Last Updated on July 12, 2011 by Steven Meurrens

Good news to those who have complained (and there are many) that while they had no problem getting a 10-year multiple entry visa to the United States they could only get a 6 month-single entry visitor visa to Canada.

On June 3, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada wrote an e-mail to all embassies abroad.  The e-mail encourages embassies to issue long term multiple-entry visas wherever possible, especially for those who are already in the permanent resident (PR) queue and business travelers.

Recently re-iterated in an Operational Bulletin, CIC has specifically instructed that such visas should be issued for as long a validity period as possible.  Immigration guidelines states that the maximum validity period of a multiple entry visa is for the validity of an applicant’s passport, minus one month.  According to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada e-mail, embassies should issue multiple-entry visas up to the expiry of an applicant’s passport where appropriate, and even cites the example of the 10-year multiple entry visa as an appropriate example.

Indeed, the Operational Bulletin specifically notes that “the Department is moving towards the issuance of long term multiple-entry visas as the norm.”  It then goes on to add teeth to that statement, instructing that:

If an officer chooses to issue a long term multiple-entry visa for less than the full validity period of the passport (up to 10 years minus one month), the reasons are to be entered in the case notes.

Visa officers need to take note that issuance of a multiple-entry visa should now be considered to be the norm and any single-entry visa issuance needs explanation if a multiple-entry visa could have been issued (fee paid).

If the applicant requests a single-entry visa and the officer could have issued a multiple-entry visa, the visa office is instructed to send [a] letter in order to encourage applicants to apply for a multiple-entry visa rather than a single-entry visa for subsequent applications.

This is quite simply great news that benefits everyone involved.

It benefits applicants.  It benefits Canadian enterprises that conduct international business.  And it benefits staff at Canadian embassies.  Having just visited the Canadian embassy in Lima, Peru, I can only imagine that the staff there are overjoyed that they will be able to leave the office early and explore Miraflores rather than shift through another dozen repeat single-entry visa applicants.