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Passport And Visa For Canada

There are a range of visa options depending on the purpose and timing of your planned stay in Canada.  There are visas that give the right to temporary residence and those that allow you permanent residence.

If you are entering Canada by air from most countries you will need an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA), but if you are entering by land or by boat you will simply need a valid passport.  You can check whether you need an eTA on the Government of Canada website.

If you want to extend your stay in Canada, you must apply to do so before the expiry of your temporary resident status. You should apply 30 days before your status expires to:

  • extend your visitor, student or work status,
  • change your permit type (for example, from a study permit to a work permit) or
  • change your permit condition(s) (for example, if you are studying and you want to change schools, or if you are working and you want to change jobs).

Find out how to extend your stay as a visitor.

If you want to work temporarily in Canada, study or emigrate permanently to Canada you can  check your eligibility on the Citizenship and Immigration site.  You can also contact your nearest Canadian embassy or consulate for specific details.


Permanent Residence

If you plan to immigrate to Canada there are a number of options depending on whether you plan to work, set up a business or join family in Canada.

Skilled workers

There are a number of options for people with professional and other skills to apply to immigrate to Canada:

  • Express entryThe express entry system is used to manage the Federal Skilled Worker program, the Federal Skilled Trades program and the Canadian Experience Class.People who meet the criteria for one of these programs will be placed into a pool of candidates and Canadian government, provincial and territorial governments, and Canadian employers are then able to select candidates from this pool.  Employers have to try to find a Canadian or permanent resident to fill any vacant job opportunities before they are able to consider candidates from the pool.

    Before you fill out your profile, find out if you’re eligible under a federal program that is part of Express Entry. You need to take a language test and get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) find out if your work experience is valid. You also need to check the National Occupational Classification (NOC) to learn the skill type of your current work experience and of the job you plan to have in Canada (if they’re different)

    You need to use the Come to Canada online tool to see if you’re eligible for Express Entry. This gives you a reference number which moves your information from the tool to your Express Entry profile.

    You then need to complete your Entry Profile giving details about yourself, including your education, work experience and any dependents travelling with you.

  • Provincial nomineesEach province can nominate the skills, education and work experience required to contribute to the economy of that province and each has its own streams and criteria.
  • Atlantic immigration pilotThis scheme helps employers in the Atlantic region hire job candidates who aren’t Canadian citizens or permanent residents to fill jobs employers have had trouble filling locally.  If the employer and candidate fulfil the requirements they qualify for permanent residence.
  • Quebec-selected workersQuebec has its own rules for selecting those who will adapt to working there


Start up visa

Canada’s Start-up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that are innovative, can create jobs  and can compete on a global scale.

Before you apply you need to show that you are eligible for the Start-up Visa Program.  The idea must be supported by one of the designated organizations, which are a series of approved venture capital firms.

The ownership requirements mean that up to five people can apply for the Start-up Visa Program as owners of a single business. However, each applicant must hold at least 10 percent of the voting rights in the business and the designated organization and the applicants must jointly hold more than 50 per cent of the voting rights in the business.

You also need to meet the language requirements and have enough money to settle in Canada.

To apply you need to get the application package, which includes a guide and all the forms you need to fill out to apply to the program, pay the application fees and submit the application.


Family sponsorship

Canadian citizens and permanent residents (plus Canadian Indians) over 18 can sponsor certain relatives to go to Canada provided you can support them financially.  You can find more detail following these links:

  • Spouse, sponsor or dependent children.Spouse includes common-law partner who can be of either sex and have lived together for at least 12 months and conjugal partners, who have a binding relationship but have not been able to live together for 12 months.  If your spouse or partner needs to work while waiting for the application to be processed, you may be able to apply for an open work permit.
  • Parents or grandparentsIf you sponsor your parents and grandparents to come to Canada as a permanent resident, you must:
    • support them financially for 20 years
    • make sure they don’t need social assistance from the government
    • provide for your own essential needs and those of your parents and grandparents and their dependants
  • Orphaned or other relativesYou can sponsor an orphaned relative if they are under 18 without a spouse, conjugal or common-law partner.  They must be related to you by blood or adoption, (eg. sibling, nephews or nieces or grandchildren).

    You can sponsor one relative related by blood or adoption if you do not have any other relative you can sponsor under the other categories.


Temporary Residence

Working in Canada

If you are visiting Canada for business purposes but will not be taking a job in Canada, you do not need a work permit.

Canada uses the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system to classify jobs (occupations). Jobs are grouped based on the type of job duties and work a person does.

You will need a work permit before taking up a job in Canada, unless the role will only involve working for 15 consecutive days once every six months or 30 consecutive days once every year and under the NOC is a managerial role (Skill Type O) or is a professional job that normally requires a degree (Skill Level A).

There are a number of factors that will determine whether you are eligible for a work permit.  You will need to demonstrate that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires, show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home, have no criminal record (you may be asked to give a police clearance certificate), be in good health (a medical exam may be needed) and work for an eligible employer.

There are two types of work permit in Canada:

  • Open work permit – allows you to work for any eligible employer
  • Employer-specific work permit – specifies the employer, location and duration of your work permit.


Study in Canada

If you plan to study in Canada you will need to obtain a study permit, which allows foreign nationals to study at designated learning institutions (DLI) in Canada.  Permits are normally issued for the planned period of study plus 90 days.

You can work part-time on-campus if you are registered as a full-time student at a college or university.