Last Updated on September 28, 2022 by Allard John Keeley
Did you know that 90% of the visitor visas that Canada hands out around the world are now multiple-entry visas valid for up to 10 years? And that 1/3 of those 10-year multiple-entry visas are awarded to visitors from China? Canada has a goal of delivering visitor visas faster and in larger quantities
Multiple Entry Visas to Canada vs. Single Entry Visas
Did you know that 90% of the visitor visas that Canada hands out around the world are now multiple-entry visas valid for up to 10 years? And that 1/3 of those 10-year multiple-entry visas are awarded to visitors from China? Canada has a goal of delivering visitor visas faster and in larger quantities, especially in the following growing markets:
Canada is dedicated to attracting more tourists from emerging market giants like China, India, and Brazil; and from the 90-plus million Mexicans who are partners in NAFTA. And a multiple entry 10 year visitor visa is a great vehicle to encourage tourism to Canada.
What is a Multiple Entry Visa?
A single-entry visa only allows you to come to Canada one time. When you leave Canada, you must obtain a new visa for your passport in order to re-enter Canada. The exceptions to this rule are travel to:
- the United States (including Territories & Possessions);
- St. Pierre and Miquelon.
In these two cases, if you travel only to these destinations from Canada and return to Canada directly from these two destinations, you do not need a new visitor visa.
In other words, unless you travel to the USA or St. Pierre and Miquelon and return directly to Canada, with a single-entry visa you will have to get a new visa every time you wish to return to Canada. That’s a lot of fuss and paperwork, and fees, for tourists who enjoy visiting Canada.
Canada has realized that many passports around the world are now being issued for 10 year periods, rather than 5 years, as is now the case for Canadian passports. That means that tourists from abroad may have a passport that is valid for 10 years and may want to visit Canada on numerous occasions and explore different parts of the country. Because of this, CIC has decided to issue multiple-entry visas that are valid for 10 years or until 1 month before your current passport expires. Since February 6, 2014, all visa applicants are automatically considered for a multiple-entry visa, even if they have not specifically applied for one.
Pack your bags and go, and return, and go, and return …
As the Chinese Ambassador to Canada stated earlier this year in an article in the Globe and Mail, Canadian and Chinese businessmen can now just “pack their luggage and go across the Pacific Ocean” with their multiple-entry visas. Given that China is Canada’s 2nd largest trading partner, this really makes sense.
In a few years, this will be the case with India as well. As negotiations continue with the Canada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), it is estimated to lead to a 40% increase in Canadian exports to India and up to a 60% increase in Indian exports to Canada. That means lots and lots of business people travelling back and forth between the two countries. One of Canada’s goals in the negotiations is “trade in services, including temporary entry for business persons.” In other words, it is hoped that in a few short years Canada and India will enjoy the same multiple-entry visa boom that Canada is experiencing with China.
Canada does not have a free-trade agreement with Brazil, but trade ties between the two nations are extensive and growing. While India has surpassed Brazil as Canada’s 14th largest trading partner, Brazil still does billions of dollars of business with Canada. It is clear Canada wants to increase cooperation with Brazil at all levels. And that includes visa travel. Sao Paulo, as we have noted in previous articles, is one of the most efficient visa offices around the world. So while Canada and Brazil have to ink a free-trade deal, cooperation and exchanges is increasing between the two countries month by month. And with that, the need for multiple-entry visas.
Guidelines for CIC officials issuing visitor visas
At CIC’s page on guidelines for issuing single-entry or multiple-entry visas it states that “issuance of a MEV (multiple-entry visa) should now be considered the standard and any SEV (single-entry visa) requires an explanation.” This means that CIC will, from now on, only issue single-entry visas (SEV) in very limited circumstances:
- An official visit by a foreign national;
- Participation in a one-time special event in Canada;
- Country-specific procedures or guidelines in place preventing or limiting the issuance of MEVs.
The rest of the visa applications will automatically be considered for an MEV. Any time an immigration official decides to issue a SEV they will have to provide their reasons for doing so. That means that the default option is a MEV. And as well, they “should be issued to the maximum validity according to the length of the passport validity (up to 10 years minus one month).” As long as the visa officer is satisfied that you:
- A bona-fide temporary resident, AND
- Not inadmissible to Canada.
Not only that, if the visa officer issued a MEV for less than the maximum length (10 years minus one month or one month before the expiry date of your current passport) they must enter the reasons for doing so in the case notes. They are even instructed to encourage applicants to apply for MEVs especially if:
- The applicant is known to the visa office;
- The applicant has a history of travelling to and returning from Canada;
- The applicant is an elderly parent with a permanent residence application in process.
In fact, if you request a SEV and are eligible for a MEV, the visa office will send you the following letter:
Please find enclosed your single-entry temporary resident visa as per your application.
If you had applied for a multiple-entry visa, the visa issued to you could have been valid up to one month before the expiry of your passport (for a maximum of 10 years).
Next time you wish to apply to travel to Canada you may wish to consider applying for a multiple-entry visa.
Please note you must still meet all assessment criteria as per Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and associated Regulations at the time your application is processed.
It’s clear that CIC wants you to apply for multiple-entry visas. Make your travel a lot easier and cut down on the paperwork. Apply for a MEV.
Riley Haas has been a leading expert since 2011 on immigration matters, with hundreds of publications online. Published author of three books about political philosophy, the Beatles and the Toronto Maple Leafs, respectively. BA from Bishop’s University, MA from McMaster University. You follow Riley on Substack https://rileyhaas.substack.com.