As a rule, all visitors to Canada require a temporary resident visa (TRV), except citizens of countries where an exemption has been granted. Visit http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.html to determine if you require a visa to visit Canada. It is vital delegates apply for their visa as soon as possible.
Most participants will also need a valid passport or an appropriate travel document to enter Canada. Exceptions are made for the following people:
- citizens of the United States; permanent residents of the United States who enter directly from that country;
- members of the armed forces of countries designated under the Visiting Forces Act who are visiting on official duty; and
- members of flight crews who have an airline flight crew licence or a crew member certificate issued in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization specifications.
Identification at the Border - U.S. Citizens
Although a passport is the ideal identification, you do not require a passport or visa to enter Canada. Just make sure you carry identification to establish your citizenship such as a Birth Certificate and least one ID card with photo. If you are a naturalized U.S. citizen, you should carry this certificate. Permanent residents of the U.S.A. must bring their "Green Card".
For more information on traveling to Canada as a US citizen, see:
Identification Requirements: Citizens of the E.U
European passport holders do not require a visa to visit Canada. All you need is a valid passport, a return ticket and sufficient funds to support yourself and your dependents during your stay in Canada.
Each applicant for a temporary resident visa must pay a $75 (CAD) non-refundable application processing fee for a single-entry visa.
How to Apply for a Visa
To find out how to apply for a temporary resident visa, please visit CICís Web site at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/applications/visa.html. All applicants for a temporary resident visa must satisfy CIC that they are genuine visitors and that they will be participating in the event or meeting. The applicants must demonstrate that they:
- are in good health (in some cases, a medical exam may be required);
- do not have a criminal record;
- do not pose a threat to Canadaís security;
- have a valid passport or travel document;
- have enough money to support themselves and their dependants while in Canada; and
- will leave Canada voluntarily at the end of their stay.
A visa officer makes decisions on a case-by-case basis, and the burden of proof lies with the applicant. While the majority of visa applications are accepted, CIC cannot guarantee that every applicant will receive a visa. Applicants may be required to attend an interview with a visa officer before a final decision is made.
Visa Support Letters
If you require a Visa Support Letter, please download this document (CSCW Visa Letter Request Form.pdf) and complete the form. Then fax it to 212-302-5826. Once we have received your form, a Visa Support Letter will be issued to you.
Time Required to Process Visas
APPLY EARLY! To allow adequate time for processing, applications for temporary resident visas must be filed at a visa office abroad well in advance of the intended visit. In some instances, the visa office may not be in the applicantís country. Delegates should contact the visa office where their application will be processed to find out the average time it takes to process a visa. A list of visa offices abroad can be found at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/offices/missions.html.
Checking the Status of Visa Applications
If delegates wish to find out the status of their temporary resident visa application, they may contact any Canadian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate abroad. For more information, visit CICís web site: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/offices/missions.html.
Delegates may also verify the status of an application on-line, by visiting https://services3.cic.gc.ca/ols/ols.do.
Other Considerations When Travelling to Canada
Equipment and goods brought into Canada: All equipment and goods to be brought into Canada must be reported to CBSA (formerly Canada Customs and Revenue Agency - CCRA). Please contact the nearest CBSA office in your province or area, or visit the CBSA Web site at: http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/
European visitors to Canada who wish to also visit the United States must possess valid passports to be admitted; residents of Portugal are further required to have a visa.
Members of other countries may require a visa. Information about visa requirements for visiting the US may be found here.
If you are an international student re-entering the US:
To travel outside the United States and return, a student needs a:
- Valid passport
- Valid visa
Most students and scholars are allowed to return to the United States from Canada & Mexico (and in some cases from the Caribbean) with an expired visa stamp after a visit of no more than 30 days. This process is known as "Automatic Visa Revalidation" (for more information go here). Students and scholars would need to have all other documentation yet would not need to have a valid US visa stamp in order to return to the US. Citizens of of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea, and Cuba are not eligible for automatic revalidation.
If an international student wishes to leave the United States temporarily and then return to continue his or her studies, it is important to find out whether the visa will be valid for reentry into the United States. If the visa is not valid for more than the original entry, or if its period of validity has expired or will expire before the student returns beyond the visa revalidation period above, he or she will need to secure a new visa from the American consul abroad. Students from certain countries are required to obtain a new visa only from the American consul in their own country. Check with the international student officers in your university.
The university administration needs to sign your I-20 before you travel outside the U.S. If your I-20 is lost, stolen, or damaged, you will need to get a new one from the university. Always keep all copies of your I-20 forms. Do not throw even the old ones away.
Important Reminder: Before you travel outside the United Sates, bring your I-20 to the appropriate officials in your universityís office for them to sign. Typically there are people in the administration who take care of international students: you will probably already have dealt with them. Do not go to Canada even for a short stay without a signed I-20, your passport, I-94 and visa
To visit Canada:
You will need a valid passport, a visa and the endorsed Form I-20. In addition, students from certain countries may need a Canadian visa. See the link above for the latest information on which countries require that you to have a visa to visit Canada.
- Entering the United States: the customs site
- International Students resource page from the US government. Pay particular attention to the re-entry information in the Travel section of this page.
Every foreign student is advised to make photocopies of these important documents and keep them in a place separate from the original documents.
- Identification page of the passport
- I-20, front and back pages
Below is a description of some important immigration documents:
When you arrive in the US, an INS official issues you a Form I-94 (small, white card containing the arrival/departure record). This is an important document that you should protect as much as your passport. The I-94 is usually stapled to the passport on the same page as the visa. Do not lose it because you must surrender it when you leave the country. It contains the following information:
- Name, citizenship, date of birth
- Admission/departure number
- Port and date of entry to the US
- Type of visa (F-1)
- Expiration date of authorized stay in the US, usually D/S
This is the Certificate of Eligibility issued by a U.S. school to an alien. The I-20 shows that the foreign student is eligible to study at the school that issued the I-20. A student is admitted to the United States for the time shown on the I-20. Generally this is the time it takes to pursue full time study in one degree program plus 60 days following completion of the program. An international studentís status is conditional upon the studentís keeping his passport valid for six (6) months into the future. The I-20 is an extremely important document. Keep it with your passport, visa, and I-94. Never let your I-20 expire. You need your I-20 with a university officerís signature on it to reenter the U.S. after temporary absence for vacations, travel, going home, etc.