Canada is a nature lover’s paradise. Home to grizzly bears, world-class ski terrain and emerald lakes cradled between snow-capped mountains, the Great White North caters to all types of adventure opportunities. What’s more, given its varied climate and terrain, you can even find yourself skiing and sailing on the very same day.
If you’ve decided that Canada is the perfect destination for your next outdoor adventure, you’re probably wondering what comes next. Luckily, this article is here to help you understand the ins and outs of how to get a visa to Canada.
We’ve compiled answers to some of the most popular questions regarding Canadian visas so that the hardest part of your trip will be deciding which of this country’s beautiful natural attractions to explore first.
Do I Need a Visa for Canada?
If you’re a citizen of eligible countries – including Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and Japan, – you can apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) in place of a traditional visa.
If you’re from a country not eligible for an eTA, you will need to apply for a Canada visitor visa– a physical sticker placed in your passport – by submitting your passport and biometric data (fingerprints and photo) to the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate.
To see which option you need, websites such as opens in a new windowByevisa.com have developed helpful lists of eTA-eligible countries. If you qualify for the eTA, this site can greatly streamline the application process by delivering your travel pass to your inbox in just a few steps.
What is the ETA Canada?
The Canada eTA stands for Electronic Travel Authorisation and is a document electronically linked to your passport. Once approved, this pass allows you to enter the country multiple times for up to 6 months (180 days) per visit. The eTA is valid for up to 5 years or whenever your passport expires, whichever comes first.
What Do I Need to Apply for the Canadian ETA?
To request this electronic travel pass, be sure to have the following information/documents at hand:
● Basic personal information such as name, nationality, date of birth and intended travel dates
● A passport that’s valid for the duration of your proposed stay
● A debit/credit card to pay the Government fee of 5.50 USD
● An email address
Do US Citizens Need a Canada Visa?
No, US passport holders can enjoy all of this country’s natural marvels without a visa or eTA. All you need is a valid passport and a sense of adventure!
Do I Need a Canadian Visa if Entering from the US?
No, even if you would normally be required to apply for an entry permit, if crossing a Canadian border by land or by sea, you do not need an eTA, just a valid passport. This is quite fortunate, as some stunning national parks – such as Glacier National Park in
Montana and Fundy National Park in New Brunswick – are accessible from either country by road.
Additionally, some maritime crossings offer a different way to see the coast; namely the ferry route between Washington State and Vancouver Island in the west and the CAT in the east with service between Bar Harbor, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
Can I Stay in Canada Long Term?
If you’re looking for an adventurous way to stay long term, then a Canada Working Holiday Visa might be for you.
The International Experience Canada (IEC) programme provides young people with the opportunity to work in Canada part-time for 12-24 months, depending on your country of origin. Perfect for a gap year experience, or for those wanting more
time to travel, backpack and explore, this scheme is open to nationals between 18-35 from 34 participating countries.
Major Entry Points for International Travellers
If flying from Asia and Oceania, your likely first stop will be Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Consistently ranking among the best airports in North America and the world, YVR is just 24 minutes from downtown Vancouver by Skytrain. From there, you are free to enjoy the best British Columbia has to offer, whether it be kayaking with Orcas along the coast or enjoying the powder at the international mountain sports mecca of Whistler.
For those arriving from Europe, Toronto Pearson or Montréal-Trudeau will likely be your first stops. Serving Greater Toronto and Montréal respectively, these global travel hubs are well situated and can connect you by subway, taxi or connecting domestic flight to your final destination.
Getting Around Canada
Outside of major cities, getting around via public transport can be tricky. Train services are limited and bus stations and stops can be miles from the nearest hostel or campsite.
Travelling by car may be the best way around – with the added bonus of allowing you to stop and take in the scenery along the way. Fortunately, any US, UK, Australian or New Zealand national over the age of 21 with a valid license is allowed to drive in Canada.
Another option if travelling along the coasts is grabbing a ferry. Ferry rates from Vancouver to the Vancouver and Gulf Islands are quite reasonable and offer stunning views along the way. Similarly, in the east, ferries are a great way to hop between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
What Else Should I Consider When Travelling?
Before heading north, there are a few things you should know to help your Canadian adventure go smoothly.
Although sometimes used in border towns and larger cities, US dollars are not widely accepted elsewhere. Most businesses will ask that you pay in Canadian dollars or may just accept US dollars at par.
If visiting from the southern hemisphere, it’s important to remember that winter in Canada lasts from around 21 December to approximately 21 March. And when we say winter, we mean it! In Calgary, Alberta – the seat of the 1988 Winter Olympics – temperatures can drop to 21°F (-6°C). Needless to say, winter weather gear is essential if you want to enjoy this country’s natural beauty during these months.
And finally, it may pay to pick up a little French, especially if you’re planning on travelling around the eastern province of Québec, where French is the official language.
For more information on obtaining a Canadian travel visa, head over to https://www.byevisa.com/eta-canada-visa/ for more information.