Many international students and scholars at the University of Vermont are interested in traveling to Canada. The Canadian border is just 70 km from Burlington, Vermont. The city of Montreal is just an hour and forty-five minutes by car from Burlington. Remember that if you are leaving the USA, you will need to be prepared also for reentry. See links on side panel for details.
Do I need a Canadian Visa?
If you are interested in traveling to Canada you should check to see if you require a Canadian visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) in order to enter Canada. This will depend on your nationality and how you are entering Canada. You can do this by visiting the Canadian Government’s website.
Canadian Visa Application Process
If you require a visa to travel to Canada you can begin the application process online.
You will first need to create a GCKey Log In.
After you create your GCKey, log in to the online services portion of the website. You will then need to complete a survey to get the list of required documents for the Canadian visitor visa application. Most students will require the following documents. Instructions for each of these documents are located in your document checklist within the GCKey account:
- Application for Visitor Visa (Temporary Resident Visa) Made Outside of Canada (IMM5257)
- Family Information (IMM5645)
- Purpose of Travel (Including a brief description of your travel plans, people you plan to visit, etc)
Contact an OIE advisor if you would like a sample Purpose of Travel letter.
- Proof of Financial Resource of Supporter (Usually a bank statement from your family or yourself)
- Proof of Means of Financial Support (Usually a bank statement from your family or yourself)
- Scanned Copy of Passport
- Scanned Copy of Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
- Scanned Copy of F-1 or J-1 Visa
- Scanned Copy of Form I-94
- Digital Photo
- Travel History
Once you have uploaded all the required documents you will be able to pay the visa fee. Current fee amounts are available on the Canadian government's website. After you submit your payment, you will see a page that confirms that your application has been submitted. Shortly after you submit, you will also receive a confirmation message in your MyCIC account and mailing instructions.
Mailing Your Documents
You will need to mail your immigration documents so that you can receive the visa stamp in your passport. Follow the instructions given to you in your MyCIC account. You must send your documents via courier service (DHL, UPS, FedEx, etc). You will need to include a self-addressed courier service envelope. You must buy two courier service envelopes, one envelope to mail the documents to the Canadian Consulate General and one envelope so they can send back the documents to you.
Do NOT forget to include the self-addressed courier service envelope. If you do, the Canadian Consulate General will likely send your passport back via regular mail and it will likely be destroyed by the mail processing machines at the post office.
If you need a Canadian visa quickly you can submit your application in person at a Visa Application Centre (VAC). The closest Canadian VAC to UVM is in New York City. There are others in Los Angeles, Detroit, Seattle and Washington DC. You CANNOT apply for visas at the Canadian Consulate General in Boston, Massachusetts. Visit the VAC's website for contact information and hours before making travel plans, as this information often changes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will it take to get my visa?
Generally, it takes 4-6 weeks to get your visa. If you apply in-person, the process can be as fast as two weeks. More information about visa processing times is available on the Canadian government's website.
How do I know when my application has been approved?
You can see the status of your application by visiting the VAC website.
Where can I see more frequently asked questions?
The VAC has a page on frequently asked questions.
Canadian Electronic Travel Authorizations (eTAs)
Even if you do not need a visa, you may need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) if you are flying to Canada. Check to see if you need an eTA by visiting the Canadian government's website.
Traveling to Canada and Re-entering the USA
Make sure to read all of the requirements for re-entry into the US before you go to Canada. See details about international student travel or international scholar travel. You will need to prepare your immigration documents carefully. If you are not sure if your documents are appropriate for reentry into the USA, check with us before leaving.