Visas for Canada
Understanding the fundamentals
Are you moving abroad?
Visit visas for Canada
While visitors from a number of countries may enter Canada without a visa, expats from a designated list of countries will need to apply for a visit visa before their trip.
There is no separate visa for visiting Canada for business purposes. Depending on the nationality of the applicant, they may be able to enter with only a valid passport or they may need to apply for a visit visa.
Those applying for a visit visa for Canada should do so from their home country in advance of their departure date. Applications can be completed online or at a Canadian embassy or consulate in an expat’s home country.
Permanent residence visas for Canada
Expats wanting to live in Canada permanently must obtain a permanent residence visa. It’s possible to apply for permanent residency through Canada’s federal programme or through one of the country’s provincial programmes – in which case a particular province will need to nominate the applicant.
In contrast to Canada’s temporary residence visa application process, the permanent residence application process is more complicated, time-consuming and can be somewhat frustrating.
The first step is to decide under which category an expat should apply. There are different permits for highly skilled workers, those reuniting with their family, and those who have recently graduated from a Canadian institution or have recent Canadian work experience.
Work permits for Canada
To legally work in Canada, foreign nationals will need a work permit.
The requirements to obtain a work permit for Canada are strict and permits are usually granted to individuals coming to Canada to complete a specific job that can help a Canadian employer satisfy a skills shortage.
Expats need a job offer from a Canadian employer to be eligible for a work permit. The employer must go through several checks in the form of a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) as proof that the position can’t be filled by a local worker.
If successful, the employer will receive a LMIA number, which is used in the work permit application. Supplementary information and documents are also required and must be provided by the applicant.