Applying for a Canadian visa

Applying for a Canadian visa

Do I need a visa to go to Canada?

Visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website: Countries and Territories Requiring Visas, to see if you need a visa.

What type of visa do I need to visit Canada?

Canadian visitor visas are called Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs)
There a two types:
  1. Single-Entry — allows you to travel between the United States and Canada as many times as you would like for the duration of the visa (usually six (6) months). If you wish to enter from a country other than the US you may only use this visa once. 
  2. Multiple-Entry — allows you to enter Canada as many times as you like from any country you like for the duration of the visa (usually twelve (12) months). However, if you would like to travel from another point into Canada (e.g. fly into Montreal from your home country) you would need a multiple-entry visa.
The choice of visitor visa is entirely yours. From practice, we know that students applying for multiple-entry get a visa for a longer time.

How much does it cost?

Please visit the following website for visa fee information:
Please pay only the exact amount listed on the fee schedule. You MUST pay with a money order. Personal checks, cashier's checks, or other methods of payment will not be accepted.

What documents do I need to send?

Required documents

  • Money Order for either Single-Entry or Multiple-Entry Visa (see link above for correct amount)
  • Completed Form IMM 5257 - Application for Temporary Resident Visa Made Outside of Canada          
    • Make sure that you Validate your application by clicking the "Validate" button on the PDF
    • You should have at least five (5) pages after clicking the "Validate button"
    • Check out this example of a completed application: Form IMM 5257 (Example)
  • Original valid passport
  • Form I-20
  • F-1 Student Visa
  • Two passport photos
  • Enrollment verification letter (Available from ISS)
  • Original Bank Statement (showing at least 500 USD for a single-entry, 1000 USD for a multiple-entry)
  • Unofficial Transcripts (Printed from BannerWeb)
  • Self addressed Return Express Mail envelope (with your own address listed)
  • Personal letter explaining your reason for visiting Canada. Download a sample letter.
If you have do not know how to complete the Form IMM 5257 please read the instructions listed on the Applying for a Temporary Resident Visa Outside Canada (IMM 5256) website.

Will ISS review my application before I send it?

YES, ABSOLUTELY! Once you have collected all of the necessary documents you should schedule an appointment with the International Student Advisor to have your application reviewed.

Where do I send the application?

Send all required documents in an express mail envelope to the address below. To get your documents back faster, and for security reasons, we advise you to include a self-addressed return Express Mail envelope inside the packet. You can pick up the envelopes at the post office.
Send your application to the following address:
Consulate General of Canada
HSBC Center, Suite 3000
Buffalo, NY 14203-2884

When will my documents be returned? When will I get my Temporary Resident Visa?

The average processing time is 2 to 5 weeks. If anything is missing from your application, the Canadian Consulate will return your documents without a visa with a request that you re-submit the application with all the required documents.