Temporary resident: Courtesy visas

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Officers may issue courtesy visas to persons who, although not entitled to diplomatic privileges and immunities, are, due to their position or reason for coming to Canada, considered of sufficient importance to warrant a visa to facilitate their admission. Examples of the appropriate use of courtesy visas include issuance to persons of diplomatic rank coming to Canada for tourist purposes, to members of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), to members of a trade mission visiting Canada and to well-known visiting professors coming to Canada to attend conferences. For more information, refer to DFAIT’s Consular Manual, Chapter 10, section 4.3, Diplomatic or Official Temporary Resident Visas.

Courtesy visas may be issued in any type of passport to persons who require visas or who are normally visa-exempt. The visa will alert BSOs to the fact that the visa office abroad considers the individual deserving of expeditious and courteous treatment.

Persons on courtesy visas are subject to normal documentation by the port of entry; officers should therefore ensure that a person who is normally subject to referral for a secondary examination understands that a courtesy visa does not exempt them from such procedures.

There is a processing fee for courtesy visas, except for persons listed in R296(2), who have a fee exemption.

International Air Transport Association

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is an association of over 220 of the world’s airlines, with headquarters in Montreal. IATA’s mission is to represent and serve the airline industry. Its goals include the promotion of safe, reliable and secure services, the provision of industry-required products and services and the development of cost-effective and environmentally friendly standards and procedures to facilitate the operation of international air transport.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has agreed to facilitate the processing of applications for entry into Canada by representatives of airlines or organizations coming into the country to attend meetings and conferences of IATA and its affiliated subsidiary branches, whether or not those airlines or organizations are IATA members. Work permits, when warranted, may be issued to officers, employees or specialists contracted to IATA (Refer to Temporary Foreign Worker Guidelines).

IATA representatives who are citizens of countries subject to Canadian temporary resident visa requirements should be provided with every courtesy when they apply for temporary residence. They are not eligible for diplomatic visas, but should be issued courtesy visas. Courtesy visas should be multiple-entry and long-term, i.e., for three years, except for citizens of special category and Vistor Information Transmission (VIT) countries where multiple-entry visas cannot be issued.

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