Visa for Vancouver, British Columbia

Updated: Jan 10, 2024 | Tags: Canada eTA, Canada Visa

Visa for Vancouver, British Columbia

This article provides information on getting a visa or an eTA for Vancouver. A valid visa for Vancouver, or eTA, will be required prior your departure to Canada.

Visa and eTA overview

You can find out if your country is eligible to apply for a Canada eTA by reviewing the eTA requirements. Passport holders of dozens of countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Australia, as well as many more, are eligible for an eTA. If your country is not on the eTA eligible list, then you will need to apply for a Canadian visa.

The requirements of applying for a temporary visa (visitor visa) include a:

  • A valid passport or other legal travel documents
  • Be of good health
  • Be free of immigration-related convictions or other criminal activities
  • Have a valid reason to visit Canada with legit ties to your home country such as family, assets, home, or job

This eTA does not apply to U.S residents and other travellers traveling with a valid Canadian visa. Visa exempt foreigners do not need an eTA when arriving Canada by sea or land. You can find out if you need an eTA on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. Below are a few other important topics to familiarise yourself with before you visit Canada.

Health and travel Insurance

If you plan on visiting Vancouver, it is highly advisable to have both health and travel insurance. These are important and can be bought in various packages to ensure your health, cover for flight cancellation, lost baggage, or even repatriation.

Driver's licence

Bring your driver's license if you plan to rent an automobile on your tour in Vancouver. It is one of the requirements that are needed if you need to rent a car and acts as a form of identification.

Legal identification documents

You won't have to carry them around every time you move out, but it is important to make copies of your national identity card, driver's license, or passport in case verification is required. You can leave your original copies at home and carry around your copies. Carrying these documents is important in cases of police stops, renting out apartments, and other important activities that require verification.

Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

The Canadian eTA is an electronic travel authorization that is intended to simplify the process of entering Canada for common travel purposes such as tourism, business or transit. Individuals wishing to visit Canada for under six months, for the purposes of tourism, business, transit, or receiving medical treatment may be eligible. A Canadian eTA is issued for up to five years' from the date of approval, or until the date of passport expiry, whichever comes first.

The Canadian eTA enables passport holders of dozens of countries to apply online for travel authorization without the need of a visa for Vancouver.

There are a wide variety of uses for a Canadian eTA, from attending family weddings to speaking at a business conference. However, there are limitations to using an eTA. If used in an unauthorized manner, an approved eTA can be revoked from an applicant. It is thus important to make sure eTA applicants understand the full scope of permitted travel uses of an eTA.

Approved business use

Although a Canadian eTA is typically thought of as a tourist travel authorization, it can also be used for business purposes.

With an eTA, travelers can visit Canada to meet with business associates, settle an estate or negotiate a business contract. Although it is not a work visa, a Canadian eTA can be used to conduct business meetings in Canada. If you plan to travel to Vancouver for a business meeting using an eTA, you may be asked to provide additional documentation during your eTA application or at the Canadian border. You will likely be required to prove that your main source of income is received outside of Canada, and that your employer is also based outside of Canada.

You can also attend a business conference in Canada with a Canadian eTA. If you use your eTA for this purpose, you may be asked by Canadian immigration personnel to prove that you are not employed nor seeking employment in Canada.

Approved tourism use

Most people get an eTA for tourism purposes. Permitted tourism purposes include activities such as sight-seeing, and visiting with friends or family.

Approved transit use

A Canadian eTA can also be used for transit purposes, whereby a traveler is switching airplanes on Canadian territory while en-route to a non-Canadian destination.

Unauthorized use

Although there are many approved uses for a Canadian eTA, there are also some things you cannot legally do with an eTA.

You are not allowed to work in Canada with an eTA. Although you can use an eTA for some business purposes, you cannot hold or obtain employment in Canada using an eTA. Thus, you must apply for a work visa if you wish to be employed in Canada. This is true whether you want to move your career to Vancouver or hope for temporary employment. You cannot accept payment for any work in Canada without a proper Canadian work visa.

You also cannot study in Canada using an eTA. You must get a Canadian student visa if you want to attend school in Canada.

