Canada Visa Types

Canada has an extremely extensive visa system that can be divided into several categories and further into specific types. The exact visa one may need depends on a few factors, including the traveler's nationality, the purpose of the planned stay, the length of the intended visit, and more.

There are also numerous countries that enjoy a visa exemption and therefore can visit Canada using the Electronic Travel Authorization system. eTA is available for visa-exempt travelers entirely online and is issued within a maximum of 72 hours.

Read on for further information on the visa types offered by Canada to get a better understanding of the whole Canadian visa system and be able to choose the right visa type for your needs.

Electronic Travel Authorization for Canada

What is an eTA Canada?

eTA Canada is a multiple-entry online travel authorization document that helps the Canadian Government in pre-screening all incoming visitors and enables foreign travelers to get their visas online.

The Electronic Travel Authorization for Canada stays valid for 5 years from issuing, provided the traveler's passport will not expire during this time. Moreover, approved eTA allows their holder to stay in Canada numerous times within its validity period, with each visit as long as six months at a time.
The electronic system can be used for travels that relate to:

  • leisure (e.g., vacation, family visits, exploring Canada)
  • business (attending a meeting, conference, trade fairs, negotiations)
  • transit (when taking a layover through Canada)

How to apply for an eTA Canada?

All that eligible travelers will need to apply for an eTA to Canada is a valid passport, an active email address, and any working device connected to the internet.
The application should be made three business days prior to departure following these steps:

  1. Carefully complete the application form providing error-free personal and travel-related data.
  2. Cover the issuing fee using any preferred method of online payment.
  3. Check your email inbox for the approved eTA to Canada in PDF form.

eTA applications are approved within a maximum of 72 hours from applying (only on business days). However, most of them are processed within minutes of submitting the application.

Temporary Canadian Visas

Now moving to regular Canadian visas, obtained at an Embassy or Consulate, the first category that we can distinguish is the temporary Canadian visas. These are issued for short-term stays in Canada, usually of up to six months at a time, and can be issued as either single or multiple-entry permits.

Temporary Canadian visas can be further divided into numerous categories, depending on the applicant's purpose of visit or status. However, the most commonly known is the Canada Visitor Visa that serves perfectly for all tourism-related visits to the country.
The temporary visas can also be issued for short-term stays relating to:

  • studying
  • working
  • visiting family
  • doing business
  • giving birth in Canada
  • and other

To apply for the temporary Canadian visa, travelers must go through the official application process at an Embassy or Consulate.

Permanent Canadian Visas

Permanent Canadian visas on the other hand serve for those foreign visitors who wish to enter Canada for a more extended period of time, and even reside within the country.

The Canadian Government offers numerous immigration visas for Canada, dedicated to people who are investors, self-employed, skilled workers, start-ups, and family sponsorships and caregivers.

A permanent Canada visa may be a bit more difficult to obtain and will require numerous supporting documents to be provided by the applicant during the Canadian visa application process that should be handled at an Embassy or Consulate of Canada.