I'm passing through Canada, on my way to somewhere else. I'm staying only a short time.

Is there a website, or some other way of find out out if I need a visa?

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Here is a Canadian government website that will lead you through the steps of discovering whether you need a visa to visit Canada, whether briefly in transit or for a more extended visit.

You can enter your country of citizenship and all other information about your trip, and it will tell you if you need a visa, and what visa you need.

Some general rules:

  • If you don't need a visa to visit Canada, you don't need a visa to transit Canada. This includes citizens of the US, UK, EU and many others. However, except for US citizens, you almost certainly need an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). You can apply for an ETA online. It is cheap and quick but you must do it in advance.
  • You cannot stay more than 48 hours with a transit visa
  • The Transit Without Visa program (TWOV) and the China Transit Program (CTP) allow certain foreign nationals to transit through Canada on their way to and from the United States without a Canadian transit visa, if they meet certain requirements.

You can apply for a transit visa by filling out the application for a Temporary Resident Visa and selecting transit visa from the list of options on the form. You may not need a transit visa if you are travelling to or from the United States.

If you are in doubt about your eligibility you can contact your nearest Canadian embassy by email or otherwise.

  • What happens if person stays over 48 hours with transit visa? – Boris_yo Jul 21 '14 at 16:57
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    I would ask a separate question about that. – DJClayworth Jul 21 '14 at 17:18
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    Since this answer was written Canada has started to introduce the eTA system. Most people who don't need a visa will require an eTA if arriving by air. – Peter Green Mar 27 '16 at 20:28

Whenever I had similar doubts, I always wrote a short email to the embassy of the country in question (Canada in your case) in my country. The embassy officers have been very helpful in most cases and answered promptly. Additionally I printed these emails and took them with me on my trip. While I don't think a piece of paper will be of any help in a difficult situation, it made me sleep well :)

  • An even more useful resource is Timatic, which is what the Airlines themselves use. Carrying a printout of the relevant section (because the amount of info for a given country is often vast) can often prove very useful – Coke Nov 27 '16 at 8:33

F1 visa holder transited through canada just today.

  1. I am an Indian Citizen.
  2. Has United states F1 visa(student)
  3. Traveling to Mumbai from Dallas
  4. Travelling entirely on Air Canada
  6. My layover at Toronto was 2 hr 46 minute

After going through neumerous research. Pretty much everyone told me I do need to get a TRANSIT VISA.

After going through the painful process of applying, sending my passport and spending almost $50 and waiting for 15 days, Got a transit visa for 2 entry.

The twist comes now.

I have been handed a immigration form to fill up in flight connecting Dallas and Toronto. Filled it up. However no one from my arrival gate to the departure gate asked me to see the form, or I did not go through immigration. One lady asked me if I am coming from United States and then another asked where my next destination was, and just checked my boarding pass and passport. and opened a barricade and let me in. After going through that barricade, I was right at Gate E78.

Feel such a waste of time and money after going through the transit visa process. But there was no other way of knowing, as the cic website, canadian consulate told me I need a transit visa. Called Air Canada and not sure if they understood me.

Following this Transit without a visa , everything applied to me except I wasn't a citizen of Indonesia Philippines Thailand or Taiwan

But still never got asked for neither my immigration form nor my transit visa. Felt as normal as transiting through any other airport I have been to. The cic website is really outdated and needs to be change.

My conclusion is, no matter what passport you have, as long as you are going throgh Terminal T1 at Toronto airport and not changing your terminal, you don't need a transit visa. As you are not going outside the airport. But please do your research.

Also if your experience is similar as mine. Please share it, it will result in other people saving their money and energy.

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    Hi Dip. We are really looking for general answers, not just your experience. You should also be aware that just because you weren't asked for a visa doesn't mean you don't need one legally. – DJClayworth May 21 at 2:43
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    Just because no one asked to see your transit visa does not mean that it was not checked electronically. When you checked into your flight you would have had to provide your passport info. This would have been linked to your Canadian transit visa. If you did not have a transit visa at this point, the system would have noticed this and you would have been denied boarding. Additionally your transit visa status was likely checked when the lady checked your passport. – Jacob Horbulyk May 21 at 10:03
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    DJClayworth, I understood. and you guys answer was pretty much similar to the response I got from all the official source. Yes I am not answering any question, but writing in hope that it may catch someone's attention and the official canadian website will do something about it. – Dip773 May 22 at 3:23
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    Jacob Horbuluk, You are saying I will be denied boarding with assumption and what the official site said. I watched throughly what the lady who boarded me the flight to canada,did. She just checked my passport number, put that in the computer and gave me the boarding pass. Don't know if she can pull out all my info and document just from my passport number though, But this is what I've experienced. – Dip773 May 22 at 3:26
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    One of my friend with exact same scenario ended up in troble, As he went through immigration and couldn't show the visa. He was lucky that they gave him a refugge status and told him that ' it's air canada's fault as they shouldv'e told you that. So not telling anyone to go without visa. But just trying to give a more human like respond than what you can already found by going to the CIC website in hope that they will change the information if it is outdated. – Dip773 May 22 at 3:35

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