General Informaiton

Participants from some foreign countries may require Temporary Resident Visas (TRV) or electronic travel authorizations (eTA) to travel to Canada. Please visit determine if you require a TRV or eTA to visit Canada. Participants requiring an eTA or TRV are advised to start the application process as soon as possible, at the nearest Canadian Embassy or Consulate in their countries.

A letter of invitation from the host country is required for the Temporary Resident Visa application.

Official letter of invitation

A letter of invitation from the host country is required for the Temporary Resident Visa application.

Those in need of official letters of invitation from the Government of Canada should send their:

  1. name, as it appears on passport
  2. date of birth (MM/DD/YYYY)
  3. nationality
  4. passport number
Please provide a copy of a passport photo page (pdf or jpeg format) to speed up the process.

to Contact:

Ms. Philippa Sumsion
Ocean Sciences Division
Institute of Ocean Sciences
9860 West Saanich Road
Sidney, BC, Canada V8L 4B2
Phone: (1-250) 363 6788
Fax: (1-250) 363 6690

Requirements to obtain a visa to enter Canada:

The requirements to obtain a visa are set out in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and Regulations, and they apply equally to anyone wishing to enter Canada, regardless of the purpose of their visit. Please use the attached presentation as a guideline. (pdf, 1 Mb)

To visit Canada, you must:

  • have a valid travel document, such as a passport;
  • be in good health;
  • have no criminal or immigration related convictions;
  • satisfy an immigration officer that you have ties, such as a job, home, financial assets and family, that will take you back to your country of origin;
  • satisfy an immigration officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit; and
  • have enough money for your stay; The amount of money you will need can vary with the circumstances of the visit, how long you will stay and whether you will stay in a hotel or with friends or relatives. For more information, visit the website of the visa office responsible for processing your application.

Submission of Applications:

Canada does not have a visa office in every country so it is important that participants visit the website of the visa office responsible for processing their visa application for information on how to submit an application for a TRV and the documentation required to support the application. To view a list of visa offices and the countries they serve please go to:

In some countries Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has engaged the services of a private service provider to assist individuals applying for CIC services. Visa Application Centres (VACs) agents are available to help applicants fill out their forms and answer questions about the application process. They ensure applications are complete, which reduces the rate of returned applications and ultimately leads to faster processing. The VAC sends applications to visa offices and transmits decisions to applicants in a confidential manner. VACs play no role in the decision-making process. Participants are encouraged to submit their visa applications through a VAC if this service is available in their country of residence. Please check the visa office website for information on the services available at the VACs and the associated costs.

Visa Applications Processing Times:

Processing time for visa applications vary depending on the office and the time of the year. Summer is normally the busiest time. Participants are encouraged to apply early for their visa, if one is required, to avoid disappointments.

For your general information, average processing times at the various visa offices are available at the following link Please visit the website of the visa office responsible for processing applications for more accurate processing times. The following link will be helpful

Please note that the Special Events Unit is not able to expedite the processing of visa applications that are in progress.

Other information and helpful links:

Citizenship and Immigration Canada web site:

Information on visiting Canada:

Do you need an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to visit Canada (see for list of countries):

Important information for visa exempt travellers (including US Citizens):

Visa Offices outside of Canada: