What is a Canada temporary resident visa (TRV)?

Canadian temporary resident visa

The Canada temporary resident visa (Canada TRV), also known as a Canada visitor visa, is a mandatory travel document that certain foreign citizens must obtain to travel to the country.

Many travellers to Canada are unsure if it is necessary to have a valid TRV, an approved Canadian eTA, or both to travel to the country. This simple guide can help those with doubts to understand which travel permits they require.

What does temporary resident visa for Canada mean?

A temporary resident visa for Canada is one of the types of visas that foreign citizens who are not visa-exempt for Canada must obtain in order to travel to and stay in the country.

An approved visitor visa to Canada is issued as a single entry travel document which allows a maximum stay of up to 6 months in the country.

A visitor visa for Canada allows stays for purposes of tourism, business, or to study or work.

However, while students with a visitor visa do not need any additional travel documents if their studies are under 6 months of duration, those planning to undertake employment in Canada are also required to have a valid work permit to do so.

Citizens of the following countries are required to submit an application for a visitor visa (temporary resident visa) before they can travel to Canada:

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Congo, Democratic Republic
  • Congo, Republic of
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Djibouti
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Ivory Coast
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Korea, North
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Macao
  • Macedonia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Rwanda
  • Sao Tome e Principe
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • St. Kitts & Nevis
  • Sudan
  • Surinam
  • Swaziland
  • Syria
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Citizens of these countries who wish to stay in Canada for longer than 6 consecutive months will be required to apply for another visa type from their nearest Canadian embassy or consulate.

Can I apply for a TRV within Canada?

Applicants who are already in Canada and applying for a study permit, work permit or visitor record are now able to submit a Canada visitor visa online application.

However, the usual process for foreign citizens to submit a Canada visitor visa application involves visiting a Canadian visa application centre (VAC) in either the country in which the applicant has been lawfully admitted, or the applicant’s country of nationality or habitual residence.

To successfully apply for a Canada visitor visa, it is usually necessary for applicants to make an appointment at one of these centers in advance and bring along a range of supporting documents, including:

  • A valid passport from an eligible country
  • A completed Canada visitor visa application form
  • A recent photograph of the traveller, passport-sized
  • A copy of a confirmed flight ticket for return or onward travel
  • A travel itinerary for the intended stay in Canada.

Additional supporting documentation may also be requested depending on the purpose of the intended travel, and it will also be necessary to pay the Canada visitor visa fee before the application can be processed.

Once the application is submitted, it is usually necessary for the applicant to supply biometric data (fingerprints and photo) within 30 days of visiting the visa centre.

The Canada visitor visa processing time for an application submitted at a VAC varies depending on the workload of the individual application center and if the applicant needs to meet any additional requirements.

How long is a Canadian temporary resident visa valid for?

Typically, those who apply for a visitor visa for Canada are required to specify their intended date of entry when submitting a TRV application. This is the date from which the visa becomes valid, and the validity lasts for the duration of the traveller’s stay, up to 6 months.

Nevertheless, it may also be possible to extend a temporary resident visa for Canada either online or with a paper application. This should be done at least 30 days before the initial visa expires.

Canadian TRV vs the ETA for Canada

The main difference between a Canadian temporary resident visa and an Electronic Travel authorization is that those who require a visa for Canada for short stays are not eligible to apply for an ETA online.

The Canadian ETA online application system can only be used by visa-exempt citizens planning to travel to the country for stays of up to 6 months with each entry. However, it is a multiple-entry travel authorization and has a much longer validity than the TRV, as it is valid for 5 years from approval.

Finally, the Canada visitor visa checklist for supporting documents is much longer than the list of requirements to apply for a Canadian ETA, as it is only necessary to have a valid passport, a current email address, and a valid credit or debit card to submit an electronic authorization form online.