Most foreign workers or foreign students are required to hold work or study permits when in Canada. However, to enter or re-enter Canada for any purpose, unless a foreign national is in an exempt category, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requires that foreign nationals obtain biometrics and either a Temporary Resident Visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)
A TRV is a hard-copy visitor visa that is requirement for citizens of many countries who wish to enter Canada for any purpose. The processing fee for a TRV is $100 (CAD).
TRV’s only allow foreign nationals to enter (or re-enter) Canada. They do not replace the need for a study permit or a work permit.
IRCC offers information around TRV applications. TRV processing times vary and are subject to change.
The validity of a TRV varies widely, but will never extend beyond the expiry date of the foreign national’s passport. If a TRV has not reached its expiry date, it can be used to enter (or re-enter) Canada an unlimited number of times.
Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
An eTA is an entry requirement for visa exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. U.S. citizens are exempt from the eTA requirement. The processing fee for an eTA is $7.00 (CAD).
eTA’s only allow foreign nationals to enter (or re-enter) Canada. They do not replace the need for a study permit or a work permit.
IRCC offers an on-line eTA application. In most cases, applicants will receive a reply within minutes of applying for an eTA. If IRCC requires additional time or information to finalize the decision, applicants will receive a notification of the upcoming delay within 72 hours.
eTA’s are valid for either 5 years, or to the expiry date of the foreign national’s passport, whichever comes first. If an eTA has not reached its expiry date, it can be used to enter (or re-enter) Canada an unlimited number of times.
Biometrics in an entry requirement, which includes foreign nationals providing their fingerprints and a photo when applying for a visitor visa, study or work permit (except U.S. nationals), or permanent residence outside of Canada. Biometrics do not replace the need for a study permit or a work permit. As of:
- July 31, 2018 applicants from Europe, the Middle East and Africa require biometrics
- December 31, 2018 applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas require biometrics
Upon application to IRCC for a visitor visa, study or work permit, biometric requirements may be requested. To facilitate repeat travel to Canada, applicants need to provide their biometrics once every 10 years. If biometrics were done previously as part of an application, the data may still be valid. If applying for the first time, biometrics are required unless the person is exempt.
If biometrics are required, the foreign national must go in person to an official biometrics collection service location. This includes:
- Application Support Centers located across the United States
- Visa Application Centres (VACs) located around the world
VACs are managed by private companies who are approved to provide specific services to IRCC applicants. Appointments must be scheduled. Biometric collection at the Canadian port of entry is open to eligible work or study permit applicants. The biometric fee is $85 (CAD).
Those applying for a visa, study or work permit or permanent residence who are currently in Canada are exempt until the in-Canada service is established.
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