Is it necessary to go to the embassy for a tourist visa?

If you want to know what steps to take and if you need to go to an embassy for a Canadian tourist visa, discover our explanations and advice.

Apply for an eTA visa!

Are you planning to travel to Canada soon or to make a trip with a stopover in this country and to another destination? If so, you may want to know what administrative steps you need to take before your departure to obtain a tourist visa and whether it is necessary to go to the Canadian embassy to obtain it. In this article, we will explain how to obtain a tourist visa for Canada through the eTA electronic travel authorization which is done entirely online. As you will see, it will not be necessary to go to the Canadian embassy or consulate in your country of residence to take advantage of this and to have a legal authorization of stay equivalent to a tourist visa for that country.


Visa or eTA: how to choose your travel authorization for tourism in Canada?

To prepare for your trip to Canada in the best possible conditions, it is important to choose the right travel permit for your situation. This will avoid any inconvenience when you board your plane to Canada and may also save you precious time. Remember that the eTA is an electronic system of travel authorisation set up by the Canadian authorities in 2015 which is simpler, faster and cheaper than the traditional visa application in an embassy. Moreover, under certain conditions, this travel authorization is identical to the Visa. But in return and to benefit from it, you will have to meet certain conditions.

To find out if you can be exempted from a tourist visa for Canada by taking advantage of the eTA, check that you meet the following conditions:

  • You want to fly to Canada
  • Your stay in Canada will not exceed 6 consecutive months
  • You want to go to Canada for tourism, business reasons such as to attend a meeting or to visit clients or partners, or you are simply in transit or on a stopover in this country.
  • When you arrive in the country, you will have a return ticket or other transport document showing that you are leaving the country.
  • You are one of the nationals of the member countries of the scheme.

Thus, if you meet all of the above conditions, you will not need to go to a Canadian embassy or consulate to apply for a visa and can take advantage of the eTA.

The eTA is not a visa but an electronic residence permit that allows travel to Canada without a visa. The aim of this system, which was introduced a few years ago, is to simplify the procedures for travellers from certain countries and to streamline checks and controls on flights arriving in Canada. For the traveller, the eTA is also a simple way to save time both during the application process and upon arrival in Canada.

If you do not meet the conditions listed above, then you will need to apply for a regular visa with or without going to an embassy or consulate. This will be the case if :

  • You wish to stay in Canada for more than 6 consecutive months
  • You intend to work or study in Canada for a local employer
  • You are not a national of a country eligible for the eTA scheme

Thus, in these different situations, you will have to apply for a classic visa to be able to travel to Canada. This procedure can be done by going to a Canadian embassy or consulate near you but can also be done online depending on the type of visa you want.


What are the different visas to apply for at the embassy for Canada?

As we have just seen, if you are not lucky enough to benefit from the eTA visa waiver programme for Canada, you will have to apply for a classic visa. Without an eTA, the choice of the type of visa to go to Canada is very important and the embassy proposes about ten different visas.

Each visa has its own specific conditions and requirements which you should be aware of before applying. We will not detail all of these visas here, but let us remember that visas for Canada can be divided into two main categories, namely the Temporary Resident Visa or TRV and the Permanent Resident Visa or PRV. If you want to go to Canada as a tourist, to study or for a professional activity, the temporary resident visa will be sufficient. But if you want to settle in the country for a longer period of time, you will need a permanent resident visa.

  • The temporary resident visa is thus a document issued by a Canadian consulate official and takes the form of a sticker in your passport. It is intended for visitors, students, temporary foreign workers and temporary resident permit holders. If you do not meet the requirements and conditions of the eTA and wish to go on holiday as a tourist in Canada, you should therefore opt for this category of visa.
  • The permanent residence visa is subject to strict conditions. It is possible to use the Express Entry programme in order to obtain this permanent residence permit based on the national economic immigration programmes


How to apply for a visa at the Canadian Embassy?

The application process for a regular visa to Canada can be done online or directly at the Canadian embassy in your country of residence. Once submitted, this application will be processed within several weeks or months. Only certain types of visas can be applied for online without having to go to an embassy or consulate:

  • Temporary resident visas such as visitor visas, study visas and work permits
  • Permanent resident visas issued under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Skilled Trades Program or the Canadian Experience Class

For other types of visas, a written application must be made to the Canadian Embassy or the Canadian authorities.

For the visa application procedure, you will need a valid passport and the completed and signed visa application form. You may be asked to provide other documents or evidence such as proof of sufficient financial means, a medical examination, a certificate of good conduct or criminal record, health insurance, a language test or copies of your diplomas or certificates.

The procedure will also require certain information about you, your family and the reasons for your stay in Canada. You must of course answer these questions truthfully and honestly in order to avoid any refusal or delay in the processing of your application.


How to apply for an eTA tourist visa for Canada?

If you have the opportunity to benefit from the eTA Visa Waiver Program for Canada and avoid the long and tedious process of a traditional visa application, here is the procedure to follow:

  • Go to the official website or to the website of a provider offering an online eTA application form in your language, such as the site we recommend on this page.
  • Fill in the online application form carefully. You will need to provide your passport number, your identity and answer a series of simple questions about your situation and the purpose of your trip.
  • Check your form to make sure you have not made any mistakes and submit it.
  • Pay for the processing and transfer of your file online by credit card in a secure manner.
  • It's over!

Once your application has been validated and your fees paid, you will receive a response to your eTA application within a maximum of 72 hours. In reality, this timeframe is often much shorter and you are likely to receive a response within a few hours. The acceptance of your eTA is sent to you by email to the address mentioned in the form and you do not need to print any document. Your eTA will be automatically linked to your passport number and this passport will be the only document you will need to present when boarding or arriving in the country.

In addition to requiring only a few minutes, the eTA offers an undeniable advantage in terms of use. Indeed, once obtained, this residence permit will be valid for 5 years from the date of issue and can therefore be used for as many visits as you wish during this period, except in the event of a change or expiry of the passport used for this application.

Apply for an eTA visa!

Frequently asked questions

Who is eligible for a visa waiver to travel to Canada?

Travellers who are resident in the UK or another country that is a member of the eTA for Canada can travel to the country without a visa provided they apply for the eTA and are only in the country for a maximum of 6 consecutive months and are visiting for tourism or business purposes.

What are the processing times for online visa applications for Canada?

If you apply for a regular Canada visa online, the processing time will be about the same as if you go to the embassy or consulate. You can expect to wait several weeks at most. But there is a faster way to obtain a residence permit for this country with the eTA which allows you to obtain this document in 72 hours maximum.