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How do I help a family member or friend apply to visit Canada?

Anyone who visits Canada must apply from outside the country. Your friend or family member must first find out if they need an eTA or a visa.

An eTA is required for most visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada. If they need an eTA, they can apply online.

If they need a visa, they can apply online or on paper. A visa officer will review the application and decide whether to issue a visa.

You may provide your family member or friend a letter of invitation in support of their visa application. It should explain how you will help the person. For example, you may offer to pay for plane tickets or accommodation. A letter of invitation can help, but it does not guarantee the person will get a visa.

New entry requirement now in effect

Visa-exempt foreign nationals are expected to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada. Exceptions include U.S. citizens, and travellers with a valid Canadian visa. Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, and Canadian permanent residents cannot apply for an eTA.

Note: Until September 29, 2016, travellers who do not have an eTA can board their flight, as long as they have appropriate travel documents, such as a valid passport. During this leniency period, border services officers can let travellers arriving without an eTA into the country, as long as they meet the other requirements to enter Canada. Find answers to your questions about the leniency period.

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