Temporary Resident Visa
Most people are required to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) prior to entering Canada. You can check here to find out whether you are exempt from this requirement.

When attempting to enter Canada temporarily, you must convince a visa officer, either in your home country or at a Canadian port of entry, that you will leave when your visa expires. This is the test that all persons must meet, and in recent years, it has become harder to do.

In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult for persons from visa-countries to obtain a TRV, and the number of documents that one needs to provide support of an application is growing. It used to be that you could simply send your friend an invitation letter, and that would be sufficient to assure a successful application.

In the past, lawyers would have never recommended their services for such an application; today, however, I would strongly recommend that if it is important for you or a family member to visit, that you retain a lawyer to assist you. There are three important reasons for this:

  • One, lawyers know what kind of documents CIC is looking for in an application.
  • Two, if your application is refused, it will be increasingly difficult for you to be approved in subsequent applications to visit Canada. The last thing you want is bad immigration history. It's like a reputation. It tends to stay with you a long time.
  • Three, most people are unaware that the smallest criminal conviction resulting from the most unimportant incident can make you inadmissible to enter Canada for any reason.
Unless you are very savvy and know your way around the system, you will require a lawyer to make persuasive submissions to the visa office abroad.

It's important to keep in mind that for all immigration applications - temporary or permanent - visa offices have office-specific forms that need to be filled out, besides the regular ones that everyone needs to fill out. If you're determined to do it on your own, you can access information and forms here.