Prepare for arrival—Visit Canada

When you arrive in Canada, a border services officer will greet you. The officer works for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The CBSA protects Canada's borders and points of entry.

The officer will ask to see your passport or travel documents. If you applied for a parent and grandparent super visa, you will have other documents to give to the officer. Make sure that you have them with you and that they are not packed in your luggage. This will speed up your entry into Canada.

Even if you do not need a visa to enter Canada, the officer will ask you a few questions. The officer will make sure that you meet the requirements to enter Canada. This should only take a few minutes.

You will not be allowed into Canada if you give false or incomplete information. You must convince the officer that you are eligible for entry into Canada. You will also have to convince the officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your approved stay.

In some cases, an immigration officer can ask you to post a bond in the form of a cash deposit. This bond makes sure that you follow certain rules during your visit to Canada (for instance, leaving Canada when the time approved for your stay is over). The Government of Canada will never ask you to deposit money into a personal bank account or to transfer money through a specific company.

If you need to post a bond in the form of a cash deposit, the officer fixes the deposit amount based on your financial resources and other conditions set out in Canada's immigration law.

Children under 18 should have valid identification with them. If you are travelling with a child and you are not the child's parent or guardian, you should have a letter from the child's parent or guardian approving entry into Canada. If you are the child's only guardian, you should have documents to show there is no other guardian (for example, a birth certificate that does not identify the father).

The officer will stamp your passport or let you know how long you can stay in Canada. The period is usually six months. In some cases, the officer may limit this period to cover only the planned purpose of your visit. Ask questions if you are not sure about anything.

If you do not obey the conditions of your visa, we will ask you to leave Canada. Most people asked to leave Canada have the right to a fair hearing to review the decision.

Minor children travelling to Canada

Border services officers are on alert for children who need protection. Children under the age of 18 who try to enter Canada are considered minors. They must follow the same rules to enter Canada as any other visitor.

Minors who try to enter Canada without the proper documents, or who are with adults other than their parents or legal guardian(s), will be checked more closely. This helps ensure the children's safety.

People under 18 years old who travel alone must have their own passport. They cannot use a parent's passport, even if their details are included in it.

Immigration Officers also check very carefully for missing or runaway children. They may question you about children who come with you to Canada or question a child who travels alone. Make sure you have the proper documents with you.

If a minor child is travelling alone

A child who travels alone should have:

  • a copy of their birth certificate, and
  • a letter of authorization, in English or French if possible, and signed by both parents or by their legal guardian.

The above letter should give the parents' (or legal guardian's) address(es) and telephone number(s). It should also include the name, address and telephone number of the adult who will be looking after the child in Canada.

If a minor child is travelling with one parent only

The child should have:

  • a copy of their birth certificate, and
  • a letter of authorization, in English or French if possible, and signed by the parent who is not travelling with them.

The above letter should give the address and telephone number of the parent who is not travelling. A photocopy of that parent's signed passport or national identity card should be attached.

Also:

  • If the parents are separated or divorced, and share custody of the child, the parent travelling with the child should carry copies of the legal custody documents. It is also best to have a letter of authorization from the other parent who has custody to take the child on a trip out of the country.
  • If the parents are separated or divorced and one of them has sole custody of the child, the letter of authorization may be signed by that parent only and they should bring a copy of the custody decree.
  • If one of the child's parents is deceased, the travelling parent should bring a copy of the death certificate.
If a minor child is travelling with a legal guardian or adoptive parents

A child who travels with a guardian should have a copy of the guardianship papers.

A child who has been adopted should have a copy of the adoption papers.

If a minor child is travelling with a person other than their parents or legal guardian

If the adult who a child travels with is not their parent or legal guardian, then they should have written permission from the parents or guardians to supervise the child. The permission letter should include addresses and telephone numbers where the parents or legal guardian can be reached.

Note: We do not always ask for these documents when children enter Canada, but we may. We strongly recommend you bring them, in case the immigration officer at the point of entry (airport or border crossing) asks for them. We will not admit a minor child to Canada if the officer is not convinced that the parents or legal guardian have authorized his stay.

You do not need to have the letter from the parent(s) described above certified, but we will accept it. A photocopy of the parents' or legal guardian's signed passports or national identity cards should be attached to the letter.

Working or going to school in Canada

Most visitors to Canada cannot work or study in Canada without a permit.

If you are visiting Canada and you want to work or study, you have a few options if you still have legal status in Canada.

For a new work permit, you can apply:

  • from your home country or another country where you are lawfully admitted, or
  • by mail only to the visa office in New York.

For a new study permit, you can apply:

  • from your home country or another country where you are lawfully admitted, or
  • in person or by mail at the Visa Application Centre in Los Angeles.

In some cases, you are allowed to work or study without a permit. For more information, see:

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