FIFA World Cup 2018 in Canada? A Visa and Immigration Perspective

The FIFA World Cup is probably the most popular sports event in the world. More than 3 billion people watched the last World Cup and many more could watch it 2018 which will take place in Russia. A total of 32 national soccer (football) teams take part in the 2018 games. This simply means thousands of athletes, coaches, and other team personnel such as doctors, massage therapists, psychologists, and coordinators will enter Russia from all over the world. Also millions of tourists will pour into the country to watch the games in person. What if the location of the games was in Canada? How could all those people enter Canada?

All foreign nationals who enter Canada or intend to work in our country need special permissions. The following list briefly lists potential necessary permissions for foreign nationals who may come to Canada for special events such as the imaginary Canada FIFA World Cup.

  • Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) – If a visitor is not exempt from a visitor’s visa for traveling to Canada they need a TRV to enter Canada and watch the games. Some of the athletes or coaches may also need such visas.
  • Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) – If a visitor is from a visa exempt country, they may still need to get an eTA to be able to fly over to Canada. Simply put, eTA is a security measure for visa exempt people. Some of the athletes or coaches may also need eTA before traveling to Canada.
  • Entering Canada without a visa or eTA – American citizens are exempt from visas or eTA for visiting Canada. There are some other people who also may enter Canada without a visa or eTA (e.g. the British Royal Family and visa exempt nationals who enter Canada by sea or land)
  • Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) – Some foreign nationals could be inadmissible to Canada due to criminality. These people may apply for a TRP to be able to visit Canada.
  • Work Permit – Certain individuals may need a work permit to be able to be present in Canada and work before or during the games. An example, is a construction worker who helps building the stadiums for the games.

Special Measures by the Minister

When an event as significant as FIFA World Cup happens in Canada, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (IRCC) issues special instructions to make sure foreign nationals can easily enter or work in Canada without jeopardizing the security of our country or the stability of our labour market. For example, the special guidelines for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games included several exemptions.

The 2018 Participating Teams

The following list shows, if FIFA World Cup 2018 was taking place in Canada, what kind of documents most of visitors or team members need from each country who participates in the game.

  • eTA – Australia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil (partially), Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
  • TRV – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Costa Rica, Panama, Argentina, Brazil (partially), Colombia, Peru, Uruguay, Russia, Serbia

The preceding list does not apply to everyone, but covers most of them.

Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadia Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting

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“This article provides information of a general nature only. It may no longer be current. It does not provide legal advice nor should it be relied upon. If you have specific legal questions you should consult a lawyer. If you are looking for official immigration advice contact us.”


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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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