Visitors to Canada

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Visitor to Canada Travel Insurance (also known as “VTC”) offers coverage to travellers visiting Canada for an array of reasons. These reasons range from vacationers and tourists, visiting family members, those with work or student visas, or returning Canadians waiting for their Government Health Insurance Plan (GHIP) to take effect.

VTC insurance offers various levels of emergency medical coverage while visiting Canada. No one plans for an emergency, but the unexpected can –and sometimes does- happen. We recommend travellers protect themselves against the unexpected by purchasing the right coverage for your trip. Also, most policies will offer coverage for side visits to the U.S. should you want to take a quick trip over the border.

A Super Visa may be required for travellers who are looking to spend an extended amount of time with their family in Canada. When getting a quote, be sure you are requesting the correct coverage limit required for your visa. For more information about Super visas, please refer to our dedicated page.

Is travel insurance essential for visitors to Canada?

Trip insurance for all visitors to Canada is strongly recommended no matter what your reason for travel. This may include travellers who are visiting, working, studying, or returning to Canada.

Canadian residents are covered by provincial health insurance plans. Visitors to Canada are not eligible for enrollment in these plans, and therefore are strongly advised to carry their own travel insurance with medical coverage.

Should a medical emergency happen, and you do not have coverage, you will have to pay out of pocket for the medical expenses. Canadian medical expenses can be high, especially if a hospital stay is required.

In addition to emergency medical expenses, there may also be additional expenses such as emergency transportation (ground or air), crutches, medication and much more.

Do visitors to Canada need health insurance?

Visitors to Canada are not eligible for enrollment in the provincial health insurance plans available to residents of Canada. Therefore, visitors are strongly encouraged to purchase travel insurance with medical coverage to cover the cost of any medical expenses they may incur while visiting Canada.

How much does travel insurance for visitors to Canada cost?

The cost of travel insurance can vary and is mainly based on the age of each insured person, coverage limit and the length of your trip. Most providers offer emergency medical coverage per person from $50,000 Canadian to as high as $500,000 Canadian.

What is the best travel insurance for visitors to Canada?

The best travel insurance is dependent upon the unique details of the traveller and their travel plans. When comparing insurance policies, always be sure to read the fine print and understand the details.

At InsureMyTrip, we have reviewed a variety of providers to offer you some of the top insurance products for you to choose from. When reviewing your options, we encourage you to look beyond price to make sure you are purchasing the right coverage for your travel plans.

Should you have any questions you can always call us. Our Customer Care team will be happy to help you read the fine print of your policy and explain the terms, conditions and exclusions.

Who can travel to Canada?

To find out if you are eligible for entry to Canada, please review the Government of Canada advisory website. This information is subject to change at any time, so please make sure you visit the site prior to booking your trip to Canada.

Most travellers require either a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada. Some travellers only need their valid passport. One simple way to find out what document you need to travel to or though Canada is visit the Government of Canada website to answer a few questions.

Permanent residents (also known as “PR”) of Canada require a valid PR card when travelling to Canada by public transit (plane, train, bus or boat) or transiting through a Canadian airport. Please visit the Government of Canada website to find out more about travelling to Canada with PR status.

What are the visa requirements for Canada?

A visitor visa (also called a temporary resident visa) is an official document to be included with your passport that shows you meet the requirements needed to enter Canada.

There are a number of countries whose residents will only need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to Canada. That list of visa-exempt travellers can be found here. However, travellers from these countries do not need an eTA if entering by land or sea. For example, if a traveller is coming from the U.S. by bus, train, or boat. This includes cruise ship travellers.

Most travellers will need a visitor visa to travel to Canada. Those transiting through a Canadian airport on the way to their final destination may also need one. Applications for visitor visas can be completed online or through a hard copy. Before applying, be sure to confirm if you need a visitor visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization. The entry document you need may depends on:

  • the type of travel document you plan to travel with
  • the country that issued your travel document
  • your nationality
  • your method of travel to Canada for this trip

Most visitors can stay in Canada for up to 6 months. The border services officer at the port of entry may allow more or less time and will put the date you must leave by in your passport. They may also give you a document called a visitor record, which will show the date you need to leave by. If you don’t get a stamp in your passport, you can stay for 6 months from the day you entered Canada or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

Basic requirements for eligibility for a visitor visa include:

  • a valid travel document, such as a passport
  • traveller is in good health
  • traveller has no criminal or immigration-related convictions
  • traveller has evidence of ties (for example, a job, residence, financial assets or family) that will ensure return to your home country
  • agreement that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit
  • enough money for your stay (this depends on how long and where you will stay)

You may also need a medical exam and letter of invitation from a resident of Canada.

Are the borders to Canada closed?

While the COVID-19 pandemic had placed restrictions on travel to Canada and within Canada, the Canadian borders are open again.

However, due to the fluid nature of the pandemic, travellers are encouraged to confirm this information prior to travel by visiting the Government of Canada website. This information remains subject to change at any time. Please make sure you visit the site prior to booking your trip to Canada.

If you are able to enter the country, be advised that requirements may vary.  View the latest testing and quarantine requirements here. International travellers flying through Canada may not need to follow this checklist and should refer to the website to learn more about transit to another country by air.

For those entering Canada via the water, such as a cruise travel, you may find updated information on ports of entry and temporary service reductions at the Canadian Border Services Agency website.

Links to Border Crossing Resources

The following border crossing resources are available and updated with current information:

How do I find the current wait times for the border/bridge?

The current wait times at the 26 busiest land-border crossings between the U.S. and Canada can be found online at the Government of Canada’s Travel Resource site. Due to precautions taken to stop the spread of COVID-19, the flow of travel and trade may be affected. Travellers are encouraged to visit the Current Border Measures and Requirements website for the most accurate information.


DISCLAIMER: This guidance in this article is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is intended to offer guidance regarding travel insurance and the benefits which may be available. It does not guarantee coverage for any traveller. The information in this article reflects the most up-to-date information available at the time of publication. If you have questions regarding specific coverage details or available travel insurance plans, please contact our licensed customer care team.