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How to acquire Canadian visa

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If you have a nationality of one of the 54 visa exemption countries then you will need to apply for an eTA. Otherwise, you must apply for a visitor visa. In this article, we will go through both of these visa application processes.

Who needs to acquire Electronic Travel Authorization

Since December 2013, eTA or Electronic Travel Authorization has been introduced by the Canadian government. This system was established as a common approach to screen visa-exempt foreign nationals.

There are 54 visa exemption countries that have an exemption agreement with Canada. Residents of these countries don’t need to obtain a Canadian visa when traveling there for a period of up to six months.

However, these people will need to acquire an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) when visiting Canada by air.

Within these 54 countries, all of the European Union countries are included as well as 26 other countries including the United States.

Applying for Electronic Travel Authorization

The following application process applies if you have a residency in one of the 54 visa-exempt countries.

You can apply for eTA by going to the website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The application process usually takes from a few minutes to a few days before approval. To get an eTA, flight tickets and hotel bookings are not required.

To simplify, here is a step-by-step approach on how to apply for eTA.

  1. Get your payment card and passport ready and read the help document the Canadian government has provided;
  2. Prepare all of the necessary information and use the online form to apply;
  3. Pay the application fee of 7 CAD right after form completion;
  4. Read the email about your eTA application;
  5. In case you will need to submit any additional details, an instructional email will be sent to you within 72 hours.

Here is what you will need to complete the eTA application form and pay for it.

  1. A valid passport from a visa-exempt country;
  2. An email address;
  3. A valid payment method to pay the application fee of 7 CAD.

Applying for a visitor visa

Those nationals, who don’t qualify for an eTA will need to acquire a temporary resident visa (TRV) also known as visitor visa. It is issued by a Canadian Immigration Visa Office outside Canada.

It is a travel document that gets attached to your passport. It shows that its holder has satisfied all of the requirements and conditions to enter Canada as a visitor. It can be either single or multiple entries in Canada depending on the purpose you applied for.

Most visitors will be able to stay in Canada for up to 6 months. The fee you will need to pay to acquire a visitor visa for Canada starts from 100 CAD.

The visa application process is the following.

  1. Create a GCKey account to sign in to the CIS website;
  2. Choose the type of visitor visa;
  3. Fill in the necessary details;
  4. Download Canada visa application forms;
  5. Fill and apply an electronic signature to the visa application forms;
  6. Upload these documents once filled and signed;
  7. Upload any supporting documents;
  8. Pay a fee;
  9. Submit your application;
  10. Check the status via the tracking number you got provided;
  11. Mail your passport.

Visitor visa processing time varies depending on your nationality. Also, you might need to provide biometrics with your application.

Submitting a visa application on paper

To submit your Canadian visa application on paper, you must follow the following visa application process.

  1. Download visa application form from the CIC website read all the instructions and fill out all the necessary information;
  2. Find the appropriate fees for your application and the bank payment draft details via the CIC website. Once you know the details, pay the fees for your visa application;
  3. Take the completed forms, passport, photographs, supporting documents and the CIC payment instruments you used and go to the Canada Visa Application Centre in your country;
  4. In the Canada Visa Application Centre, you will have your biometrics taken. You will also receive a receipt after submitting your documents. This receipt will let you follow the status of your application via your unique tracking number.


Depending on your nationality, you will need to apply for a visitor visa (temporary resident visa) or an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) to visit Canada. Both of these processes can be done online. You can also apply on paper to get a Canadian temporary resident visa.

To get more detail information go to the Government of Canada website.

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