Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and visitors to Canada: Visitor visa applications

We’ve temporarily changed how to apply for a visitor visa. The instructions on this page are only for people who need a visitor visa and are eligible to travel to Canada at this time.

On this page

How to apply for a visitor visa

If you’re eligible to travel to Canada at this time, you need to tell us, so we can prioritize the processing of your application.

We’re prioritizing applications for non-discretionary travel during this time. You also must meet all regular visitor visa eligibility and admissibility requirements.

Step 1: Apply online

If you need a visitor visa to travel to Canada, you must apply online for one. Only online applications will be accepted and processed.

If you’re travelling with an identity or travel document that was issued to a refugee, a stateless person or a non-citizen

If you can’t apply online, you can apply on paper.

Step 2: Fill out the form

When answering the question on the application form about the purpose of travel, enter the following information exactly as written to make sure your application is prioritized:

Step 3: Show that you meet the travel exemption criteria

You must submit evidence that you’re eligible to travel at this time. The evidence you need to provide depends on what you qualify for.

If you’re outside the United States (US)

You must be able to prove one of the following:

If you’re travelling directly from the US

You must be able to prove one of the following:

What evidence to submit

If you qualify as an immediate family member of a Canadian citizen, person registered under Canada’s Indian Act or Canadian permanent resident

Examples of evidence you can provide with your visitor visa application include

  • a marriage certificate or proof of common-law status (documents showing a shared address)
  • a birth certificate
  • a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) for one of the following:
    • the family class (the COPR category under Application Details will be FC)
    • the one-year window of opportunity provision (coded as OYW under Special Program)
  • other documents that show an immediate family connection, for example
    • correspondence from us showing a spousal sponsorship application in progress
    • documents that show a shared home address
If you qualify as an extended family member of a Canadian citizen, person registered under Canada’s Indian Act or Canadian permanent resident

You must include the signed and completed application for authorization and statutory declaration (IMM 0006) (PDF, 2.2 MB) Updated November, 2020 with your visitor visa application.

You also need to provide proof that your extended family member is a Canadian citizen, person registered under Canada’s Indian Act or permanent resident.

For example, you can provide a copy of their

  • Canadian birth certificate
  • Canadian passport
  • secure certificate of Indian status or certificate of Indian status
  • temporary confirmation of registration document
  • permanent resident card or permanent resident travel document
If you qualify as an immediate family member of a temporary resident in Canada

Along with your visitor visa application, include proof of your

  • relationship with an immediate family member in Canada
  • immediate family member’s status in Canada (copy of their study permit or work permit)
If you’re already authorized to come to Canada for compassionate reasons

Include the authorization letter you got from PHAC with your visitor visa application.

Note: Having an authorization letter from PHAC does not guarantee you’ll be approved for a visitor visa.

Step 4: Pay the fees

Pay the application fee and submit all required supporting documents, including giving biometrics.

Step 5: Wait for a decision on your application

You’ll get one of the following:

This will be sent to your IRCC Secure Account. If your application is approved, we tell you the next steps in the process.

Step 6: Prepare to travel

You need to prepare properly before arriving at the airport to fly to Canada or at the port of entry (POE) if you’re arriving by car.

Before you travel, make sure all the documents you need, such as your written authorization from IRCC or the Public Health Agency of Canada, and your travel document (visitor visa or eTA, if required) are valid. If your documents are expired, you need to apply for new ones. Otherwise, you won’t be able to board your flight or enter the country.

Bring proof

You must bring evidence that you meet the eligibility requirements to travel at this time.

You must bring

If you can’t provide this information, you won’t be allowed to board your flight to Canada.

Health requirements for travellers to Canada

To travel to Canada, you must

What to do if you’ve already applied for a visitor visa

Step 1: Email us, so we can prioritize your application

If you’re an immediate family member of a Canadian citizen, person registered under Canada’s Indian Act or permanent resident, and you already have a valid visa

You don’t need a written authorization from us confirming that you’re exempt from the travel restrictions. You don’t need to email us.

Email us only if you’re eligible to travel to Canada at this time. We won’t respond to any other enquiries.

