Frequently Asked Questions

Visa Services Canada Inc. is a private company dedicated to helping you get your visa. We are not the government and we do not issue visas. We assist you in the processing of your visa application.

WHAT VISA SERVICES CANADA DOES

PAYMENT

 

CANADIAN VISAS

DO I NEED A VISA?

VISAS FROM ABROAD

PASSPORTS

REQUIREMENTS

APPLICATIONS AND TIMES

SAFETY AND SECURITY

CHILD / MINOR TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION

 

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WHAT VSC DOES

Is VSC part of the Canadian government?

No. VSC is a private corporation owned and based in Canada providing advice to citizens of Canada under Canadian law. VSC is a federally-incorporated and federally-registered corporation with head offices in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

How fast can I get my visa?
Some visas are available the same day, and some take over two months. Most visas are available with ordinary service within two weeks. Some consulates offer, for an extra fee, special rush service.

Can I apply on-line?
For many countries your original passport and photo and signature is required for a paper visa. For India and Egypt and Turkey you can apply on-line through our website.

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PAYMENT

How do I pay for a visa?

You must pay the embassy for your visa. Payment is by credit card for eVisas, and by money order for paper visas.

 

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CANADIAN VISAS

Can you help me get a visa to Canada?
No. We provide advice to persons travelling out of Canada to foreign destinations. We cannot assist you in acquiring a visa to travel to Canada. Please see the Canada page for information on making your own request for a Canadian visa directly to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the federal government department responsible for visas. Canadian regulations state that professional immigration assistance is not required or recognized, and does not advance or speed your application in any way, nor does it guarantee a visa.

Can you help me immigrate to Canada?
No. Visa Services Canada is not an immigration service for Canada. VSC advises Canadian citizens on ways to obtain visas for travel to places outside of Canada. As a prospective immigrant to Canada you do not need an immigration service, as the Canadian government does not recognize these services as being of any benefit to the applicant. Such services do not advance or speed your application in any way, nor can they guarantee a visa.

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DO I NEED A VISA?

Why do I need a visa?
Most countries require a visa in some circumstances for some or all nationalities. Some countries require a visa for entry of their territory for any purpose. Others require visas only from certain nationalities. It is up to individual governments to pass laws and make regulations governing the requirements for the issue of visas. This is most often done on a reciprocal basis, meaning that if Canada requires a visa from citizens of a certain country, then that country's government usually requires visas from Canadian citizens.

I already have a passport. Do I need a visa?
Usually, yes. Many countries require a visa to enter their territory. A passport is only the first step in gaining entry. Please see the visa information page for the specific country to determine visa requirements for that country.

How do I know what countries require visas?
VSC has a file on each country and the visa policies of its government. Please check the visa information page for the specific country to determine if you need a visa to enter the country.

I am the head of the household and have a visa. Can everyone in my family travel on my visa?
No. Each person needs a visa. In Canada it is now recommended that even babies have a passport issued in their own name. Some countries still allow children to be listed in passports, but this practice is increasingly uncommon, and is totally illegal in Canada. There are no Canadian passports for adults in which children are listed.

Do my children need visas?
Yes. Most countries which require a visa from foreign travellers will also require visas issued in the name of the child. Sometimes this is cheaper, but almost always requires special paperwork. You will have to provide original letters certifying your right to take the child out of Canada: usually the authorization of both or the other parent for this travel. Please see the visa information page for the specific country to determine child visa details requirements for that country.

I am a student who wants to study in a foreign country. Do I need a visa?
Yes. Almost all countries require students to acquire a student visa before entering that country for educational purposes. Please see the visa information page for the specific country to determine student visa requirements for each country. Students usually need a study permit and this must be arranged by the inviting school or university.

I am adopting a baby in a foreign country. Do I need a visa?
Yes. Most countries require foreign travellers to acquire a basic visa before entering that country for any purpose. Some countries have special adoption visas. Please see the visa information page for the specific country to determine adoption or basic visa requirements for each country. Please note that a visa for Canada will be required to bring the baby into Canada. These must be acquired from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

I want to work in a foreign country. Do I need a visa?
Yes. All countries require special work permits and work visas for foreigners wishing to work in that country. Please see the visa information page for the specific country to determine work visa requirements for each country. The employer in the foreign country is responsible for acquiring a work permit in that country which is then used to apply for a work visa

I am a journalist who wants to report from a foreign country. Do I need a visa?
Yes. Several countries issue specific journalist visas while others issue work or business travel visas to journalists. Please see the visa information page for the specific country to determine journalist visa requirements for each country. If there is no journalist visa application, then a business visa is the usual requirement.

Do I need a visa if I am just passing through an airport?
Sometimes. Some countries require a "Transit Visa" for stops in the airport, even just to change aircraft. Please check the visa information page for the specific country to determine if you will have to get a transit visa for that country.

I am going on a cruise. Do I need a visa?
Sometimes. Most cruises sold in the North American market visit countries which usually do not require visas for Canadian citizens. Residents of Canada who are not citizens should check the country page, or contact the embassy for detailed information. Many cruises are now visiting more exotic destinations, and Canadian citizens may sometimes require a visa. World cruises will usually visit at least five countries requiring visas from Canadians.

