Canada Visa – A Step-By-Step Guide

Have you ever thought of witnessing the stunning setting of Niagara Falls? Or treat yourself to the majesty and adventure available at the Glacier National Park in British Columbia. Canada is home to all that and more!

But first, you’ll need to sort out your visa. South African passport holders need a Visitor Visa to enter Canada. While there are Canadian embassies, consulates and trade offices throughout South Africa, you will need to make your applications at the Visa Application Centres (VACs) in Pretoria and Cape Town. Always apply for the visitor visa at least 30 days before your departure date.

Make sure that you check your eligibility before you start the application process and submit your application well before your flight departure.

Please take note that this process applies to South African passport holders.

Types of Visas

  • Visitor Visa – This visa allows you to enter Canada once. You can also apply for this visa if you are visiting your children or grandchildren. It is valid for six months.
  • Super Visa – You will need to apply for this visa if you are visiting children or grandchildren and need to stay for longer than six months. It is valid for two years.
  • Transit Visa – You will need this visa if you change planes in Canada. This visa only applies to you if you have less than 48 hours between your flights and you’re just transiting. If you have more than 48 hours between your flights, you will need to apply for a Visitor Visa.

Processing Time

Once you have submitted your application and biometrics, you could have your Visitor Visa within two weeks.

  • Visitor Visa – 14 working days
  • Super Visa – 87 working days
  • Transit Visa – Applications for the Transit Visa usually take a few weeks or less. The processing time depends on the VAC, the volume of applications, and if you need to complete any additional steps.

Visa Collection

You don’t need to worry about collecting your Canada visa and passport. Once your application is approved, the VAC will send your visa and passport back to you (you can arrange this with the VAC when making your application). Be sure to check that the visa stamp states the correct dates of your time in Canada.

Visa Costs

Your Canada visa can be quite costly, and can easily cost around C$280 (R2900). Below is a breakdown of the visa and service fees.

Please note that fees are non-fundable and must be submitted with your application.

The visitor visa and super visa will cost you $100 (R1047).

The transit visa is free.

Biometrics recordings cost $85 (R890)

Visa application fees at VAC

Service charge for application handling $51.71 (R542)
A self-service computer terminal for form completion $14.52 (R152)
Assistance with form completion on self-service computer terminals $26.97 (R283)
Photocopy services – price per page $0.21 (R3)
Photography service $8.58 (R90)
Transmission of passport to embassy upon request by visa office $41.37 (R433)
Courier delivery $18.34 (R192)
Courier early delivery $19.21 (R201)
Courier overnight express $14.58 (R153)
SMS services $2.50 (R27)
GC Fee Collection and Remittance $3.56 (R38)

You can only pay in South African Rands.

You can pay by debit/credit card at the VACs.

See below for the info regarding making cash deposits to the VACs.

Bank: Nedbank
Account Name: VFS Visa Processing (SA) Pty Ltd
Account Number: 1049565797
Branch Code: 198765
nathan phillips square toronto canada visa

Image courtesy of @anilulorey via Instagram

Canada Visa Requirements

  1. Photocopy of the information page of your valid passport, including the passport number, issue and expiry dates, your photo, name, date, and place of birth
  2. Proof of financial support
  3. Photocopy of your marriage license/certificate (if applicable)
  4. Purpose of travel
  5. Minors travelling alone or with one parent must have custody documents / a letter of authorization from the other non-accompanying parent / a letter of authorization signed by both parents or legal guardians

Super Visa Requirements

  1. A letter of invitation from your child or grandchild residing in Canada as a permanent resident or Canadian citizen (you must also have information on your host child or host grandchild’s family composition (dependants, including spouse, children or other relatives financially dependent on your host child or host grandchild).
  2. One of the following documents to prove that your child or grandchild meets the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) minimum:
    • A most recent copy of the Notice of Assessment. If you don’t have a hard copy of a Notice of Assessment on file, you can print the tax returns and other personal tax information using the CRA’s My Account for Individuals.
    • A most recent copy of the T4 or T1 tax form
    • Original letter from employer stating title, job description and salary
    • Employment insurance pay stubs
    • If self-employed, a letter from an accountant confirming their annual income
    • Proof of other sources of income (pensions statement, investments, etc.)
  3. Evidence of the parent or grandparent relationship to the Canadian citizen or permanent resident you wish to visit (copy of birth certificate, baptismal certificate or other official document naming you as parent or grandparent).
  4. Proof of private medical insurance coverage for a minimum of one year with a Canadian insurance company (copy of the insurance certificate or policy)

Transit Visa Requirements

  1. Your original passport
  2. Good quality photocopies of your current and previous passports for the last five years, which include:
    • Visas
    • Stamps
    • Your biographical data (name, date of birth, passport number), including your photo
moraine lake banff national park canada visa

Image courtesy of @alex_driebergen via Instagram

How to Apply

  1. Get your required documents and print others that are needed for your application (see below for where to print).
  2. Download and print the application form, complete it and put it together with the rest of your required documents.
  3. Visit one of the VACs (see below) to submit your documents as part of your visa application.
  4. You must be ready to pay for your visa application when applying.
  5. You will also have to pay the relevant fees for applying at a VAC.
  6. If you’re a first-time applicant, you will need to give biometrics. You can do that when submitting your application. VAC staff will check that you’ve paid all the relevant fees before you can give your biometrics.
  7. After you apply, the VAC will check your application, and may additionally require the following:
    • Go for an interview with one of the VAC officials
    • Send more information
    • Get a medical exam (if your visit is for more than six months)
  8. Make sure to arrange a courier to ensure your passport and visa will be sent to you. Due to there being only two VACs in the country, it’s wiser to arrange delivery of your visa and passport so that you only need to visit your closest VAC once.

