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Canadian Permits and Visas

Canadian Permits and Visas

Pathways to Permanent Residence for International Students (pdf)

The Canadian Government has two main types of immigration documents: permits and visas. Permits allow someone to be in Canada and control what they can do (eg. study permits allow long-term study in Canada). Visas are required by citizens of some countries to enter Canada.  Most people that do not require a visa, require electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly into Canada.

Study Permit information can be found on our Studying in Canada page
Work Permit information can be found on our Working in Canada page

Accompanying family members can find information on our Spouses, Partners, and Families page.

Guide for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) online application for Study Permit, Work Permit and Visa (PDF)

Entering Canada
Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)
Required by citizens of some countries to come to Canada

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
Required by citizens of visa-exempt countries who want to fly into Canada

Temporary Resident (Entry) Visas
If your citizenship requires you to have a temporary resident visa (TRV), sometimes known as an entry visa, it must be valid on the date that you enter Canada.  It can expire any time after that.

Temporary resident visas (TRV)s are about the size of a passport page and placed in the passport by Canadian immigration officials.

Temporary resident visas (TRV)s are about the size of a passport page and placed in the passport by Canadian immigration officials.

If you submit a successful application for an initial (first) study permit outside of Canada (and your citizenship requires you to have a Temporary Resident Visa), the visa will be issued with your letter of introduction.   It is not necessary to submit a separate application.

Therefore, the following information only applies if you already have a study permit but your TRV has expired or if you do not require a study permit (because you will study for no more than 6 months).

When To Apply
Apply as far in advance as possible.  A TRV application can take from one day to a few months to be processed.

The processing times provided through Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada are regularly updated. It is just an estimation.

Where To Apply
Apply through the Visa Application Centre (VAC) that serves your country or region of residence. These are private companies contracted by the Canadian government to provide services to visa and permit applicants, including collecting biometric information, secure delivery of applications and passports, and more.  They charge fees for their services.  They do not make decisions about applications.

Your application is likely to be processed through the Canadian Visa Office serving your country or region of residence.

Canada If you:

  1. are currently in Canada, and
  2. hold a valid Study Permit or Work Permit, and
  3. have an expired TRV:

you can apply for a new TRV online. Follow our Guide for online application at the beginning of this web page.

Application Fees

TRV applicants will automatically be considered for a multiple-entry visa.

The application fee for a single TRV is $100 CAN (or local equivalent).  The maximum fee for a family’s TRV application is $500.

You must follow the payment instructions for the online application system or the Canadian Visa Office that you are applying to.

Those required to provide biometric information, must pay a separate biometric fee of $85 CAN (or local equivalent) for an individual and a maximum of $170 for a family.


Inviting Family or Friends that Require Visas


If your family or friends wish to visit you in Canada for your Convocation or just for a vacation, they may need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) at their closest Canadian Consulate.

On the Canadian Consulate’s visiting visa instruction page, you will find a list of documents required from you (the inviter) and the visitor (the applicant).

In order to assist your family/friends with their TRV application, you should send them the following supporting documents:

  1. Invitation letter written by you:
    Note: University does not provide invitation letter. Learn how to write an invitation letter
  2. Photocopy of your study or work permit
  3. Proof of your current registration
    Get Verification of Enrolment (at no cost) from SOLUS [accessible through].  In case there is an issue with that document, students can visit the Records and Services section of the Office of the University Registrar (found in the lower level of Gordon Hall).
    (DO NOT use this letter from SOLUS to apply Study Permit extension. For extending Study Permit, request a customized  letter (see a sample here) from Registrar’s office. They will provide you a customized letter to not just confirm your current enrolment but also the planned graduation date which is required by Immigration Canada for Study Permit extension application.)
  4. Photocopy of your passport

All of the above are typically required by Canadian Consulates overseas from inviters. More detailed instructions may be available from local visa offices. It’s important that you check the local Canadian Consulate website and follow the full instructions.

After Applying

If your application is successful, your passport will be returned to you with a valid TRV on one page.  You must enter Canada before the expiry date of the visa.
Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

Since 2016, citizens of all visa-exempt countries (excluding the United States) require an eTA before boarding a plane to Canada.

Since May 1, 2017, citizens of Brazil, Bulgaria, and Romania that have EITHER a) had a Canadian Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) in the past 10 years, OR b) have a valid U.S. non-immigrant visa can fly into Canada with an eTA (they still require a visa for entry into Canada by any other means).

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides a tool to determine whether a TRV or an eTA is required.

An eTA costs $7 CAD, and is valid for 5 years or until the expiry of your passport (whichever comes first).

Applications are made online and require a valid passport, e-mail address, and credit card.  In most cases, an eTA will be issued in minutes.

Successful first-time applications for study or work permits processed after August 1, 2015 automatically include an eTA for those whose citizenship requires one.

More information about these permits is available on the Studying and Working in Canada pages of our website.
Information in addition to what is noted and linked above is available from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Permanent residency offers the right to stay in Canada permanently. Please begin your research with our “After Queen’s” page.

Support through Queen’s
If you have further questions after reviewing the information above, drop-in advising is available (without an appointment) from the International Student Advisers at QUIC from Monday to Friday between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm.

Support outside of Queen’s
IRCC Help Centre
(frequently asked questions – online)
Call Centre  – 1-888-242-2100
(for those already in Canada)
Automated telephone service

(available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)  If you have a touch-tone telephone, you can listen to prerecorded information about IRCC programs, and check the status of your application.

Call Centre agents
Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (local time, excluding holidays) Services are available in French and English.

(Expect 1 to 2 week response time)
For questions about Temporary Resident Visa applications submitted within Canada.

If your question is about a specific application (if not, use the Help Centre noted above), it is important to provide as much information as possible. This should include:

  • Surname  (last name) – Exactly as it appears on the passport or identity document
  • Given name(s)  (first name) – Exactly as it appears on the passport or identity document
  • Date of birth  (YYYY-MM-DD)
  • Country of birth
  • Complete address  (including the postal code). If the residential address is different from the mailing address, please provide both addresses.
  • Telephone number
  • Unique Client Identifier (UCI) number / Client ID number
  • Type of application submitted    (eg. Temporary Resident Visa)
  • Date that the application was submitted, and whether it was submitted online or mailed to a specific office.
  • Online application reference number  (if applicable)

For case-specific questions about applications being processed at a Canadian visa office outside of Canada.
Find the case-specific enquiry link at the page with information about the Canadian Visa Office serving your country or region of residence. There you will also find a generic e-mail address for the office.  Choose which option is best for your question.

For case-specific questions about applications being processed within Canada.
The case-specific enquiry system for applications processed within Canada can be used when processing has taken longer than the currently advertised processing times, or there are important updates to an application.