Who needs to go to an embassy to travel to Canada?

visa at the Canadian embassy or consulate

Citizens of 60 visa-exempt countries are not required to attend a Canadian embassy or consulate to travel to Canada.

Instead, foreign nationals from these countries should apply online for the Canada Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) which was introduced in August 2015.

In addition to the country of origin, whether or not a traveler is required to attend an embassy or consulate in person is also dependent on the reason for travel.

Work, visitor, transit, and residency visas are available. Applicants should check the Canada visa types carefully to ensure they select the correct type of permit.

This article provides information for those groups of travelers who are not eligible to apply for the Canada eTA:

  • Citizens of non-visa-exempt countries
  • Entering Canada to work
  • Applying for Canadian residency

Travelers should check the visa requirements to find out the Canadian eTA eligibility and, if not, which type of visa they require.

How to Obtain a Visitor Visa for Canada

Thanks to the introduction of the Canada eTA, residents of many nations are able to stay in the country for tourism, business, or transit purposes visa-free. The application takes just minutes to complete and the approved eTA is sent by email.

The eTA has a validation period of 5 years, or until the passport expires, and permits multiple entries of up to 6 months each.

Unlike the eTA, the visitor visa is only valid for a single entry, allowing for one stay of up to 6 months.

Can I get an eTA instead of a visitor visa?

Citizens of the following visa-exempt countries are eligible for the eTA and therefore do not need to visit a consulate or embassy to obtain a visitor visa or temporary resident visa:

  • Andorra
  • Anguila
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Bermuda
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chile
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Falkland Islands
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Montserrat
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Pitcairn Island
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • St. Helena
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • United Kingdom
  • Vatican City
Obtain a Canadian eTA

What documentation is required to apply for a Canada visitor visa?

Citizens of non-visa-exempt countries may be required to attend their nearest Canadian consulate or embassy in person to submit the required documentation.

Applicants must supply biometric data (such as fingerprints) and might also be requested to attend an interview.

In certain cases, a Canadian invitation letter is needed. The invitation letter must be written by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of the county. It helps officials validate the reason for the stay and prove that the applicant has financial and social support.

Although the invitation letter strengthens the application, it does not guarantee that the visa application will be approved.

How to Obtain a Work Visa for Canada

Foreign citizens seeking employment in Canada should ensure they meet Canada’s work visa requirements.

Workers with either a visitor visa or eTA must apply for a work permit before entering the country.

In order to be granted the work permit, applicants have to meet a set of criteria which includes:

  • Being able to provide evidence they will leave once the permit expires
  • Showing they are in good health (this may require a medical exam)
  • Obey the law and have no record of criminal activity (police clearance certificate may be required)
  • Prove they have sufficient funds to support themselves and their family

How to Obtain a Transit Visa for Canada

The transit visa is required by citizens of non-visa-exempt countries traveling through Canada to reach their final destination.

The transit visa allows a stay of up to 48 hours through a Candian airport before going on to the final destination.

Citizens of visa-exempt countries do not require a transit visa but must have a valid eTA which can easily be obtained online.

Who else needs to apply for a Candian Visa?

In addition to the cases already discussed, travelers who wish to stay in Canada for longer than the time period permitted by the eTA need to apply for a consulate visa for Canada.

If an applicant has their Canada eTA request rejected, they may be required to apply for another type of visa. If the reason for rejection is unclear, travelers can seek advice at the embassy or consulate.

Canadian Consulates and Embassies around the World

Canada has diplomatic and consular offices in more than 270 locations across around 180 countries. Most embassies and consulates are in major cities which means that, in many cases, applicants who need to go to their nearest embassy will have to travel to the capital.

Citizens of visa-exempt countries are not required to attend an embassy or consulate to submit documentation as the eTA process is completed online. However, anybody applying for a Canadian visa should locate their closest Canadian embassy or consulate.

Canadian Consulates and Embassies in the US

Consulates and embassies can be found in the following US cities:

  • Washington, D.C. (Embassy)
  • Atlanta (Consulate General)
  • Boston (Consulate General)
  • Chicago (Consulate General)
  • Dallas (Consulate General)
  • Denver (Consulate General)
  • Detroit (Consulate General)
  • Los Angeles (Consulate General)
  • Miami (Consulate General)
  • Minneapolis (Consulate General)
  • New York (Consulate General)
  • San Francisco (Consulate General)
  • Seattle (Consulate General)

Canadian Consulates and Embassies in Europe

European cities with Candanian consulates or embassies include:

  • United Kingdom, London (High Commission)
  • Spain, Madrid (Embassy), Barcelona (Consulate)
  • Italy Rome (Embassy)
  • Greece Athens (Embassy)
  • Latvia, Riga (Embassy)
  • Germany Berlin (Embassy), Düsseldorf (Consulate) Munich (Consulate)
  • France Paris (Embassy)

Canadian Consulates and Embassies in Africa

The following African cities, among others, have a Canadian embassy or consulate:

  • Kenya, Nairobi (High Commission)
  • Egypt, Cairo (Embassy)
  • Mozambique, Maputo (High Commission)
  • Tunisia, Tunis (Embassy)
  • Ethiopia, Addis Ababa (Embassy)
  • Zimbabwe, Harare (Embassy)

Canadian Consulates and Embassies in Asia

Asian cities with a Canadian embassy or consulate include:

  • Bangladesh, Dhaka (High Commission)
  • China, Beijing (Embassy), Hong Kong (Consulate General)
  • Japan, Tokyo (Embassy), Nagoya (Consulate)
  • South Korea, Seoul (Embassy)
  • Thailand, Bangkok (Embassy)
  • United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi (Embassy), Dubai (Consulate General)

All eligible citizens from Canada visa-exempt countries are highly recommended to apply for the Electronic Travel Authorisation.

The fully online process means travelers can avoid making the journey to the embassy or consulate and are not required to provide biometrics or attend an interview.

To confirm eligibility, foreign nations can check the Canada eTA requirements online.