Canada is a huge country, one of the largest in the entire world. Luckily, Canada often issues long term tourist visas to Indian citizens so you can take multiple trips over the years to see more of this beautiful land. Furthermore, since 2014, Canada has started a new program called CAN+ that makes it very easy for Indians to get a Canadian visa. This system is currently only open to Indian, Chinese, and Mexican nationals residing in their respective countries.
Under the CAN+ system, you can get a multiple entry visa for the duration of the validity of your passport. This means that if your passport is valid for another 5 years, you will get a visa for 5 years. If your passport is valid for 10 years, well, you’re in luck, you should get a 10 year multiple entry visa.
To qualify for your visa to be processed under the CAN+ system you need to be an Indian citizen applying in India and have a US visa that has been used for prior travel to the United States in the past 10 years. Canada runs a very smooth online application system so if you pay via credit card online and can scan or take digital photos (with your phone) of all your documents, you don’t have to go anywhere until your visa is approved.
Furthermore, the CAN+ system promises that your application is approved in 5 business days. No additional documents need to be submitted (no bank statements, flight tickets, tax returns, etc.), just the form, your travel history information (including US visas and entry stamps), copies of your passport pages, and the visa fees which are CAD $100.
Canada operates a very easy to use online visa application system. You answer a few questions and the system will generate a unique service ID and document checklist for you. There are questions regarding your US visa and prior travel to the US, and when you answer these questions, you will get a reduced document checklist with fewer requirements.
Once you submit all your documents online, they will process your visa application at their end. If approved, you will receive an email with a request to submit your passport for stamping. Unfortunately, this step requires a visit to your nearest VFS visa processing centre to submit your passport, furthermore, you have to pay the VFS passport submission fee.
Of course, if you do not have a US visa and travel history to the US, you can still apply online but you will have to submit a few more documents regarding your situation. In this case, your visa will be subject to ordinary processing times (around 15 days on average).
In my case, as I applied for my Canadian visa outside India, I had to submit more documents than I would have had to, in India. This is a rare situation since in my experience visa applications inside India tend to be far more complicated than in other jurisdictions. However, since I had a valid US visa and prior travel history to the United States, my Canadian visa application was approved fairly quickly.
Canada’s online visa application process is very smooth and well designed. The CIC website works very well and is quite informative. I had no issues with making the online payment. If you have a US visa and have traveled to the US in the past, visiting Canada has now become a no-brainer.
Time to take a trip to the Great White North!