How to Apply for a Canada Visa Online

| Updated on March 27, 2024

Visiting Canada will require you to obtain a visa in most cases. Previously, it was only possible to apply in person, but with the rise of online technologies, one can skip queues at the Embassies and have everything done twice faster. The procedure takes a couple of clicks and is available 24/7. The following post should help you learn more about applying for the most frequently asked for visa type – a tourist visa.

Crossing Canadian Borders: Who Needs a Travel Permit?

Applying Online for Canada Visa

Canada has a strict border policy. Most foreigners must possess a visa to enter the country. However, some nationals fall into a visa-exempt category.

If your country has a visa-abolition agreement with Canada, you don’t need a tourist visa. Get an eTA if you’re traveling by plane. It’s an alternative to a standard visa and is even faster to get. If you’re planning to arrive by other means of transportation, you can cross the Canadian border visa-free.

Other countries must apply for a visitor visa several weeks before the trip. The most convenient way is to use the online services of the Canadian Immigration and Citizenship Agency.

Getting a Visa Online in 3 Steps

1. Fill in the Form on the Official Portal.

The platform is convenient to work with: it lets you save the entered information and get back to it later if necessary and won’t let you go to the next stage if you’ve entered invalid data. While the service can correct the errors by highlighting them in red, it cannot find the typos in personal information. If there are any, it may be a reason for rejection, so check everything carefully before submitting.  

2. Upload the Supporting Documents.

Here’s a checklist to keep in mind:

  • A domestic passport or any other ID proving your citizenship
  • A travel passport
  • A bank statement with a sufficient sum to cover your expenses
  • Proof of your intent to return (elderly parents and minor children to take care of, a job to 
  • resume on a set date, etc.)
  • A 420×540 pixel photo for online submission

Depending on your visa type and home country, other documents may be required.

3. Pay the Fee.

The price varies and starts from $100 CAD. Transfer the payment through the platform’s online payment system. 

Wait till you receive a notification that your application is received and is being processed. Normally it won’t take more than 3 weeks for the results to be finalized. Once the decision is made, the Embassy will send your passport with a visa enclosed through a courier service if the application is approved.

Getting the Right Photo Format

Avoid visa rejection due to an incorrect image format. The Canadian visa photo specifications are hard to follow by an amateur. Use professional services so you don’t mess up. You have 2 options:

  • Head to a photo studio. Get the digital version of the picture on your USB
  • Use online editing tools like Visafoto. Upload your selfie taken with a smartphone and let the software adjust it to the right format

The latter is faster, cheaper and more convenient, as you can do everything from the comfort of your home.

Tourist Visa Validity

As a rule, tourists get multiple entry travel permission for 5-10 years. But it doesn’t mean you can stay in Canada for that long. You must leave the country in 6 months. Sometimes earlier at the border services’ discretion. The date of departure will be written in your passport.

The process of obtaining your visa online is not complicated. Follow these tips, carefully check the data you enter in the form, and make sure your photo is compliant with the specifications. 

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