Departure to Toronto

Passport, Visa & Permits to Toronto

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This section is intended for reference only. We strongly recommend that you contact the embassy directly for the most up-to-date information that pertains to your specific situation.


You must have a valid passport to travel abroad. A passport is an official government document that certifies one's identity and citizenship. The process and cost associated with getting a passport can be high, so start the process at least six months before you plan to leave. Your passport must be valid 6 months beyond your intended stay. Minors are allowed to travel on their parents' passports up until aged 15 years.

Visas in Canada

A visa is a stamp or endorsement placed by officials on a passport that allows the bearer to enter the country. This permission is called "entry clearance".

Who needs a visa?

Many passport holders or permanent residents do not need a visa to visit Canada for short visits of under 6 months. The length of time you may stay in Canada without a visa varies according to your country of origin and other factors. If you are a citizen of a country where you do not require a visa to visit Canada, you must still:

  • Have a valid travel document (such as a passport)
  • Be in good health
  • Satisfy an immigration officer that you have ties, such as a job, home, financial assets and family, that will take you back to your country of origin
  • Satisfy an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit (for example, a return ticket)
  • Prove that you have enough money for your stay. The amount of money you will need can vary with the circumstances of the visit, how long you will stay and whether you will stay in a hotel or with friends or relatives.

All documents that you enclose with your application which are written in a language other than French or English must be accompanied by an official translation into French or English and approved by an accredited translator.

To check if you require a visa to travel to Canada, please consult the official immigration website and fill out the data required.

Citizens of British dependent territories: You do not need a visa to visit or transit in Canada if you are a citizen of a British dependent territory who derives their citizenship through birth, descent, registration or naturalization in one of the British dependent territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena or the Turks and Caicos Islands.

British National (Overseas): You do not need a visa to visit or transit in Canada if you hold a British National (Overseas) passport issued by the United Kingdom to persons born, naturalized or registered in Hong Kong.

Biometric Identity Screening

Canada plans to expand their fingerprint and photo requirements. Beginning on July 31, 2018, you may need to give your fingerprints and photo (biometrics) when you apply for a work permit if you are from Europe, the Middle East or Africa.
Find out if these changes may apply to you.

Visitor Visa for Canada

Visitors come to Canada as a tourist, to visit family and friends, or on business. Citizens not from the countries above will need to apply for a visit or Transit visa. Note that it is not usually possible to convert a tourist visa into work visa.

How to Apply

If you are planning on applying for a Visitor Visa, you first must obtain an Visitor Visa application package. The fee per person is $100 for a single or multiple entry visa, or $500 maximum fee for a family (multiple or single entry). In most countries, application fees must be paid in Canadian dollars. If you plan to visit Canada more than once, a multiple entry visa is recommended. Use the interactive map to find out where to submit your application.
Required Documents:

  • Valid travel document (such as a passport)
  • Two recent passport photos (specifics of photo requirements)
  • Application fee - non-refundable, even if your application is not accepted.
  • Proof that you have enough money for your visit to Canada. The amount of money varies depending on the circumstances of your visit, how long you will stay and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives. You can get more information from the Canadian visa office in your country or region.
  • Additional documents - You may need identification cards, proof of employment, a letter of invitation from relatives or friends in Canada, or a proposed itinerary. Check the website of the visa office responsible for the country or region where you live for more information.

Processing Time for Canadian Visas

Currently, paper applications take about 100 days and online applications take about 85 days. Processing times are subject to change and are updated weekly on the CIC site.

Student Visa for Canada

If you are interested in studying in Canada, you will most likely need to apply for a study permit. Youmust apply for a study permit before you come to Canada and should apply as soon as you receive your letter of acceptance. It is possible to apply both online and on a paper application.  Permits are available for 1 to 3 years and can be extended. The standard fee is $125.

There are some exceptions for studying in Canada without a study permit which you can find on this website.

