Travel Documents: Visas and ETAs

COVID-19 Update

Visa application Centres (VACs) are presently closed until further notice and the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website is encouraging individuals to contact them online.

For those in the process of receiving a travel VISA, or who have already received one for 2020, please consult directly with the VACs online or when they reopen on how to proceed with follow up steps.

If you have not yet applied for a VISA, you may request a letter and the Organizing Committee will provide you with one soon.

Please read this section of the website very carefully.

Canada does not have a visa office in every country so it is important that delegates visit the website of the Canadian visa office responsible for processing their visa application:

Information is available on the website on how to submit a visa application and the documentation required.

Processing times for visa applications vary depending on the visa office and the time of the year. Participants are encouraged to apply approximately 12 weeks in advance of their departure date to ensure they receive the visa in time. Please check this website to determine how long it will take to process your visa:


Electronic Applications (e-Apps):

· This system allows clients to submit applications online;

· Delegates that choose to apply on-line will not have to submit their passport until requested to do so by a visa officer;

· The visa office will send the applicant instructions on how and where to send their passports to finalize the visa process.

Submission at a Visa Application Centre (VAC):

*In person or by mail*

· VACs are commercial service providers authorized by Canada to provide specific services to applicants;

· VACs provide a number of services to clients, including help applicants fill out forms, answer questions and ensure that applications are complete;

· Reduces unnecessary delays or refusals due to incomplete applications;

· VACs send applications to visa offices and transmit decisions to applicants in a secure and confidential manner;

· VACs do not process visa applications and have no decision-making authority;· VACs serve as a collection point for applicants required to provide a biometric:

NEW – Biometrics (Global Expansion)

Depending on your nationality, you may be required to give your biometrics as soon as summer 2018:

· Starting July 31, 2018 the biometric requirement becomes mandatory for nationals of Europe, Middle East and Africa, and

· Starting December 31, 2018 the biometric requirement becomes mandatory for nationals of Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas.

For additional information on whether or not you require a biometric, please refer to our fast facts about Biometrics:

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

As of November 10, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals are expected to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada. For more information, see this website:

Exceptions include U.S. citizens, and travelers with a valid Canadian visa. Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, and Canadian permanent residents are not eligible to apply for an eTA.

The Organising Committee highly recommend all attendees invest in cancellation insurance, or purchase fares that provide you with options to change your travel plans or cancel for any reason (if possible).