According to Canada’s Immigration Law, “visitor” is “a person who is lawfully in Canada, or seeks to come to Canada, for a temporary purpose…”. There are three groups of visitors to Canada:
It is the responsibility of potential visitors to check with the Canadian immigration office abroad to find out how they might be affected by visa regulations. Every visitor, unless prescribed, must apply for and obtain a visa before appearing at a Port of Entry. All visitors who are required to obtain a visa must be in possession of the visa when they appear at a Port of Entry.
The person who makes an application for a visitor visa should be prepared to present a valid passport or other approved travel document to Canadian immigration officials. The person who makes an application for a visitor visa has the burden of satisfying the immigration officials that he or she is not an immigrant. Visitors to Canada must satisfy an immigration officer that:
- They intend to return to their home country and will not try to stay in Canada
- They are in good health (some visitors may be asked to undergo a medical examination at their own expense)
- They do not have a criminal record or are a security risk
- They have sufficient funds to cover travel costs and support themselves in Canada
Single entry visas may be issued up to six month. The maximum validity for multiple-entry visitor visas is up to five years. If visitors would like to extend the duration of a visit and/or change the terms and conditions of the stay, they have to apply for visa extension. Schedule II of the Immigration Regulations lists the types of visitors who are exempt from a visitor visa requirements.
Individuals applying for student authorizations must be able to show evidence of their acceptance at a university, college or other Canadian educational institution. They must also be able to demonstrate that they have enough money to support themselves in Canada while studying. Visitors coming to Canada to work in addition to visitor visa must have a special employment authorization.
The fact that a prospective visitor may have an immigrant application pending or is planning to apply for permanent residence does not constitute grounds to refuse to issue a visitor visa. A person may have dual intent of immigration and of abiding by the immigration law respecting temporary entry.