Travel requirements
Canada visa policy

Canada visa policy

The Canada visa policy specifies the requirements regarding the type of visa that foreign citizens must hold in order to enter Canada. Depending on one’s nationality, intended duration of stay as well as travel needs, different types of visa may be required.

According to the current Canadian immigration policy, nationals from more than 50 countries around the globe can travel to Canada without a visa. Nevertheless, most of them need to complete the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before their planned trip if they are going to enter Canada by air. Nationals or permanent residents of the U.S. are exempt from the requirement to obtain an eTA to travel to Canada.

The Government of Canada requires all non-visa-exempt countries, which are not eligible for eTA Canada, to apply for a relevant visa directly at one of the Canadian diplomatic missions present in the countries of their residence.

Moreover, all nationals, including even those who are eligible for eTA, must remember that an embassy visa is required any time they wish to travel to Canada for long-term stay and/or purposes other than tourism, business, or transit.

Apart from a valid visa for Canada, one must also remember to hold a passport that will remain effective for at least 6 months from the date they plan to arrive in Canada.


Who can enter Canada?

Canadian immigration officials perform thorough background checks on persons wishing to travel to Canada. Some offenses can result in entry denial.

According to the immigration law of Canada, a person who has committed or been convicted of a minor or serious crime may be deemed as ‘criminally inadmissible.’ The said crimes include the following:

  • assault
  • dangerous driving
  • theft
  • manslaughter
  • driving under drug or alcohol influence
  • drug or controlled substance trafficking/possession

The full list of criminal offenses that may lead to refused entry to Canada can be found here.

Please note that if you were convicted of a crime when being younger than 18, you may still be eligible to enter Canada.


Entry Requirements for Canada

Every traveler considering visiting Canada should check on the latest Canadian entry requirements, including necessary documents, visa regulations, as well as other documents that may be essential to travel to Canada issues-free.


Documents check-list for entering Canada

Following, these are the basic documents that you do need to hold if arriving in Canada:

  • Canada eTA (only for air travel)/regular visa
  • a passport (valid for at least 6 months following the planned arrival date)
  • travel insurance (optional)


Methods of getting visa to Canada

Electronic visa (eTA Canada)

More than 50 different countries in the world can now obtain the Canadian eTA if they plan short-term business, tourism, or transit-related stays in Canada.

The Canada eTA system was introduced in 2015 and applies to most visa-exempt countries whose nationals wish to travel to Canada by air.

The eTA-eligible applicants can submit an online questionnaire within minutes from the comfort of their homes. The entire application can be completed online.

The approved Canadian eTA will be linked digitally to the applicant’s passport. The approved electronic authorization enables numerous entries to Canada throughout a 5-year validity period, while every single stay can be as long as 6 months.


Regular visa

According to the Canadian visa policy, more than 190 nationalities need to obtain an embassy visa to travel to Canada, regardless of their traveling motive and planned length of stay in the country.

The application for an embassy visa should be submitted well in advance as it may take several weeks to receive the final decision. Applicants may need to attend a visa interview as well as provide certain supporting documents that may vary depending on the requested visa type.

To be eligible for a tourist embassy visa, one needs to be in good health, prove sufficient ties with their home country, and have sufficient funds to cover the entire stay in Canada.


CAN+ Program

CAN+ was introduced by the Canadian authorities to foreigners who have traveled to Canada within the last 10 years or who hold a valid visa for the U.S. Its aim was to facilitate and speed up the process of getting a visa for foreign travelers having ties to Canada.

The program requires eligible applicants to apply for a visa at certain Canadian diplomatic missions without the need to provide a number of supporting documents.

To apply for a visa through CAN+, an eligible applicant just needs to provide proof of travel to the United States and proof that they have traveled to Canada within the last 10 years, or hold a valid US visa.

Other Canada visa programs

Canada also offers a parent and grandparent super visa for parents and grandparents of nationals of Canada or Canadian permanent residents.

