Canada does not treat all international visitors the same; citizens of certain countries will have an easier time entering Canada than others. All foreign visitors to Canada, however, must bring a valid passport from their home country.
If you want to visit Canada, you’ll likely need to apply for one of two documents: an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) or a visitor’s visa. A Canadian eTA is not the same thing as a Canadian visitor’s visa.
Who doesn’t need an eTa or a visa?
Residents of the United States have the easiest entry to Canada, and don’t require anything other than a passport to get in.
A Canadian eTA is easier and quicker to apply for than a Canadian visa is. An eTA is electronic rather than physical, and it is automatically connected to your passport once your application is approved.
Residents of Great Britain, western Europe, and a few other countries have to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before they can enter. This is a very easy process that only takes a couple of minutes and should be done online before you leave. Once completed, an ETA lasts for five years or until you get a new passport.
The list of eTA eligible countries are listed in the table below:
Antigua and Barbuda
British Virgin Islands
Korea (Republic of)
Papua New Guinea
A Canadian visitor’s visa is a physical authorization, such as a stamp or a sticker that is placed in your passport so that you are allowed to enter Canada.
Residents of countries not covered by the ETA program can only visit Canada after obtaining a short-term visitor’s visa.
If you are a citizen of a country that requires Canadian visas, you will have to undergo a longer process to get your visitor’s visa. Applications can be done online, through the mail, or at an overseas Canadian consulate. They take a couple of weeks to process and usually cost around $200.
It is illegal for anyone, from any country, to enter Canada to work or live without first obtaining a long-term visa, which is much more complicated to apply for, and take many months to be approved.