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  • Nationality: Indian
  • US visa status: H1B (valid for multiple entries)
  • Travel date: 1st week of August.
  • Cruise line: Royal Caribbean

I am planning to go on a cruise to Alaska (departing from Seattle,USA) which includes a halt in British Columbia (which is in Canada) on our way back.

  1. Do I need to apply for Canada visitor visa?
  2. Will I still need a visitor/transit visa if stay onboard the cruise and do not leave the ship in British Columbia?
  3. Does anyone know the current wait times for Canada visitor visa processing if applied from USA (happened to hear from a couple of friends that it will take 6 months or more, is this true?)

Appreciate any clarifications/help in this regard.

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  • @slyneet1199 - Did you get the visa on time? We are in the same exact situation. Have a Cruise booked on September 10. Applied for visitor visa on July 28, Biometric completed on August 1st. We are worried, if we will get the visa on time or should we postpone our cruise.
    – Soham
    Aug 9 at 17:10

2 Answers 2

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  1. A citizen of India needs a visa in order to enter Canada.

  2. In comments, @mkennedy (to whom thanks) has pointed out Royal Caribbean's FAQ which says near the bottom of the page:

Please note the most recent visa requirements for non-United States guests sailing on an Alaskan itinerary require a Canadian visa to participate in the cruise. Click here to get more details.

Thus, it appears that the correct answer to Question #2 — will the OP need a Canadian visa to take the cruise, even if they do not disembark in Canada — is "Yes."

It's possible that the FAQ is no longer accurate. The OP should contact Royal Caribbean and ask.

  1. Canada Immigration maintains a webpage showing current visa processing times. Your visa type (should you apply) is "Temporary Residence," "Visitor Visa (from Outside Canada)" and "United States" (as place of application). At this moment on June 13, 2022, the processing time is shown as 25 days.
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  • Thank you so much for the prompt response. Appreciate all the information that you shared. I will try to follow up to get the visitor visa and book the cruise 👍
    – slynet1199
    Jun 14 at 1:49
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    Cruise ships originating from the US have to stop in Canada (or another country) to comply with cabotage laws. But I don't know if those laws specifically require all passengers to disembark & officially enter Canada, or whether they can stay on the ship. Jun 14 at 17:40
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    Here's the FAQ from RC which says that non-US guests must have a Canadian visa: royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/…
    – mkennedy
    Jun 14 at 17:58
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    Note: the statement about needing a Canadian visa is near the bottom of the page.
    – mkennedy
    Jun 14 at 17:59
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    @DavidSupportsMonica What about this statement: "Please note the most recent visa requirements for non-United States guests sailing on an Alaskan itinerary require a Canadian visa to participate in the cruise." When you click through, you check Canada's requirements and given what the OP said, a visitor visa is required.
    – mkennedy
    Jun 14 at 21:47
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  1. You are allowed to stay on the ship if you do not want to see one of the most beautiful cities in North America but why would you? :)
  2. You will not be allowed on the cruise if you are not admissible into Canada. To see this is the case, search around for cruise and DUI record. Canada does not allow people with DUI records into the country, it is by far the most common reason US passport holders are refused entry. The entire ship is processed, no one cares you want to stay on board. And, as David notes, Indian passport holders need a visa, however if they have visited Canada or the US in the last ten years -- which you clearly did -- then they are are typically eligible for the CAN+ program which expedites their visa. This does not require a separate form or process, just submit the usual documentation. https://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=875&top=16
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  • Thank you so much for your comment. I am going to apply for the tourist visa tomorrow, still worried if it will arrive before the cruise on 1st August. I know I am very late but wanted to know if I book the cruise or not.
    – slynet1199
    Jun 16 at 5:54
  • Even without CAN+ you'd probably get it but with that? the time should be more than enough. cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=877&top=16 I can't find up to date information but I'd expect a week or so.
    – chx
    Jun 16 at 8:57
  • I have submitted the application and it is in progress now. It is asking me to schedule appointment for biometric and I do not see any appointments available before 18th July(booked for now). Will they continue processing in the meantime or will they only proceed after my biometric? Trying to gauge on how many days will I receive the visitor visa now.
    – slynet1199
    Jun 28 at 1:35

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