Visa Types

Whether you are going to Canada to visit, to live or even work you will be required to have the correct visa to get into the country.

Tourist (Visitors) Visa

Expats visiting Canada for six months or less from Australia, United Kingdom, United States, New Zealand and other European countries will not be required to have a visa.
If you are not from any of these countries you must apply for a temporary visa before you are allowed entry into Canada. Individuals wanting to stay longer than the amount of time should have been authorised and they will need to apply for an extension visa 30 days before the authorised visa expires.

There are two types of temporary visas:

  • Single Entry Visa – This visa allows expats to come to Canada only once. After you leave Canada you will need a new visa to re-visit
  • Multiple Entry Visa – This visa will allow visitors to come and go from Canada for six months at a time. Expats will not need to re-apply and this is valid for 10 years or one month before your passport is due to expire. Individuals must arrive in Canada on or before the expiry date on the visa
  • Note: Both of these visas are for a fixed period and cannot be used after they have expired.

A temporary resident visa should be applied for six weeks before leaving to go to the country. Applications are usually made at a Canadian embassy or consulate in your home country.

Work Permit

A temporary work permit is given to individuals who are coming to the country to complete a job that a Canadian citizen is unable to do due to their lack of experience and skills. These will expire after a certain amount of time.
When applying for a work permit it must be done in advance in your own home country and expats must have a job offer confirmed in the country. Employers will also need to prove that the job cannot be done by a local employee or show that no one is available with the certain types of skills that are required for the position.

To prove this, employers will need to get a confirmation from the HRSDC department called ‘Positive Labour Market Opinion’. This will need to show information that the employer of the company has advertised the job position in Canada for 90 days or more. After the visa application has been received applicants may need to have an official interview where they will be required to show certificates and may need to undertake a medical exam.

Expats who are planning on working in Canada for four years or more will need to get permanent residency.

There are two types of work permit:

  • Open Permit: This allows you to work for any employer in Canada
  • Employer Specific Permit: You are only allowed to work for the employer which is featured on your permit for the length of the time that is stated

The application process could take one – three months for it to be approved.
Permanent Resident Visas

Expats who want to immigrate to Canada on a permanent basis should do so legally and should have a permanent residence visa.

Permanent resident status is given to citizens of other countries and will be given this by immigrating to Canada.

To apply for permanent residency you can do this through Canada’s federal program or through a provincial program, if this is the case the province will need to nominate the individual to have permanent residency.

There are also different types of permits

  • Skilled workers and professionals: This permit is valid for individuals who wish to settle and work in Canada and also to qualify to be an advantage to the economy
  • Canadian experience class: Permit can be applied for if you have Canadian work experience
  • Investors, entrepreneurs and self employed class: Permit for individuals who want to start a business in the country
  • Provincial Nominees: Individuals who have the skills needed in their province and if they wish to settle in Canada
  • Family Visa: Individuals joining a spouse or family member

Once you have become a permanent resident you will be required to have a Permanent Resident card, this is proof you are a resident of the country. If at some point you leave the country, you will need to show the PR card to re-enter the country to prove your status. If you do not have a PR card, you must obtain a permanent resident travel document before returning into Canada.

As a permanent resident you have the right to:

  • Live, work or study in Canada
  • Get most of the social benefits including health care coverage
  • Apply for citizenship in Canada
  • Have protection under the Canadian law

As a permanent resident you cannot:

  • Vote or run for political office
  • Hold a job which needs high level security clearance

Permanent residents are able to live outside of the country, but must live in Canada for 2 years or more within a five year period. You may lose your residency status if you live outside of the country for a longer period of time.

Other ways of losing your permanent residency status:

  • Not living in Canada for 2 out of 5 years
  • You become a citizen of the country
  • If you have been convicted of a serious crime

Electronic Travel Authorisation

An ETA is a travel document which is required from individuals from specific countries along with their passport to enter Canada.
This authorisation is valid until your passport expires or for five years, and will be linked electronically to your passport.

An ETA is not expensive and can be applied for online easily. Individuals will be required to submit an online form and pay a fee before getting authorisation.

Young Workers Program

Young workers who are under the age of 35 are able to apply for a working holiday visa which will allow them to get some work experience in Canada.

The government has made agreements with specific countries to assist in work permits which are valid for 12 months. Expats, who want to get work experience, will need to apply for this visa well in advance.

Becoming a Canadian Citizen

To apply for Canadian citizenship, you will need to be able to meet the requirements.
You must be:

  • Over 18 years old
  • Able to show proof that you can speak English or French
  • A permanent resident
  • Lived in Canada as a permanent resident for 4 years out of 6 years
  • Must be in Canada for 183 days minimum
  • Able to apply for citizenship within Canada

You will then need to fill out the application form accurately and correctly providing all the required information. Individuals must ensure that the application has been signed, the correct fee is sent, certified photos have been attached and all the support documents have been attached when sending the application.
After the citizenship form has been submitted, you may be asked to fill out a residence questionnaire; this will help determine if you have lived in the country for four out of six years. Again you will need to show travel documents, bills, school records, leases and work history.

It can then take at least 12 months to process a citizenship application. Expats must ensure that they have a good knowledge of the country including politics and history as people applying for citizenship may be required to take a citizenship test.