Send your request to this email address: IRCC.COVID-TravelExemptions-Exemptionsdevoyage-COVID.IRCC@cic.gc.ca

Make sure you include

Make sure you email us all required information and supporting documents in one email only. If you send us multiple emails with different information, your request will be delayed and may be refused.

We’ll contact you within 14 business days of getting your complete request for written authorization if you want to travel as an extended family member of a Canadian citizen, person registered under Canada’s Indian Act or permanent resident or as an immediate family member of a temporary resident in Canada. If your request is missing required information, it may take us longer to respond.

If you’re an immediate family member of a Canadian citizen, person registered under Canada’s Indian Act or permanent resident, you don’t need a written authorization from us confirming that you’re exempt from the travel restrictions.

If you’re coming for compassionate reasons

When you have your authorization letter from PHAC, use “COVID-19 PHAC” as the subject line.

Don’t book your travel before you get your visa

We don’t recommend that you book travel before you get your visa. However, if you’ve booked travel, provide your travel itinerary, including your

For all other questions

Find out how COVID-19 is affecting immigration programs and services. If you can’t find the answer to your question, contact us using our Web form.

Step 2: Show how you’re eligible to travel at this time

You must prove that you’re eligible to come to Canada by providing evidence as an attachment when you email us. The type of evidence you need to provide depends on what you qualify for.

If you’re outside the United States (US)

You must be able to prove one of the following:

If you’re travelling directly from the US

You must be able to prove one of the following:

What evidence to submit

If you qualify as an immediate family member of a Canadian citizen, person registered under Canada’s Indian Act or Canadian permanent resident

Examples of evidence you can provide in your email include

  • a marriage certificate or proof of common-law status (documents showing a shared address)
  • a birth certificate
  • a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) for one of the following:
    • the family class (the COPR category under Application Details will be FC)
    • the one-year window of opportunity provision (coded as OYW under Special Program)
  • other documents that show an immediate family connection, for example
    • correspondence from us showing a spousal sponsorship application in progress
    • documents that show a shared home address
If you qualify as an extended family member of a Canadian citizen, person registered under Canada’s Indian Act or Canadian permanent resident

You must include the signed and completed application for authorization and statutory declaration (IMM 0006) (PDF, 2.2 MB) Updated November, 2020 in your email.

You also need to provide proof that your extended family member is a Canadian citizen, person registered under Canada’s Indian Act or permanent resident.

For example, you can provide a copy of their

  • Canadian birth certificate
  • Canadian passport
  • secure certificate of Indian status or certificate of Indian status
  • temporary confirmation of registration document
  • permanent resident card or permanent resident travel document
If you qualify as an immediate family member of a temporary resident in Canada

Along with your visitor visa application, include proof of your

  • relationship with an immediate family member in Canada
  • immediate family member’s status in Canada (copy of their study permit or work permit)
If you’re already authorized to come to Canada for compassionate reasons

If you have an application for a visitor visa in progress, include the authorization letter you got from PHAC in your email and remember to include “COVID-19 PHAC” in the subject line of your email.

Note: Having an authorization letter from PHAC does not guarantee you’ll be approved for a visitor visa.

If you already have a valid visitor visa, you don’t need to email us.

Step 3: Wait for a decision on your application

We’ll contact you, either through your IRCC Secure Account or by email, for one of the following reasons:

If your application is approved, we’ll tell you the next steps in the process.

If you originally applied for a visitor visa by paper, you can link your application to an online account. In your online account, you can see the status of your application.

Step 4: Prepare to travel

You need to prepare properly before you travel to Canada.

Before you travel, make sure all the documents you need, such as your written authorization from IRCC or the Public Health Agency of Canada, and your travel document (visitor visa or eTA, if required) are valid. If your documents are expired, you need to apply for new ones. Otherwise, you won’t be able to board your flight or enter the country.

Bring proof

You must bring evidence that you meet the eligibility requirements to travel at this time.

You must bring

If you can’t provide this information, you won’t be allowed to board your flight or enter Canada.

Health requirements for travellers to Canada

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