Visa Exempt Countries
Canada’s Visa Exempt Country Program permits citizens of designated countries to visit Canada for tourism, business, or family visits without the need for a visa. Visitors can stay for up to six months.
To qualify, travelers must meet certain requirements, including having a valid passport, being in good health, and demonstrating the intent to return to their home country. Visitors are subject to entry screening and may be denied entry if they pose security or health risks.
Determine whether you require a visa to enter Canada by checking the list of visa exempt countries (below); with these participating countries, a visa is not required. If you are travelling from a country not on Canada’s visa exempt list, see the requirements for visa required countries. Before travel, ensure you do not require a valid visa for travel from your country.
Determine the nature of your visit; if you are travelling to work or study in Canada, there are different requirements you must comply with. In most cases, you’ll need a valid visitor visa or eTA to enter Canada. In some specific cases, you may be eligible to do business or study without a permit for under six months as a visitor.
You must have all valid travel documents, including a current passport or electronic passport; the expiry date should be at least six months after your planned departure from Canada.
Most visa-exempt travelers, excluding U.S. citizens, need to apply for an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) online before boarding their flight to Canada. The application typically requires your passport information, personal details, and a valid email address. The eTA is usually approved within minutes or hours.
You will need to provide proof of your intended accommodation in Canada, such as a hotel reservation or an invitation from a host. Proof of your intent to depart, including a return ticket or equivalent valid proof, is also recommended.
Although not mandatory, having travel insurance is advisable to cover unexpected medical expenses and other emergencies during your stay.
Be prepared to demonstrate sufficient funds to cover your stay in Canada, including accommodation, food, and other expenses.
You must obey Canadian laws and regulations during your stay.
Process for Travellers From a Visa Exempt Country
Travelling for Tourism
For visits under six months for tourism purposes, no additional permits are required if you are travelling from a visa exempt country.
While you do not need a visa if you are travelling from a visa-exempt country, if you plan to study in Canada, you will need to obtain a study permit. To obtain a study permit, you will need to:
- Obtain a Letter of Acceptance from a Designated Learning Institution in Canada.
- Prove that you have sufficient funds to cover tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation.
- Undergo a medical examination, if required.
- Provide a clean police certificate.
- Apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
- Provide evidence that you have a genuine intention to leave Canada upon completion of your studies, such as a return ticket.
If You Are Seeking Employment
If you are a foreign national seeking employment opportunities in Canada, the appropriate Canadian work permit requirements must be followed. Canada offers various types of work permits, including open work permits, employer-specific work permits, and post-graduation work permits. To apply for a work permit, you generally need to:
- Have a job offer from a Canadian employer (for employer-specific work permits).
- Have a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), as required for some cases.
- Apply for a work permit through the appropriate stream, such as the International Mobility Program (IMP) or the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).
- Make sure you meet the eligibility criteria for the specific work permit category you are applying for, including qualifications, skills, and experience.
- Provide proof of qualifications, experience, and language skills, where applicable.
- Have a valid passport for the duration of your stay in Canada.
- Even if you’re from a visa-exempt country, you may still need a TRV (visitor visa) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to enter Canada. Check the requirements based on your nationality.
- Biometrics and Medical Exam: Depending on your home country and the nature of your work, you might need to provide biometrics and undergo a medical examination.
- Provide proof that you have enough funds to support yourself and any dependents travelling with you while you are in Canada.
- Provide a clear police clearance certificate.
- Compliance with COVID-19 Measures: Keep up to date with any COVID-19-related requirements, such as testing and quarantine rules, as they may change.
Visiting Your Children and Grandchildren in Canada
The parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or a Canadian permanent resident may be eligible for a super visa. Even for visitors from visa-exempt countries, a super visa may still be beneficial, as this travel document lets you visit your children or grandchildren for 5 years at a time and provides multiple entries for a period up to 10 years. It allows you to stay longer than the six month maximum allowed for visa exempt country travellers.
If you have been granted permanent residence in Canada, you will need your valid permanent resident card when you re-enter Canada. A valid re-entry permit is needed when travelling for an extended period. It allows permanent residents to travel outside of Canada for up to 2 years without losing their permanent resident status.
Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) Program for Visa-Exempt Travellers
Canada has introduced an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) for travelers from visa-exempt countries visiting Canada by air. The eTA is electronically linked to your passport and is a mandatory requirement for visa-exempt nationals flying to Canada. Applying for an eTA can be done online; a $7 fee applies.
The eTA is linked to your passport, is valid for up to five years, and allows you multiple entries into Canada.
While travellers from the following visa-exempt countries need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to board a flight to Canada, an eTA is not needed if entering by bus, train, or boat, including cruise ship.
- British citizens
- British National (Overseas)
- British overseas citizen (re-admissible to the United Kingdom)
- British overseas territory citizen with citizenship through birth, descent, naturalization or registration in one of the British overseas territories of:
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
- Pitcairn Island
- Saint Helena
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- British Subject with a right of abode in the United Kingdom
- Brunei Darussalam
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, with a passport issued by Hong Kong SAR.
- Israel, must have a national Israeli passport
- Republic of Korea
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Romania (electronic passport holders only)
- San Marino
- Solomon Islands
- Taiwan, with a standard passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan including a personal identification number
- United Arab Emirates
- Vatican City State, with a passport or travel document issued by the Vatican.
Foreign nationals with official Canadian documents are exempt, including:
- Travellers with a valid Canadian visa.
- Travellers with a valid status in Canada, such as a visitor, student or worker who is re-entering Canada after visiting only the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon
- Foreign nationals in certain other specific situations such as those who are passengers on a flight that makes an unscheduled stop in Canada or who transit through a Canadian airport under a special program.
If You're Planning a Visit
Whether you’re planning a short visit, pursuing higher education, or considering permanent residency, knowing the specific requirements for your situation is crucial. It’s advisable to consult the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, as immigration rules are continually changing, or Oro Immigration can help.
The Oro Immigration team of immigration experts help potential visitors and those looking to immigrate navigate Canada’s travel requirements. If you aren’t eligible, we will clearly explain the reasons, and make recommendations for alternative options.