Do I need a visa or eTA for Canada?

Are you traveling to Canada soon, or through Canada to another destination? Read here if you need to apply for a visa or an eTA . In general, Spaniards who want to fly to Canada for vacations, business or to stop over in Canada do not need a visa

Instead of the Canada visa, it will suffice to apply for a Canada eTA. With an eTA you can stay a maximum of 6 consecutive months in Canada for tourism and business purposes. 

If you meet the requirements mentioned on this article, then you can apply for a Canada eTA . If you do not meet these requirements, then you can apply for a visa at the Canadian embassy or on the Canadian government website.

A Canada visa is NOT the same as a Canada eTA. Check ahead of time what type of travel permit you need to apply for. This post explains the difference between an eTA and a visa, what the requirements are for both, and which visa you need if an eTA is not sufficient in your situation. 

You have to apply for a visa if, for example, you want to work for a Canadian company, if you want to stay in Canada for more than 6 consecutive months, or if you do not meet the passport requirements for an eTA . 

In the following sections you will find issues to consider when you are in doubt whether you need a visa or which visa you need in order to carry out your planned activities in Canada.

Canada Visa or eTA?

It is very important that you apply for the correct type of travel permit (eTA or visa). This way you can avoid being denied access when boarding your flight or being put on a return flight by the Canadian immigration service when you arrive in Canada. 

Before the introduction of the eTA Canada, any traveler to Canada who did not have Canadian nationality was required to apply for a visa. Because it is an expensive and complicated process, the Canadian government established the eTA in 2015.

The Canada eTA is easier, faster and cheaper to apply for than a visa. Under certain circumstances, which apply to most travellers, the eTA is equivalent to a visa. 

In order to qualify for an eTA , the traveler and their travel plans must meet a number of requirements .

Requirements to apply for an eTA Canada:

  • Travel to Canada by plane
  • Stay a maximum of six consecutive months in Canada ( maximum validity period of five years)
  • Traveling to Canada for vacation, business (for example, to attend meetings or visit customers or suppliers) or for a stopover
  • Upon arrival in Canada, have a return ticket or other type of ticket to leave Canada

If you meet these requirements, then you do not need to apply for a visa but it is better to apply for an eTA .

If you meet ALL the requirements listed above, you can apply for an eTA. An eTA Canada is not a visa, but an electronic travel permit required to travel to Canada without a visa. 

The eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) system was launched, among other reasons, to allow travelers to fly to Canada with less stress. 

Applying for an eTA in advance will save you a lot of time during your trip and avoid waiting times at the airport.

In the following cases you do not meet the eTA requirements and need to apply for a visa:

  • You plan to stay more than six consecutive months in Canada
  • You have plans to go to work in Canada (employed by a Canadian company)
  • Does not meet the legal or regulatory requirements of the eTA

In the cases indicated above, it is necessary to apply for a visa in order to travel to Canada. It is very important that you apply for the correct visa; the assigned visa will only be valid for the purpose for which it was issued. 

Please read the following sections carefully to correctly and quickly apply for the appropriate Canada visa.

General information about the Canada visa

If you do not meet the requirements for an eTA , you can apply for a visa.  This section helps you choose the right visa to travel to Canada.

The Canadian visa can be divided into two main categories: temporary resident visasTemporary Resident Visa , or TRV) and permanent resident visas ( Permanent Resident visa , or PR). 

Temporary resident visas are used to go to Canada for vacations, studies or work. Permanent residence permits apply to anyone who wishes to settle in Canada for a long period of time, for example to immigrate to Canada.

1. Temporary resident

visas A temporary resident visa is an official document issued by an official of a consulate or embassy. After visa approval, this physical document is affixed to the passport so that the immigration service can see that you are likely to meet all the requirements to stay in Canada temporarily.

Under Canadian law, these temporary visas are for “aliens lawfully authorized to enter Canada for temporary purposes.”

Therefore, temporary resident visas are suitable for people who want to come to Canada to spend their holidays, study or work and do not meet the eTA requirements. The intention must therefore be to stay in Canada temporarily and not live permanently in Canada.

2. Permanent residence permits

In order to be eligible for a permanent residence visa or permit, you must meet a series of strict requirements. 

You can use the Express Entry program to obtain a permanent residence permit according to the national economic immigration program, and make use of any of the following options:

  • The “ Federal Skilled Worker Program ”
  • The “ Federal Skilled Trades Program ”
  • The “ Canadian Experience Class ”

In addition, each Canadian province can establish its own conditions, which potential immigrants must meet in order to obtain a permanent residence permit. These residence permits are part of the so-called “ Provincial Nominee Program ”.

Choosing the right visa

It is very important to find out exactly which visa suits your situation. In addition to the two types of visas listed above, there are other types of Canada visas. 

Also, it is important to know that having a visa does not guarantee that you will be able to stay in Canada. Upon arrival, a customs officer may ask you questions about your trip and stay. Based on your answers, the officer will judge whether you should be allowed to continue your journey or leave Canada immediately. 

If you travel to Canada with a valid visa, you can assume that you will not have any problems with the immigration service, as long as you entered Canada for the reasons for which the visa was issued.

Reasons for rejection

It may happen that your visa for Canada is refused

Here are some of the most common rejection reasons:

  • Your health is negatively evaluated
  • You have a criminal record and therefore may pose a security risk
  • You do not have the necessary documents
  • You have already been refused entry to Canada once
  • The customs officer is not satisfied that you are visiting Canada for the purpose stated on your visa or visa application
  • The customs officer is not convinced that you intend to leave Canada
  • You cannot prove that you have sufficient financial resources to pay for your stay and your return trip
  • You do not meet the specific visa requirements

The above list is an incomplete list of possible reasons why a visa to Canada could be refused. Please note that it takes longer to apply for a Canada visa than an eTA. 

The process of applying for a Canada visa usually takes several weeks, while the Canada eTA is usually granted in a few minutes or a few days. 

Read more information about Canada eTA delivery times.

Apply for a Canada visa

After submitting your visa application, the visa may take several weeks to two months to arrive.

You can apply for the following Canada visas online:

  • Temporary resident visas, including:
  • Permanent residence permit included in the “ Federal Skilled Worker Program ”, “ Federal Skilled Trades Program ” or the “ Canadian Experience class ”

Other types of Canada visas are normally applied for through the Canadian embassy or government.

Requirements for a visa application

To start a visa application you need a valid passport and a completed visa application form (which can often be completed online). 

In addition, a series of additional documents or evidence may be relevant to your application, such as: proof that you have sufficient financial resources, the result of a medical examination, a certificate of conduct or criminal record, proof that you have health insurance, results of language exams, diplomas and other certificates.

During the visa application process, you will be asked for information about yourself, your family and the reason for your visit to Canada. 

It is important that you answer all questions correctly to avoid delays in your visa application.

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