Determine your eligibility – What you need to visit Canada as a tourist

Starting March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with a valid visa. Read about the changes and how they may affect you.

Most travellers need a valid entry document such as an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or a visa to visit Canada. This will depend on your citizenship or your situation.

Basic requirements

To visit Canada, you will need to meet some basic requirements, such as:

  • have a valid travel document, such as a passport,
  • be in good health,
  • have no criminal or immigration-related convictions,
  • convince an immigration officer that you have ties—such as a job, home, financial assets or family—that will take you back to your home country,
  • convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit, and
  • have enough money for your stay. (The amount of money you will need can vary. It depends on things such as how long you will stay, and whether you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives.)

You may also need a:

Entry documents

In addition to the basic requirements, most visitors need a valid entry document. Find out if you need an eTA or a visa.

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

As of March 15, 2016, travellers with passports from eTA-required countries who enter Canada by air will need an eTA.

The authorization is electronically linked to your passport and is valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

Applying for an eTA is a simple and inexpensive ($7 Canadian) online process that will take just a few minutes. Most eTA-eligible applicants will get their authorization within minutes of submitting the online form.

If you need an eTA, you should:

  • get it when you plan your trip – do not wait for the last minute to apply (see Travel documents), and
  • travel to Canada with the passport you used to get your eTA.

Find out if you need an eTA.

Key eTA exemptions

U.S. citizens do not need an eTA to enter Canada. See the full list of exemptions.

Visitor visa

Travellers with passports from visa-required countries and territories need a visitor visa (temporary resident visa) to enter Canada.

A visa is an official document that is inserted inside a passport giving permission for you to come to Canada.

Conditions of a visa

There are two types: a single-entry visa and a multiple-entry visa. Both are valid for a fixed period and cannot be used after they expire.

A multiple-entry visa allows visitors to come and go from Canada, usually for six months at a time, without having to reapply. It is valid for up to 10 years, or one month before your passport expires, whichever comes first. You must arrive in Canada on or before the expiry date on your visa.

A single-entry visa allows you to come to Canada only once. After you leave Canada, excluding travel to the United States and St. Pierre and Miquelon, you will need a new visa to travel back to Canada.

Find out if you need a visa.

Travel documents

When travelling to Canada, you always need to carry proper travel documents and identification for yourself and any children travelling with you.

Transport companies, such as airlines, must make sure you have proper, valid travel documents. If you do not have the proper documents, you may be delayed or unable to board the plane.

The following travel documents are not considered reliable. You cannot use them to enter Canada:

  • passports supposedly issued by Somalia,
  • non-machine readable passports issued by the Czech Republic,
  • temporary passports issued by the Republic of South Africa and
  • provisional passports issued by Venezuela.

To find out what else you may need to know before you come to Canada, see Arriving in Canada and specific requirements for minor children.

Permanent residents of Canada

If you are a permanent resident of Canada you must show your permanent resident card when you re-enter Canada on a commercial vehicle, such as an airplane, boat, train or bus. If you return to Canada in a private vehicle, such as your car, there are other documents you can use.

If you plan to leave Canada, check your card’s expiry date to make sure that it will still be valid when you return. Most cards are valid for five years.

Canada’s entry requirements are changing

Starting March 15, 2016, you will need to travel with your Canadian permanent resident (PR) card or permanent resident travel document when flying to Canada. Otherwise, you may not be able to board your flight to Canada.

If you do not currently have a permanent resident card and are in Canada, find out how to apply for a permanent resident card.

If you are outside Canada and do not have a PR card or your card is expired, find out how to apply for a permanent resident travel document.


Some people are inadmissible—they are not allowed to come to Canada. Several things can make you inadmissible, including involvement in criminal activity, in human rights violations or in organized crime.

You can also be inadmissible for security, health or financial reasons. Find out more about inadmissibility.

Find out if you are eligible

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