The visa enables spending in Canada for up to 5 years without the need to renew the applicant’s status. Moreover, the super visa is a multiple-entry visa issued for a period of up to 10 years.


Countries and regions which require a visa for entry into Canada

Following, you will find the lists of countries eligible for eTA as well as those nationalities that need to apply for a regular visa for Canada.

Electronic visa (eTA Canada)

  • AndorraAndorra
  • United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates
  • AustriaAustria
  • AustraliaAustralia
  • BarbadosBarbados
  • BelgiumBelgium
  • BulgariaBulgaria
  • BahamasBahamas
  • SwitzerlandSwitzerland
  • ChileChile
  • CyprusCyprus
  • Czech RepublicCzech Republic
  • GermanyGermany
  • DenmarkDenmark
  • EstoniaEstonia
  • SpainSpain
  • FinlandFinland
  • FranceFrance
  • United KingdomUnited Kingdom
  • GreeceGreece
  • Hong KongHong Kong
  • CroatiaCroatia
  • HungaryHungary
  • IrelandIreland
  • IsraelIsrael
  • IcelandIceland
  • ItalyItaly
  • JapanJapan
  • South KoreaSouth Korea
  • LiechtensteinLiechtenstein
  • LithuaniaLithuania
  • LuxembourgLuxembourg
  • LatviaLatvia
  • MonacoMonaco
  • MaltaMalta
  • MexicoMexico
  • NetherlandsNetherlands
  • NorwayNorway
  • New ZealandNew Zealand
  • New GuineaNew Guinea
  • PolandPoland
  • San MarinoSan Marino
  • TaiwanTaiwan
  • Vatican CityVatican City
  • SamoaSamoa
  • SingaporeSingapore
  • PortugalPortugal
  • SwedenSweden
  • SlovakiaSlovakia
  • SloveniaSlovenia
  • Brunei DarussalamBrunei Darussalam
  • RomaniaRomania
  • Solomon IslandsSolomon Islands

