A visa is an official document, usually stamped or glued inside a passport, giving permission from a foreign authority for you to enter a country.
Visas are issued by foreign government offices in Canada. Requirements, fees and processing times vary, depending on the country and type of visa you need. The most common categories are business, work, student and tourist visas.
Remember that representatives from the country to which you are travelling need to see your passport before issuing a visa. If you cannot visit the foreign government office in person and must mail your passport, use secure mail services and enclose a stamped, self-addressed return envelope.
Before your departure, consult the Travel Advice and Advisories for destination-specific visa information. You will almost certainly need a visa if you plan to remain in a foreign country for a longer period (usually more than 90 days).
Special and diplomatic passport holders should verify all visa requirements for each of their destinations, as they may differ from those that apply to regular passport holders.
Some countries will issue a visa upon your arrival, but it is not a common procedure. Visas must be obtained before leaving Canada. You may be denied entry if you do not have a visa when you arrive in a country that requires one.
You are responsible for ensuring that your passport contains empty visa pages. If the pages of your passport have become filled with visas or entry and exit stamps, apply for a new passport.
Visa renewals or change of status
To extend your stay in a country beyond the period permitted by the visa you currently hold, or to change the status of your visa (for example, from a tourist visa to a work visa), contact the nearest Canadian government office abroad and consular officials will refer you to the proper authorities in that country.
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