Travelling beyond the frontiers of our own country usually brings about questions about the documents we have to take, such as ID or passport, which, for instance, you don’t need to get into most countries in the European Union. But, what if we are travelling to the USA or Canada?
Passport documents and paperwork to travel to Canada
If you are travelling to Canada and you are citizen of the European Union, you don’t need a visa, just a valid passport. But you must know that your stay cannot be longer than 6 months. If you are thinking about staying longer than that, either for work reasons or because you are studying, you should head to the country’s embassy, in this case Canada, to procced with your visa application.
If the person travelling is a resident from a country that is not a member of the European Union, he/she should apply for a visa at the Canadian embassy, complying with the following procedures: filling out a form, having two passport-size pictures, a valid passport, a return ticket, a document that proves your economic solvency, and another one that states the reason for your trip and proves having paid the visa fees.
Once you have done this, if it’s your case, you must send all documents using a postmarked envelope and wait for an answer. It usually takes about 15 days.
It should be noted that, just as with all paperwork, it can take a reasonable amount of time, so you better prepare with enough time in advance. Besides, you have to educate yourself about your case because the conditions for it might vary, especially in terms of the length of your stay, the reason and country you come from.
Just as we mentioned, if you are from the European Union you won’t need a special visa, provided that your stay is under six months. If you are from any of these countries: Uruguay, Argentina, Belize, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua or Peru, you will certainly need a visa.
Another aspect to take into account is that not all countries have a visa application centre, which is the case of Spain. If you are Spanish you should refer to the one in Paris, sending the documents by regular mail and indicating the type of visa you need. This is their address:
Embassy of Canada
Immigration Section, 37
Av. Montaigne, 75008
Nonetheless, the best thing is that you contact the embassy of Canada in Spain or in your country for more detailed information.
In order to provide you with more detailed information on the different visas to enter Canada, here are the temporary and permanent visas available:
- Visitor Visa: this is the kind of visa we have told you about earlier, and the one that most people apply for, being the one that tourists receive for a temporary stay in the country, obliging them to return to where they come from once the allotted time has passed. Whoever applies for this visa has to demonstrate having sufficient funds so as to face expenses derived from the trip and prove that they are coming back, which explains why they are asked to have a return ticket. If you are a relative of a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen, it is recommended that the visa application is accompanied with an invitation letter and the documents certifying the legal status of the relative residing in Canada (photocopy of green card or Canadian passport). Some Canadian consulates or embassies can demand that this letter bears the official stamp of a municipal public official, certifying that the documents are true and fair. This is a simple procedure that can be managed at the city hall of the Canadian municipality where the relative lives. It is also important to know that a visitor visa does not entirely guarantee that you will enter the country, since an immigration official at a port of entry will ultimately be the one who decides whether the requirements are met.
• Student Visa: if you are thinking about studying at one of the academic institutions in Canada, you will need a student visa. You won’t need it for language or non-academic courses, or studies under 6 months. Besides, you will also need the visitor visa we just mentioned.
• Temporary Resident Visa: if your intention is working in this country for a specific period of time, you will need a work and a temporary resident visa.
• Green card resident card: in this case, Canada chooses its immigrants in terms of their skills and professional background, and depending on what they can bring to the economy of the country. Besides, Canada complies with international humanitarian policies regarding refugees, so there are different categories of immigrants in Canada.
It is highly likely that if you are organising a dream holiday for you and your partner –whether it is your honeymoon or not– the first real challenge would be applying for the visitor visa. It is one of those things you must have in mind. Besides, if you want information on how to exchange your currency in Canada, you can find it on the website of Global Exchange.