Where to Apply

See below for the Canada Visa Application centres in South Africa.

Cape Town

Address: 5th floor,
30 Waterkant Street
Cape Town


Address: Cherry Lane Centre,
1st Floor,
114 Fehrsen Street,
Nieuw Muckleneuk,

Where to Print

Cape Town

Printing Cape Town | Printers Cape Town – PARKADEprint

Address: 18 Long Street,
Cape Town City Centre


Jetline Brooklyn

Address: Brookfield Office Park,
273 Middel Street,
victoria canada visa

Image courtesy of @yummy_73 via Instagram

If you haven’t yet, book a flight to Canada with Travelstart!

With this step-by-step guide, you’ll have your visa sorted with enough time to spare to focus on what you’re looking forward to experiencing in this exotic North American nation.

Subscribe to our newsletter to find out about awesome holiday packages and flight deals to Canada. Find other great travelling opportunities with our flight specials!

Have you previously applied for a Canadian visa? Let us know about your experience in the comments!

All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart is not affiliated with immigration authorities or their application centres and will not be liable for loss or inconvenience arising from the use of this volatile information.

Featured image courtesy of @therergulartravelholic via Instagram

Our Readers Comments

  1. Hi would love to apply for visiting visa for 2 what must we have to qualify for the visa

    • Hi Steve,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      You welcome to read through our blog: Canada Visa – A Step-By-Step Guide here we provide all the information one needs to know when apply for a Canadian tourist visa.

      We do recommend contacting the Embassy or official visa handling agency as visa information could change at anytime.

  2. Hi I’ve completed biometrics last Thursday (11th April) and have been waiting for feedback. It’s been a week and there’s nothing. Flying out next Saturday (27th), is there anything that can be done to follow up on status? I am very nervous that the process will not be completed in time for my flight

    • Hi Sharlene,

      Best to contact them direct and they can check on the back end and hopefully give feedback on the progress of your visa.

  3. “Major delays in the issuing of visa”. I did my biometrics a week ago (11 April) but to date have not received my letter to deliver passport. How long does such a letter take to process. Also how long does it take from delivery of passport to pick up of passport with visa stamped in it.

    • Hi Shane,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I’ve checked on Travelinfo and it shows the following information:

      “”Processing times:
      NB: Currently it takes 15 days to process a visitor visa.
      However, there are major delays in the issuing of visas, due to a backlog at the High Commission SA offices.””

      For any further information I would recommend contacting the Embassy. They would be able too check on the back end and advise. will be able to see on the back end how long the processing time is.

  4. Good day

    – The Canadian government website states that it takes 19 days for a visitor visa. Is this correct?
    – Would i be able to apply for a Canadian AND US visitor visa within 1 month?
    – Is a police clearance certificate a requirement?

    Thank You

    • Hi Justin,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      19 days is just a guideline. I’ve looked on Travelinfo and currently it shows:

      Canada: NB: Currently it takes 15 days to process a visitor visa.
      However, there are major delays in the issuing of visas, due to a backlog at the High Commission SA offices.
      Some applicants may be required to appear for an interview at the High Commission – processing times for such applications may be significantly longer.

      The US visa processing time is faster but you also need to see what slots are available when booking your appointment online.

  5. Hi,
    Do you need to have proof of flight bookings, accommodation etc for the application as required for Schengen visa? How long prior to travel can you apply for a Canadian tourist visa so that you can take advantage of early flight bookings?

    • Hi Craig,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      You welcome to read through our blog: Canada Visa – A Step-By-Step Guide

      Here we provide all the information: What documents are required, visa costs, types of visa’s, processing time and when one can apply for their visa etc

      However visa information can change at anytime so we do recommend you contact the Embassy or official visa handling agency direct.

  6. Is there anyone who can assist with Permanent residency visa?
    Or advise on the steps we need to take?

    • Hi Nicole,

      For this you would need to contact the Embassy direct. As they are the ones granting the visa they will be able to answer any visa related queries as well as the correct procedures to follow when applying, what documents are needed and the cost.

  7. We would like to apply for a tourist visa based on an invitation from my cousin. What are the requirements?

    • Hi Rudo,

      You welcome to read through our blog: Canada Visa – A Step-By-Step Guide

      Here we provide all the relevant information you need to know for applying for Canadian tourist visa.

      Please keep in mind all information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice so we do recommend you contact the Embassy or official visa handling agency direct for the most up to date information.

  8. do the kids have to be present at the VAC when applying for a canadian tourist visa? they are 3 and 6 yrs old.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      For this you will need to contact the Embassy or official visa handling agency. They will be able to advise if children will need to be present or not when applying for a visa.

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