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Entry Visa & eTA

Whether you need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) depends on your country of citizenship. The Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website can help you identify whether a visa is required for entry into Canada.

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. The TRV is granted automatically when a study or work permit application made outside of Canada is approved.

Expiration of the TRV

Your visa only needs to be valid when you enter Canada. After that, it is the study permit (or Post-Graduation Work Permit – if you have already graduated and received one) that allows you to remain in Canada.

If you plan to travel outside of Canada and your original TRV is going to expire before you plan to return, you will need to apply for a new TRV.

When to apply

If you are a short-term student that is exempt from the requirement for the study permit but need a TRV to enter Canada, you should apply once you have your letter of acceptance and any other required documents.

If you are a current student with an existing study permit, you can apply at any time since the TRV is not what gives you status in Canada.

Check the estimated Temporary Resident Visa (TRV or visitor visa) processing times for guidance when deciding the best time to apply for your situation. Please note that estimated processing times do not include the delivery of your passport to and from the visa office.

Standard required documents
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Important:  Your answers on the online eligibility questionnaire determine which documents you must submit. These are standard requirements, but be prepared to provide other documents if requested by IRCC. 

  • Application for a Visitor Visa (IMM5257)
    • Look for the title at the top of the application, or the code at the bottom-left corner of each page.  
  • Recent Education Transcript.
    • IRCC says that it can be an official transcript or one that is printed from the University’s website, but we recommend you order an e-transcript.
    • Transcripts for immigration purposes can be issued to your own address, and then shared with IRCC.
  • Canadian work or study permit
  • Confirmation of enrollment stating that you will be enrolled in the next semester (for current students)
    • Letter available on ACORN or from your Registrar’s Office.
      • Should include your:
        • Name,  
        • student number,  
        • enrollment status, and;  
        • expected graduation date.  
    • Students returning from a leave of absence should have confirmation of eligibility to re-enrol. 
  • Letter of acceptance (for new students)
    • Should include your:
      • Name,  
      • student number, and;  
      • expected start and end dates of program.
  • Proof of financial support
    • IRCC expects you to prove access to funds to cover a minimum of one year’s tuition plus $10,000 CAD for living expenses. Additional funds are required if you are bringing a spouse/partner and/or children. Learn more on our Bring Your Dependants page
    • Details about more realistic living costs can be found on the U of T Financial Planning Calculator.  
    • Immigration officers expect you to show proof of enough funds to pay for at least one year tuition plus living expenses. How you prove access to funds depends on where they come from:
      • If funds are in your account, bank statement(s) with your name. Four to six months of bank statements are recommended.  
      • If funds are coming from the University or other institutional source, a letter detailing funding.  
      • If funds are coming from family or other individuals, a letter confirming their willingness to support you and documentation showing they have enough money to do so. This should include bank statements and income statements (or a letter of employment stating position and salary).   
      • If you have already paid tuition, you can provide proof of payment from by accessing your invoice on ACORN.  
  • Copies from your passport or travel document
    • Including the biographical data page and all pages with visas, stamps or markings (your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond the expected date of your arrival to Canada).  
    • If you’ve got a brand new passport, you can provide copies from both your new and old passports, but put the new passport first, and mark it as ‘New Passport’ if possible. 
  • Passport-style photograph
    • Taken within the last six months following IRCC recommendations, noting that the frame size specifications do not apply for digital photos. 
  • $100 CAD processing fee 

You may need other documents, including (but not limited to): 

  • Biometrics (digital fingerprints and photographs)
  • Immigration medical exam results
    • Only required if you’ve been in a designated country for at least 6 out of the past 12 months or you intend to work in a field where protection of public health is required.
    • IRCC provides detailed information.
How to apply

Online application.

important to know

Applying from WITHIN Canada

If you already have a study or work permit and are applying from within Canada, there are additional instructions. 

Applying from OUTSIDE Canada

If you already have a study or work permit and are applying from outside Canada, you must adjust your answers on the online eligibility questionnaire: 

  • Select “Study” as “What you would like to do in Canada”. 
  • Answer the rest of the questions as though you are applying for a study permit. 
  • Select “Study Permit” when given the option. 
  • When you continue, the first question should be “Do you have a valid work permit or study permit, and need a visa to return to Canada?” 

Answering “Yes” will result in you accessing the TRV application form and checklist.

After submitting your application

If you are not an American citizen and have not provided biometrics as part of a Canadian immigration application in the past 10 years, you will be required to do so.

Immigration officers may ask you for additional documentation to make a decision about your application. If you need to notify IRCC about a change, or ask about the status of your application, you can use their web form.

If your TRV is approved

IRCC will notify you through your IRCC account that the application was approved. You will then be asked to send your passport to the appropriate visa office.

If you applied from within Canada, IRCC recommends that you send your passport to the Case Processing Centre in Ottawa using Canada Post’s Xpresspost service and that you include a second pre-addressed Xpresspost envelope for them to return the passport to you.

If you applied from outside Canada, the Visa Application Centre (VAC) may also offer secure passport delivery services. Please note that estimated processing times do not include the delivery of your passport to and from the visa office.

If you are visa-exempt (and not an American citizen), you will be required to have a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) when flying into Canada. Like with the visa, an eTA is granted automatically once a study or work permit application is approved. Unlike with the visa, this happens whether the eTA application is submitted within or outside Canada.

The eTA is valid for up to 5 years or until the expiry date of the passport (whichever comes first). If you need to apply for an eTA on its own, the application is submitted online, and is usually processed in minutes.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The notation on your TRV does not need to match your permit. It is valid, regardless. But, if your TRV was issued as part of a study or work permit application made outside of Canada, it will be important to confirm that the correct permit was approved.

Because the TRV is used only for entry into Canada, it is allowed to expire after you have arrived. It only must be valid when you enter Canada. As the study permit is what grants you status in Canada, it is the document that must be extended before its expiry date. 

International students who hold an expired TRV 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; and,
  • you return directly to Canada from the USA without having travelled to any other country during that trip.

Where possible, we recommend all students that require a TRV to enter Canada, to have one despite these rules.

Find more information about What to Expect When Entering Canada.

Every refusal is accompanied by a letter that gives some information about the reason for the decision. If you need help understanding it, and your next steps, you can book an appointment with an International Student Immigration Advisor.

Check out our Resources page for more support.