Visitor visa: After you apply

As of December 3, 2019, you need to give your fingerprints and photo (biometrics) if you’re applying within Canada as a

  • foreign worker (including extending your work permit)
  • international student (including extending your study permit)
  • visa-required visitor (including extending your stay)
  • permanent resident

If you receive a biometrics instruction letter, you can give your biometrics at a designated Service Canada location. This applies even if your application is being processed overseas. Make sure you follow all the steps to give your biometrics, including paying the biometrics fee, when you apply. Find out if you need to give biometrics.

After you apply

Processing time ?

Varies by country

Check processing times

You may need to give biometrics with your application. This processing time doesn’t include the time you need to give biometrics.

This is what will happen after you apply for a visitor visa:

You need to give your fingerprints and photo (biometrics)

In most cases, you need to give biometrics. After you pay the biometrics fee and submit your application, we’ll send you a letter that says you need to give your biometrics. The letter will tell you how and where to give your biometrics. You have up to 30 days to give your biometrics (in person).

If you didn’t pay the biometrics fee, we’ll send you a letter asking you to do this first. You can only get the instruction letter if you pay the biometrics fee.

Find out more about how to give your biometrics and where to give your biometrics.

We process your visitor visa application

We’ll check your application to make sure you have all the documents you need.

If it’s incomplete, we’ll return your application without processing it.

We may also ask you to:

We’ll tell you what to do if you need to do any of these.

We process most applications in a few weeks or less. Processing times depend on the visa office and if you need to do any extra steps (listed above).

We’ll return your passport and other original documents to you after we process your application. We won’t 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’ll send you an explanation.

You arrive in Canada

A valid visitor visa and travel document doesn’t guarantee that you can enter Canada.

When you arrive, we’ll check your identity to make sure that you’re the same person who was approved to travel to Canada.

  • If you enter Canada at one of 10 major Canadian airports
    • Your fingerprints will be checked automatically at a primary inspection kiosk.
    • The system will check your identity against the information collected when your application was submitted.
  • If you enter Canada at smaller airports and all land ports of entry
    • Your fingerprints may be checked if we refer you to a secondary inspection, where a border services officer will use a fingerprint verification device to check your fingerprints.

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

You enter Canada

If you pass the identity check and meet the entry requirements, the border services officer may stamp your passport or let you know how long you can stay in Canada. You’re normally allowed to stay in Canada for up to 6 months.

In some cases, the officer may limit or extend your time in Canada to cover the planned purpose of your visit. Ask questions if you’re not sure about something.

You won’t be allowed into Canada if you give false or incomplete information. You must convince the officer that:

  • you’re eligible for entry into Canada
  • you’ll leave Canada at the end of your approved stay
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