The city of Vancouver lies in the Canadian province of British Columbia, a particularly beautiful tourist destination and one that is quite understandably popular. In case you are wondering whether or not you visit a visa or eTA to visit this part of the world: the answer is relatively simple: You will most likely need one of the above, but definitely not both. Let’s look at the criteria that determine whether you should apply for a visa or an eTA.
Your country of citizenship
If your country is not part of the VWP or Visa Waiver Program, you must apply for a visa before visiting Canada. Stateless individuals and those who hold an Alien’s passport also have to apply for a visa if they want to transit or visit Canada. Please take note that this can take weeks or even months, so make sure to apply well ahead of your intended arrival date.
Citizens of the following countries currently have to apply for a visa before visiting Vancouver (or anywhere else in Canada):
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Brazil (note: some Brazilian citizens may be eligible for an eTA if they meet certain requirements)
- Burkina Faso
- Burma (Myanmar)
- Cameroon, Republic of
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- China, People’s Republic of
- Congo, Democratic Republic of
- Congo, Republic of
- Costa Rica, Republic of
- Dominican Republic
- East Timor
- El Salvador
- Equatorial Guinea
- Israel (must have a valid Israeli “Travel Document in lieu of National Passport”)
- Ivory Coast
- Korea, North
- Macao Special Administrative Region
- Maldives Islands
- Marshall Islands
- Micronesia, Fed. States
- North Macedonia
- Palestinian Authority
- Romania (holder of a non-electronic passport, such as a temporary passport)
- Sao Tomé e Principe
- Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
- Sri Lanka
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines (St. Vincent)
- Taiwan (must have a passport other than ordinary passports issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that include your identification number)
- Trinidad and Tobago
What are the requirements I have to meet to qualify for a Canadian visa?
– You must have a valid travel document, for example, a passport that has not expired
– Your health should be good
– You must have no convictions related to immigration
– You are not allowed to have a criminal record
– You should be able to convince a Canadian immigration officer that you will return to your home country because you have ties like the following there: family, financial assets, home, or a job – and that you have sufficient funds to for your visit
– How much money you are going to need depends on whether you will be staying in a hotel, hostel, or with family members or friends
– You could be asked to produce a letter of invitation from a Canadian resident
– You might be required to undergo a medical examination
Everyone who applies for a Canadian visa will automatically be considered for a multiple-entry visa. A single entry visa will only be issued under special circumstances.
During its period of validity, a multiple-entry visa will allow you to visit Canada for a maximum of 6 months per visit over a period of 10 years. There is no limit on the number of times you can visit, provided your visa is still valid on the day you arrive in Canada.
Visa-exempt countries whose citizens can apply for an eTA for visiting Canada
If your passport has been issued by any of the countries or territories on the list of visa-exempt countries below**, (there are currently 54 of them), you will be allowed to visit Canada for a period of no longer than six months without having to apply for a visa. You will, however, have to apply for an eTA – unless you are a citizen of France who lives in Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and you will arrive in Canada directly from there.
The ETA system was originally announced by the Canadian government in December 2013. It is pretty similar to the ESTA system used by the United States. The first applications were accepted in 2015, but the program didn’t become fully operational until November 2016.
Visitors must apply via the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) website. The cost involved in January 2023 is CA$7. Applicants must provide passport, biographic, and background details regarding available funds, other citizenships, contact info, and employment. They also have to answer a couple of questions related to their immigration history, health, and whether or not they have any convictions.
There are, however, not as many questions as with a visa application, and you will also not be asked for a detailed travel itinerary. After determining that your application holds no risk for Canada, a multiple-entry eTA for a period not exceeding five years will be issued. If your passport, however, expires sooner than that, the eTA will expire with it.
To qualify for an eTA, your health also needs to be good, and you must convince the immigration officer that you have ties (e.g. family, home, job, financial assets) that will ensure you return home afterward.
You should also have sufficient funds to cover all the expenses during your stay. In certain cases, a letter of invitation or medical examination could be required. The immigration official also has the right to decide for how long you are allowed into Canada or impose one or more additional conditions for your visit.
**Canada: Visa-exempt countries that qualify for aTA:
- European Union – all EU citizens
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- San Marino
- Solomon Islands
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
- Vatican City
Students and workers
In case you are a student or worker, you still have to comply with Canada’s entry requirements. A study or work permit is not a visa. In the majority of cases, you will also have to get an eTA or visa before you can enter Canada.
If you qualify to study or work in Canada without a permit, you are regarded as a visitor to the country and you will have to comply with the normal entry requirements for visitors from the country of which you hold citizenship. This means that you will have to apply for either an eTA or a visa, depending on the situation.