Canada annually welcomes over 35 million temporary residents (non-immigrants). Except for Canadian citizens and permanent residents, individuals from other countries must obtain permission to enter Canada as visitors. They require either a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), unless they are US citizens.
The following individuals need either a TRV or an ETA:
- 1. Tourists
- 2. Temporary foreign workers (individuals with work permits)
- 3. International students (individuals on study permits)
- 4. Business visitors
TRV or ETA? You Only Need One, Not Both
Citizens of visa-exempt countries who plan to travel to Canada by air are expected to have applied for and obtained an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before their departure.
Exception: US citizens do not require a TRV or an ETA. However, Green Card holders in the United States, regardless of their nationality, require an ETA to enter Canada.
If you are not a citizen of a visa-exempt country, you will need a TRV to enter Canada.
What is an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization)?
Starting from March 15, 2016, travelers from visa-exempt countries who enter Canada by air must have an ETA. The authorization is electronically linked to your passport and remains valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
What is a TRV and How to Apply for One?
A TRV is a document issued by a Canadian Immigration Visa Office outside Canada. It confirms that the holder has met the requirements for admission to Canada as a visitor. TRVs can be issued for single entry or multiple entry. Typically, tourists are granted a six-month period of admission, while temporary foreign workers and international students are admitted for varying periods based on individual cases. Extensions can be applied for from within Canada.
It is important to note that possession of a valid TRV does not guarantee admission into Canada by the officer at the Canadian Port of Entry. At the Port of Entry, all visitors must demonstrate that their visit to Canada is temporary in nature. The officers have the authority to deny entry to individuals who, in their judgment, do not intend to leave Canada upon the expiration of their visitor status.