Required Documents

  • Application for Study Permit
  • Letter of Acceptance from Educational Institution
  • Application for Temporary Resident Visa (If Necessary)
  • Custodian Declaration (for Minors)
  • Proof of Financial Support
  • Photocopy of Passport Information Page (if Applying from a Visa-Exempt Country) OR Original Passport with At Least One Blank Page (if Applying from a Non Visa-Exempt Country)
  • Two (2) Color Headshot Photos (requirements)
  • Applicable Study Permit Fee

Study permit holders can obtain a temporary work visa that allows you to work up to 20 hours per week either on or off campus while you remain enrolled full-time. You must be admitted to study in an eligible Canadian institution, have no criminal record, provide evidence of good physical health and demonstrate that you will be able to cover your expenses, including tuition, while you are in Canada.

If you do not require a visa for entrance and wish to study in Canada for less than six months, you do not need a study permit. You also may not need a study permit if you are accompanying a family member who is accredited by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada as a staff member or foreign representative. If you are a uniformed member of the armed services of foreign countries serving under the Visiting Forces Act, you may also be eligible to study in Canada without obtaining a student visa. However, any family members that accompany you, including your minor children, must apply for temporary residence visas. Find more information here.

For more information about the documents needed please consult this webpage

Processing Time for Student Visas in Canada

Processing times for study permits depend on where you are applying from. To get a processing time that reflects your situation please visit the CIC site.

Approved or Appeal of Visas in Canada

If your application is approved, you will receive a letter of introduction confirming the approval. This letter is not your study permit. Bring the letter of introduction with you to show to immigration officials at the point of entry when you arrive in Canada. A temporary resident visa (TRV) will be issued if you are from a designated country for which Canada requires a visa. The expiry date on this visa indicates the date by which you must enter Canada. The TRV will also indicate if you can enter Canada only once (a single-entry visa) or if you can enter Canada multiple times (a multiple-entry visa). If there are no problems at the point of entry, the officer will let you enter Canada and will issue your study permit.

If your application is not approved, the visa office will send you a letter explaining why your application has been refused. An application might be refused for several reasons:

  • You have not shown proof that you have enough money to support yourself while studying in Canada.
  • You have not passed the medical examination if one was required.
  • You have not satisfied the visa officer that your primary intention in Canada is to study.
  • You have not satisfied the visa officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your period of study.

If you have questions about your refusal, contact the visa office that issued the refusal letter (details will be supplied in the letter).

Work Visa in Canada

If you want to work in Canada, you must apply for a work permit, either as a skilled worker, a Temporary Worker or a Provincial Nominee. In most cases, you will need to submit your application before you arrive in Canada. You have a much shorter wait if you can qualify as a sponsored applicant, or have a job offer that you have obtained from your own efforts or through the provincial nominee program. Work permit generally cost $150 per person, but the total amount will not exceed $450 in the case of a group of three or more performing artists and their staff who apply at the same time and place.

It is recommended that you check your eligibility to work in Canada prior to applying to positions. You can check your eligibility here.

Working Holiday Visa (WHV) for Canada

According to the country and the language spoken, it may also be called the Permis Vacances-Travail (PVT), the Visa Vacances-Travail (VVT), the Working Holiday Program (WHP) or the Programa de Vacaciones y Trabajo (PVT). Best known in Canada as the International Experience Canada (IEC) initiative, this program provides work permits to young people aged 18-35 who are from one of the countries that have a bilateral reciprocal youth mobility arrangement or agreement with Canada (for the list, see our article on Jobs/Summer, Seasonal and Short-Term Jobs).

The 4 categories include: Working Holiday, Young Professionals, Internship related to studies, and Summer jobs.

Permanent Residence in Canada

A permanent resident card (formally Landed Immigrant Form) entitles a foreigner to stay in Canada. There are several different options:

  • People that have substantial personal and financial resources may qualify as an investor or an entrepreneur.
  • Family living within Canada
  • Skilled Worker
  • Self-employed workers

Be forewarned that the wait time for processing a permanent resident visa application can be extremely lengthy, especially if you do not have sponsorship or a job offer in hand. The acquisition of permanent resident status costs $490. This fee is payable by principal applicants (with some exceptions) and accompanying spouses and common-law partners. It must be paid before the immigrant visa is issued overseas or before the applicant becomes a permanent resident in Canada. Dependent children of a principal applicant or sponsor, a child to be adopted, or an orphaned brother, sister, niece, nephew or grandchild and protected persons, including Convention refugees are not required to pay this fee.