Regular visa

  • AfghanistanAfghanistan
  • AnguillaAnguilla
  • AlbaniaAlbania
  • ArmeniaArmenia
  • AngolaAngola
  • ArgentinaArgentina
  • American SamoaAmerican Samoa
  • ArubaAruba
  • Aland IslandsAland Islands
  • AzerbaijanAzerbaijan
  • Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina
  • BangladeshBangladesh
  • Burkina FasoBurkina Faso
  • BahrainBahrain
  • BurundiBurundi
  • BeninBenin
  • BermudaBermuda
  • BoliviaBolivia
  • BrazilBrazil
  • BhutanBhutan
  • BotswanaBotswana
  • BelarusBelarus
  • BelizeBelize
  • Cocos IslandsCocos Islands
  • CongoCongo
  • Central African RepublicCentral African Republic
  • Republic of the CongoRepublic of the Congo
  • Ivory CoastIvory Coast
  • Cook IslandsCook Islands
  • CameroonCameroon
  • ChinaChina
  • ColombiaColombia
  • Costa RicaCosta Rica
  • SerbiaSerbia
  • CubaCuba
  • Christmas IslandChristmas Island
  • DjiboutiDjibouti
  • DominicaDominica
  • Dominican RepublicDominican Republic
  • AlgeriaAlgeria
  • EcuadorEcuador
  • EgyptEgypt
  • EritreaEritrea
  • EthiopiaEthiopia
  • FijiFiji
  • Falkland IslandsFalkland Islands
  • MicronesiaMicronesia
  • Faroe IslandsFaroe Islands
  • GabonGabon
  • GrenadaGrenada
  • GeorgiaGeorgia
  • French GuianaFrench Guiana
  • GhanaGhana
  • GibraltarGibraltar
  • GreenlandGreenland
  • GambiaGambia
  • Guinea BissauGuinea Bissau
  • GuineaGuinea
  • GuadeloupeGuadeloupe
  • Equatorial GuineaEquatorial Guinea
  • GuatemalaGuatemala
  • GuamGuam
  • GuyanaGuyana
  • HondurasHonduras
  • HaitiHaiti
  • IndonesiaIndonesia
  • IndiaIndia
  • Indian Ocean TerritoryIndian Ocean Territory
  • IraqIraq
  • IranIran
  • JamaicaJamaica
  • JordanJordan
  • KenyaKenya
  • KyrgyzstanKyrgyzstan
  • CambodiaCambodia
  • KiribatiKiribati
  • ComorosComoros
  • Saint Kitts and NevisSaint Kitts and Nevis
  • North KoreaNorth Korea
  • KuwaitKuwait
  • Cayman IslandsCayman Islands
  • KazakhstanKazakhstan
  • LaosLaos
  • LebanonLebanon
  • Saint LuciaSaint Lucia
  • Sri LankaSri Lanka
  • LiberiaLiberia
  • LesothoLesotho
  • LibyaLibya
  • MoroccoMorocco
  • MoldovaMoldova
  • MontenegroMontenegro
  • MadagascarMadagascar
  • Marshall IslandsMarshall Islands
  • MacedoniaMacedonia
  • MaliMali
  • MyanmarMyanmar
  • MongoliaMongolia
  • MacauMacau
  • Northern Mariana IslandsNorthern Mariana Islands
  • MartiniqueMartinique
  • MauritaniaMauritania
  • MontserratMontserrat
  • MauritiusMauritius
  • MaldivesMaldives
  • MalawiMalawi
  • MalaysiaMalaysia
  • MozambiqueMozambique
  • NamibiaNamibia
  • New CaledoniaNew Caledonia
  • NigerNiger
  • Norfolk IslandNorfolk Island
  • NigeriaNigeria
  • NicaraguaNicaragua
  • NepalNepal
  • NauruNauru
  • OmanOman
  • PanamaPanama
  • PeruPeru
  • French PolynesiaFrench Polynesia
  • PhilippinesPhilippines
  • PakistanPakistan
  • Sierra LeoneSierra Leone
  • SenegalSenegal
  • SomaliaSomalia
  • SurinameSuriname
  • El SalvadorEl Salvador
  • SyriaSyria
  • SwazilandSwaziland
  • Caicos IslandsCaicos Islands
  • ChadChad
  • TogoTogo
  • ThailandThailand
  • TajikistanTajikistan
  • TurkmenistanTurkmenistan
  • TunisiaTunisia
  • TongaTonga
  • TurkeyTurkey
  • TrinidadTrinidad
  • TuvaluTuvalu
  • TanzaniaTanzania
  • UkraineUkraine
  • UgandaUganda
  • United StatesUnited States
  • UruguayUruguay
  • UzbekistanUzbekistan
  • Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesSaint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • VenezuelaVenezuela
  • British Virgin IslandsBritish Virgin Islands
  • VietnamVietnam
  • VanuatuVanuatu
  • SamoaSamoa
  • YemenYemen
  • MayotteMayotte
  • South AfricaSouth Africa
  • ZambiaZambia
  • ZimbabweZimbabwe
  • QatarQatar
  • SeychellesSeychelles
  • PalauPalau
  • RwandaRwanda
  • RussiaRussia
  • Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia
  • Trinidad and TobagoTrinidad and Tobago
  • ParaguayParaguay
  • SudanSudan
  • South SudanSouth Sudan
  • PalestinePalestine
  • United States Virgin IslandsUnited States Virgin Islands
  • Turks and Caicos IslandsTurks and Caicos Islands
  • Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Sao Tome and PrincipeSao Tome and Principe
  • Saint MartinSaint Martin
  • Saint HelenaSaint Helena
  • ReunionReunion
  • Puerto RicoPuerto Rico
  • CuracaoCuracao
  • Cape VerdeCape Verde
  • Antigua and BarbudaAntigua and Barbuda
  • NiueNiue
  • Isle of ManIsle of Man
  • GuernseyGuernsey
  • JerseyJersey
  • Saint BarthelemySaint Barthelemy
  • Sint MaartenSint Maarten

Entry requirements for children

Travelers younger than 18 are considered minors by the Canadian authorities. They are subject to the same entry requirements as any other visitor.