Requirements affecting eTA eligibility

  1. You can only use an eTA for entering Canada via aircraft.
  2. You must not have any prior refusals to enter Canada and no prior deportation history in Canada. If so, you will likely be denied an eTA.
  3. You must have an electronic passport.
  4. You must not have any highly infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, at the time of your visit or at the time of your eTA application.
  5. You must not have been previously convicted of any crimes causing serious harm or damage to people or property.

Canada eTA application process

To apply for an eTA, you will need your passport and employment details. You should allow between 15-20 minutes per application. Applications are usually processed and approved within minutes for most applicants. However, due to enhanced and automated security screening, your application may be flagged and require a manual review. During a manual review, you will be requested to provide additional information or documentation to process your eTA application. Failure to provide this information or documentation in a timely manner during the manual review will result in a denied eTA application.

Types of Canadian visas and permits

Canadian eTAs are only for individuals from visa-exempt countries and permanent residents of the United States. If you are not from a visa-exempt country, are not a U.S. citizen, and are not a permanent resident of the United States, then you will need a visa for Vancouver.

Tourist visa

A Canadian tourist visa is known as a Temporary Resident Visa, or TRV for short. Like an eTA, you can apply for this online. You can also apply using a paper-based application. The application requires more information and entails longer processing timelines than an eTA application.

Work permit

If you plan to work in Canada, either temporarily or indefinitely, you will need a work permit in addition to your eTA or TRV. Before you can apply for a work permit, you must usually have a job offer from a Canadian employer, although it is sometimes possible to waive this requirement depending on profession or the type of work an individual is able to do in Canada.

You can apply for a work permit either online or on paper. When you apply, you will need to certify that you will only work for the specific employer who has offered you a job, and that you will leave Canada at the end of your employment.

Study permit

Study permits are similar to work permits. To apply for a study permit, you must also have a TRV or eTA. All students need a study permit, with very few exceptions. Unless you will attend preschool, plan to apply for a study permit.

You can apply for a student visa online or on paper. You must agree that you will leave Canada at the end of your studies (unless you subsequently get a work permit), and you must show that you have adequate financial support to live in Canada.

Canadian visa application process

To apply for a Canadian visa, there are set number of steps which need to be followed. You can either apply online or apply on paper. For either type of application, you will be prompted to select the country where you are applying from as well as provide some information on your eligibility for your desired travel purposes.

Online application (eligibility restrictions)

The online application includes an instruction guide which is to be used to prepare the documents and forms needed to submit your Canada visa application. However, only eligible applicants can apply for a Canadian visa online. You can apply using the following link:

Paper-based application

To apply for a Canadian visa using the paper-based application, you will need to first download and print the application package, which includes all the relevant forms you will need to fill out. Once completed, you will need to pay a fee to process your visa application. Once paid, you can then submit your visa application for processing. To get started on your paper-based Canadian visa application, visit the following link:

Vancouver travel information

Vancouver is a coastal city in Canada that is in the lower region of British Columbia. It is classified as a global city due to its large urbanized population of over 600,000 residents while the whole province has about 2 million people. About half of the residents mostly the Aboriginal people have a first language apart from English making it one of the most linguistic and ethnically diverse cities in Canada.

Vancouver is well known to rank among the top cities in the world for its quality of life and liveability. The urban environment in Vancouver is mostly characterized by high-rise apartments which have earned the city recognition for being a liveable city.

Visiting Vancouver is a lot more fun moving around the big city, interacting with friendly locals, and the stunning urban nature. Being a coastal city makes Vancouver suitable for boating on the ocean, shopping at high-end stores, hiking in the North Shore Mountain forests, and taking tours in local parks such as Stanley Park to see wildlife, beautiful beaches in the rainy weather and climate.

Some of the thrilling activities one can engage in Vancouver include; hiking or biking tours around the mountains, taking full day tours at the Bowen Island, photography tours at the Joffre Lakes, or even photography tour of the beautiful city at night.


Visiting Vancouver can be fun and exciting particularly due to the mild climate, beautiful sceneries, and the high standards of living in the city. Vancouver is renowned for being quite a rainy city but is the second driest after Victoria compared to other cities in Canada. Hopefully this article has provided insight into the process of applying for an eTA or a visa for Vancouver, as well as provided useful travel information.