What happens after you apply for a visitor visa

Note: You will be able to have your sex marked as X (unspecified) on your documents. Until then, once you are in Canada, you can apply for a supporting document that says your sex should be X. Find out more.

How we process your visa application

After you send us your application, we will review it to make sure it’s complete and has all the documents needed.

If it’s incomplete, we won’t process it and will return it to you.

If your application is complete, we may ask you to:

We will tell you what to do if you need to complete any of these steps.

We process most visitor visa applications in a few weeks or less. Processing times depend on the visa office and if you need to complete any additional steps.

We will return your passport and other original documents to you after we process your application. We will not return original bank statements or any documents we find to be fake.

If your application is approved, the visa will be stamped inside your passport.

If your application is refused, we will send you an explanation. For more information on visa refusals, see our Help Centre.

Change your contact information

You must contact the Canadian visa office that serves the country or region where you live if you change your:

  • address
  • telephone number
  • any other contact information

Entering Canada

A valid visitor visa and travel document does not guarantee that you can enter 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.

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.

Children under 18 must travel with appropriate documents and meet the same entry requirements as adults. The border services officer may ask minor children to present other documents depending on whether the child is travelling alone or with someone. Find out about the specific requirements for minor children.

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 or extend this period to cover 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.

Basic travel requirements

You must meet some basic requirements to travel to Canada. You must:

  • have a valid travel document, like 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
  • have enough money for your stay.
    • The amount of money you will need depends on how long you will stay and if you will stay in a hotel, or with friends or relatives.

Some people are not admissible to Canada, which means they are not allowed to enter the country. You can be inadmissible for several reasons, including being involved in:

  • criminal activity
  • human rights violations
  • organized crime

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

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