If a minor child is traveling to Canada alone, the following documents are needed:

  • a child’s own passport
  • a birth certificate copy
  • an authorization letter (either in English or French) signed by both parents/legal guardians, including their contact details as well the contact details of the person who will take care of the traveling child in Canada.

Transit information

Visa-exempt citizens can transit through Canada visa-free, irrespective of their final destination or transportation mode. Nevertheless, they still need to obtain an eTA for transit stops if entering Canada by air (this requirement does not apply to US nationals).

Additionally, under the China Transit Program and the Transit Without Visa Program, certain non-visa-exempt countries can be exempt from the requirement to hold a Canadian embassy transit visa if traveling to and from the US. They must meet all the conditions listed below:

  • hold a valid regular US visa
  • travel on one of the approved airlines
  • transit through one of the Canadian international airports participating in the visa-free travel agreements
  • clear customs and immigration at the airport during Canadian Border Patrol hours on the same calendar day (if arriving in Canada outside the U.S.)

What is essential, travelers eligible for these programs cannot exit the designated transit zone in Canada when arriving from the U.S., or the post-preclearance zone if they travel from a third country and are subject to US immigration and customs.

A transit visa for Canada is mandatory if you are a non-visa-exempt traveler and:

  • the stop of your international flight is at a Canadian airport before it reaches your final destination
  • you plan to connect two international flights at one of the Canadian airports
  • your transit through Canada in 48 hours or less
  • you do not hold a valid Canadian visitor visa

A visitor visa for transit through Canada is necessary in case of visa-required countries’ nationals who wish to:

  • travel to Canada (including air transit stop not exceeding 48 hours)
  • stay in Canada for more than 48 hours before traveling further

A Canadian visitor visa is also mandatory for transit passengers from non-visa-exempt countries entering Canada by bus, car, train, boat, or cruise ship.


Important information

  • Canadian entry requirements are quite complex and may differ depending on various factors, including an individual’s nationality, travel purpose, as well as the desired period of time they wish to stay in Canada.
  • Canada’s immigration policy is very strict regarding criminal background – all travelers wishing to visit Canada are subject to a detailed screening before they are granted access to the country.
  • Most foreign travelers need a visa to travel to Canada. Visa-exempt nationalities still need to apply for Canadian eTA, which is Electronic Travel Authorization.
  • If your travel purpose is other than tourism, business, or transit and/or your nationality, and/or you are not listed as eTA-eligible, you will need to obtain a regular visa covering your particular travel needs.
  • The Government of Canada lifted all COVID-related entry restrictions in the autumn of 2022, including testing and quarantine requirements, for all travelers entering Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do I need a visa to travel to Canada?

Yes. Only nationals of the USA can enjoy visa-free travel and up to a 6-month stay within a 1-year period. Other nationalities need to apply for a prior travel authorization before arriving in Canada.

What are the methods of getting a visa for Canada?

Canada offers different methods of getting a visa. It is the traveler's nationality and traveling purpose that determine how and what type of visa for Canada one should obtain.

Can I get a Canada visa on arrival?

No. Canada does not offer visas on arrival. Eligible travelers need to obtain an eTA before arriving in Canada. Others should apply for a relevant visa at the nearest embassy or consulate of Canada.

What are the requirements for going to Canada?

The Canadian entry requirements differ according to the traveler's nationality or traveling motive. Most travelers, however, need to hold a valid visa/Canadian eTA and a passport that will remain valid for at least 6 months from the intended arrival date.

Do I need a visa to transit through Canada?

Citizens of visa-exempt countries may transit through Canada visa-free no matter their final travel destination as well as a transportation mode. Nevertheless, all of the eTA-eligible applicants, except for the US nationals, still need to apply for eTA if they plan to arrive in Canada by air for transit purposes.

What are the requirements for children traveling to Canada?

Entry requirements for children are the same as for adult travelers as long as they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Minors traveling alone may need to provide additional documents.