I will be crossing a border by car or bus. Do I need a visa?
Sometimes. If the country to which you will travel requires a visa for entry, then this requirement applies to all forms of transportation (aircraft, train, car, bus, walking).

I am a diplomat. Can VSC get me a visa?
No. Consult your own diplomatic mission.

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APPLY FROM ABROAD

I will be out of Canada. Can I apply for a visa from abroad?
Yes. You can send your application and documents and passport and photos to the embassy by courier from almost anywhere in the world. China and Pakistan prohibit the shipping of passports across their borders.

PASSPORTS

Do I need a passport?
Yes. Almost all travel to foreign countries involves a passport requirement. Countries which require a visa for entry will of course need your passport, as the visa is placed on a blank page in your passport.

Where do I get a passport?
Canadian passports are available upon application and fee payment to the government of Canada passport office. Application forms can be picked up at any post office and most travel agencies.

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REQUIREMENTS

How do I increase my chances of getting a visa?
Read the instructions carefully and fulfill all the requirements. Make sure you have included all required and necessary documents. Make sure the application forms are typed or printed legibly in dark ink. SIGN THE FORMS! Make sure your photos are new and in colour if required, and show an uncovered face. If possible, include a copy of your air ticket or travel itinerary from your travel agent. Make sure you have included letters from your company if on a business trip, or letters from the other parent if you are travelling with your child. In short, be clear and truthful and prepared. Ensure that you have a proper invitation, if applicable. Enclose your Permanent Resident status document, if not a Canadian citizen. Many countries require proof of financial support in the form of bank statements, so be prepared to provide these as well.

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APPLICATIONS AND TIMES

Can I apply on-line?
Many countries now use eVisas, so you can apply on-line. Other countries require your original passport and photo and signature. For India and Egypt and Turkey you can apply on-line.

How long does it take to get my visa?
Some visas are available the same day, and some take up to three months. Most visas are available with ordinary service within two weeks. Special rush service is sometimes available for extra fees charged by the embassy.

How soon do I have to use my visa?
Most ordinary visas are valid for use within ninety (90) days. This means you must enter the visa country within ninety days of the issuance of that visa. If you go over that time, the visa is invalid, and a new visa must be purchased.

How long is the visa valid in the foreign country?
Most ordinary visas are valid for up to ninety (90) days. This means you may remain in the country for up to ninety days before you must, by law, leave. Some visas have a far shorter validity, and others can be extended once inside the country. Other visas, often more expensive, are valid for up to a year.

I need to got to several countries in a row. Can I get all my visas at once?
No, you must apply for each visa in turn.

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SAFETY AND SECURITY

Will my passport be safe at the Embassy or High Commission?
Embassy security is usually very tight, and there are very few reports of passport loss within an embassy. However, should a passport become lost while in the custody of an embassy, there is nothing you can do to recover the passport. In the unlikely event that a passport is stolen, the Ottawa police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) must be notified, as will the Canadian passport office in the case of a Canadian passport.

Will my passport be safe with the shipper?
Thousands of passports travel by courier each and every day in Canada. Major professional shipping services, such as Canada Post, Purolator, and FedEx, are the preferred method for transporting passports, and are considered safe and secure. However, should a passport become lost while in the custody of a shipping company, you should notify the police and the passport office.

Will my personal information be seen by the USA?
The US Patriot Act compels US-owned and US-based companies to provide all personal data regarding foreigners to various US agencies. Personal information you give to US companies is held in US-based databases and is accessed by the US government without warrant. Your data cannot be searched by the US government inside a foreign embassy. US-based visa companies in Canada are owned by US companies, and their Canadian clients' personal data can be read by the US government.

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CHILD / MINOR TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION

Should I get a travel authorization for my child?
Global Affairs Canada suggests the following model letter which may be amended to meet the specific situation and requirements of the applicant. Simply take this text and personalize it to meet your family needs. Ensure you provide copies of the passports of both parents, and a long-form birth certificate of the child showing the names of both parents. START LETTER: To Whom It May Concern. I (We), (full name(s) of custodial and/or non-custodial parent(s)/legal guardian(s)), am (are) the (lawful custodial parent and/or non-custodial parent(s) or legal guardian(s)) of (child's full name) Date of birth (DD/MM/YYYY): Place of birth: Canadian passport number: Date of issuance of Canadian passport (DD/MM/YYYY): Place of issuance of Canadian passport. (Child's full name), has my (our) consent to travel with Full name of accompanying person: Canadian or foreign passport number: Date of issuance of passport (DD/MM/YYYY): Place of issuance of passport: to visit (name of foreign country) during the period of (dates of travel: departure and return). During that period, (child's full name) will be residing with (name of person where child will be residing in foreign country) at the following address: Number/street address and apartment number: City, province/state, country: Telephone and fax numbers (work and residence). Any questions regarding this consent letter can be directed to the undersigned at: Number/street address and apartment number: City, province/state, country: Telephone and fax numbers (work and residence): Signature(s): Date: (Full name(s) and signature(s) of custodial parent, and/or non-custodial parent(s) or legal guardian(s)). Signed before me, (name of witness), this (date) at (name of location). Signature: (name of witness) NOTARY SEAL of lawyer. END LETTER

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