The information provided below is not legal advice and is intended for general information purposes only. For the most up-to-date information, please see Visit Canada on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.
Travel to Canada Guide
Updated: March 7, 2022
Depending on your citizenship, you may need either a Visitor Visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before traveling to Canada. If your study permit application from outside Canada is approved, then a visitor visa or eTA will be issued to you at the same time as your Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction. You do not need to apply separately or to pay an additional fee. Note that US citizens do not require a Visitor Visa or eTA in order to enter Canada.
It is important to understand that both of these travel documents are different than a study permit. While a study permit authorizes an individual to study in Canada, it generally cannot be used as a travel document to enter Canada.
Review our Travel to Canada Guide for more information.
Citizens of certain countries are required to have a valid visitor visa, a special counterfoil in your passport, in order to enter Canada. Visitor visas are also officially known as temporary resident visas (TRVs) or informally as “tourist visas.” Note that there is no such thing as a “study visa” in Canada, though most international students will need a study permit to be authorized to remain in Canada for the purpose of pursuing studies.
If you study permit application from outside Canada is approved and you are from a visa-required country, you will receive a visitor visa in your passport along with your study permit.
It is a good idea to make sure your visitor visa is always valid in case you need to leave Canada for any reason, such as a family emergency in your home country. You may not be able to re-enter Canada if your visitor visa has expired even if your study permit has not yet expired. Learn more at Visitor visas for workers and students: How to apply from inside Canada.
Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
An eTA is an entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals traveling to Canada by air. It is electronically linked to your passport and is valid for 5 years, or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
If you study permit application from outside Canada is approved and you are from a visa-exempt country, an eTA will be issued to you. Instructions for how to link your eTA with your passport electronically will be provided in your Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction.
For more information, visit IRCC – Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).