The Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) is a sticker placed on your passport by Canadian immigration officials that allows you to travel to Canada. It is also sometimes called a visitor or entry visa. A student will also require a study permit when entering Canada, while a worker will also require a work permit.
Whether you need an entry visa depends on your country of citizenship. The Immigration Refugees & Citizenship Canada website can help you identify whether a visa is required for entry into Canada.
You may stay in Canada with an expired visa as long as you hold a valid study permit, or a valid post-graduation work permit (if you have already graduated). If you need to apply for a new TRV, we strongly recommend that you apply online.
If you are visa-exempt (and not a U.S. citizen), you will be required to have a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) when flying into Canada. Like the visa, an eTA is granted automatically once a study permit application made outside of Canada is approved. The eTA is valid for up to 5 years or until the expiry date of the passport (whichever comes first).
The processing time for your entry visa will depend on the workload of the office at which the application has been submitted. Many other cases have a higher priority than visitors (e.g., refugees, family sponsored immigrants, etc.), so this process may take longer than you would expect.
The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website gives an estimate of entry visa processing times by country. Look under “Temporary Residence” for “Visitor visa”.
Your entry visa may expire while you are in Canada. This is fine, as long as your study permit is still valid. If you plan to travel outside of Canada, it is possible to renew your entry visa while abroad. However, it is always easier, safer and faster to renew your entry visa from within Canada prior to traveling.
To renew your entry visa you will need a confirmation of enrolment letter from your registrar’s office, and proof of funds for your studies and stay in Canada. If you submit a paper application you will need to send your passport and all the other required documents. If you apply online, you will be asked to send your passport after your application is approved. We strongly recommend that you send your passport using registered mail and include a prepaid registered mail envelope with your return address.
Returning from the USA with an expired Canadian Temporary Resident Visa (entry visa)
International students who hold an expired entry visa may be allowed back into Canada if they travel only to the United States. You may be allowed to re-enter Canada with an expired visa if you meet the following conditions:
- you hold a valid study permit
- you return directly to Canada from the USA without having travelled to any other country during that trip
To facilitate your re-entry, we strongly recommended that you take the following documents with you:
- an updated letter of enrolment from your registrar’s office
- proof of finances (bank statements, scholarship letters)
Contact an international student immigration advisor.