Interested in coming to Canada as a tourist? Here’s how to apply for a visitor visa online or by submitting a paper application.
You’ll need to submit your biometrics to the Government of Canada as part of the application process.
In most cases, applicants will need to provide their biometrics (including fingerprints and photographs).
There are advantages if you choose to submit your application online.
If you choose to submit your application online, you won’t have to pay courier fees. You also won’t have to wait for the package to arrive by mail, your application will be received instantly.
The Government of Canada also tends to process online application much faster.
Remember, incomplete applications will be returned to you, so make sure to cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s. Available tools help ensure that online applications are complete before submission.
If additional documents are required, you can submit these online as well.
You can easily check the status of your application by logging in to your online account.
Check to see if you can apply online
If you are using one of the following travel documents from a visa-exempt country, you must submit a paper application. These documents include: passport for stateless persons or refugee travel documents.
How to apply online for a visitor visa to Canada
You’ll need to have access to a scanner or camera to make digital copies of your documents, as well as a valid debit or credit card to pay for the processing fees.
Best to read the instruction guide before starting the application. If you are submitting your application online, skip step 3 and step 4 of the instruction guide (the one about paying the fees and submitting the application).
The payment for the biometrics fee is made when you submit your application for the visitor visa.
Processing times for Visitor Visa application made from outside Canada is currently 11 days. This does not include the time it will take to send your application from the Visa Application Centre (VAC) to the Government of Canada office which will process your application. It also does not include the time you will need to submit your biometrics.
Incomplete applications may experience delays until the necessary documents are submitted.
The number of days starts on the day your online application is received and ends when a decision has been made.
Processing times may be extended, depending on how many applications are being processed at any given time.
What happens when you submit an online application for a Visitor Visa to Canada?
Most applications for a Visitor Visa to Canada will require the submission of biometrics.
You’ll pay for the biometrics fee in advance, then submit your application. You will receive a letter from the Government of Canada indicating where you will submit your biometrics.
Biometrics are submitted in person, the letter you will receive from the Government of Canada will tell you where you can submit your biometrics.
Once you’ve submitted your application, it will be processed. If your application is incomplete, it will be returned to you without being processed.
You might be asked to schedule an interview with Government of Canada representatives. You might also be asked to submit additional information, as well as get medical exams and a police clearance.
After your application has been processed, any original documents you may have sent will be returned to you.
If your application has been approved, your Philippine passport will have your new visa stamped inside.
If your application has been denied, you will receive a detailed explanation why.
What happens when you arrive in Canada for the first time using your new Visitor Visa?
Just because you were issued a Visitor Visa doesn’t mean you can enter Canada.
When you arrive in Canada, your identity will be checked to make certain that you’re actually the same person who was approved for a Visitor Visa.
If you arrive at one of Canada’s 10 major airports, your fingerprints will be checked automatically at a Primary Inspection Kiosk. The kiosk will check your identity against the information collected from you when you first submitted your application for a Visitor Visa.
If you arrive at a smaller airport, or by another port of entry, your fingerprints will be checked by a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer.
Minor children are subject to the same entry requirements as adults. If you are travelling with anyone under 18 years of age, please have all their documents ready when asked by CBSA officers.
If the CBSA officer is satisfied that you meet all the entry requirements, your passport will be stamped and you will be informed how long you can stay in Canada.
Typically, visitors can stay in Canada for up to six months. CBSA officers may allow for shorter stays, just to cover the declared reason for visiting.
Be careful when answering the CBSA officer’s questions, or providing documents when asked. If you choose not to tell the truth, or submit fraudulent documents, you will likely be not allowed to enter Canada.
When answering questions from the CBSA officer, make sure that you convice them that you are indeed eligible to enter Canada and that you fully intend to leave before the end of your approved stay.
Every journey begins with a single step. Whether you’re leaving the Philippines for the first time, or you’re a seasoned OFW, there’s always something new to learn!
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