This also applies to foreign citizens lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence who possess a valid US Permanent Resident Card (Green card) or a valid Alien Documentation Identification and Telecommunication (ADIT) stamp.

It is only necessary for such individuals to show proof of this documentation if attempting to cross a Canadian land border from the USA.

However, US permanent residents arriving by air, regardless of the purpose of entry or whether they have a valid study or work permit, are required to have an eTA to enter Canada, as well as a valid passport and proof of US residency.

There are also some restrictions for entering Canada from the US. All travelers from the US must convince a Canadian border official that they are in good health, and have strong ties in their home country and sufficient financial means for the stay. In some cases, a medical exam or a letter of invitation may also be required to gain entry to Canada.

Find below an up-to-date list of all the nationalities who do not need a visa to travel to Canada.

Visa Not Required: Country list

Click on the links below to find out more about each country

Transit Visa Not Required

Nationals of the United States and US permanent residents are eligible to transit through Canada without a visa regardless of the final destination and mode of transport used.

Under the Transit Without Visa Program (TWOV) and the China Transit Program (CTP), select non visa-exempt nationalities traveling to and from the United States who meet certain criteria are also exempt from a consular Canadian transit visa. To be eligible it is necessary to meet all the following conditions:

    • Have a valid US embassy visa
    • Travel on an approved airline (Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, Air China, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Westjet, Xiamen Airlines, or on Air Canada Express flights operated by Jazz Air, Sky Regional Airlines, or Air Georgian)
    • Transit through a participating Canadian international airport
    • If arriving from outside the U.S., clear US. immigration and customs at the airport during Canadian Border Patrol preclearance operating hours on the same calendar day.

Additionally, individuals eligible for these programs must remain in the designated international transit area when arriving in Canada from the US, or the post-preclearance area when arriving from a third country, after clearing US immigration and customs.

In order to clear US immigration and customs when traveling to the United States, Canada transit visa-exempt citizens must be in possession of a valid, unexpired US visa.

Nevertheless, it is possible to use an expired US visa for transit when traveling from the United States to a third country, if the passenger is not under a removal or deportation order and has not overstayed their authorized period in the USA.

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