A Permanent Residence card does not allow you the right to vote or obtain any job that may require a high-level security clearance.

Documents Required:

  • Application for a Permanent Resident Card
  • Supplementary Identification Form, with Photo Attached
  • Photocopy of Secondary Identification Document
  • Two (2) Color Headshot Photos (requirements)
  • Birth Certificate or Adoption Certificate (for Applicants Under 18)
  • Copy of Receipt for Fee Payment

Sponsorship for Visas in Canada

Sponsorship is possible if you have an eligible spouse, partner, parent (including adoptive parent) or other family member who is a citizen of Canada or who holds permanent resident status, and who is willing to sponsor your application for permanent resident status, your chances of being admitted to Canada as a permanent resident are much greater. Citizens and permanent residents may also sponsor other relatives (such as dependent children) under the Family Class category if they have no eligible dependents, spouses or partners or have previously sponsored all other eligible dependents, spouses or partners. Your sponsor must be at least age 18 and agree to provide for your financial support once you arrive in Canada if you are unable to provide for your own financial needs. This qualifies you for sponsorship under the Family Class designation without the need to meet stringent financial requirements.

If you are a spouse or partner being sponsored to come to Canada, this applies to you if:

  • You are being sponsored by a permanent resident or Canadian citizen
  • You have been in a relationship for two years or less with your sponsor
  • You have no children in common
  • Your application was received on or after October 25, 2012

In addition to the required documents, If you do not presently live with your sponsoring family member, your sponsor will also need to complete a sponsorship application.

Sponsorship application is $266 for the first applicant, with $107 for each additional applicant. The fees required must be paid in full, in Canadian currency only, by you or by a third party, at the time the application is dropped off or mailed. These fees are not reimbursed, even if your application is refused.

Applying for Canadian Citizenship

To acquire citizenship, there are rigid requirements that must be satisfied. In these complicated matters, it is in your best interest to take personalized professional advice from a solicitor or from an immigration adviser.
Once you have lived in Toronto for three years, you can apply for Canadian citizenship with the Government of Canada. You must pass seven categories:

  • Age - Must be at least 18 years old (OR the person applying is the child's parent, adoptive parent or legal guardian; the child is a permanent resident, but does not need to have resided in Canada for three years; and one parent is already a Canadian citizen or is applying to become a citizen at the same time. This also applies to adoptive parents.)
  • Permanent resident status
  • Time lived (residence) in Canada – 3 out of the last five years with no minimum number of days per year (Children under the age of 18 do not need to meet this requirement. You may be able to count time you spent in Canada before you became a permanent resident if that time falls within the four-year period.)
  • Language abilities – If you are between 18 and 54 you must meet the language requirements either English and French (Acceptable proof)
  • Criminal history - If you have spent time on probation, on parole or in prison in the last four years, you may not meet the residence requirement for citizenship.
  • Knowledge of Canada - Tested in a citizenship test (Free study guide Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. A free copy is sent once an application has been received.)
  • Must have filed income tax in Canada for 3 out of the last five years which matches the requirement for physical presence in Canada

How to Apply for Canadian Citizenship

If you are an adult (age 18 or older), you need to complete Application for Canadian Citizenship - Adults (Under age 18 should fill out Application for Canadian Citizenship - Minors).

The application package contains an instruction guide. Read these instructions carefully, complete the form and attach photocopies of your documents. Do not send the originals. You will have to show the originals when you come for your test or interview, so remember to bring them with you. If you apply for more than one person and want your applications processed together, you can submit all the forms and documents in the same envelope. If the applications are sent in different envelopes, they will be processed separately. If you are sending more than one application and one of the applications is incomplete, all the applications will be returned to you. If your application is signed more than three months before we receive it or if it is dated into the future, it will be sent back. You must be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship the day before you sign the application form.

Application fees may be paid online, or at a financial institution in Canada. To pay in person, obtain an original payment receipt form (IMM 5401). The cost for applying for citizenship in Canada for an adult (18+) was $630 as of July 2018.

Update 18/08/2018


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