How to apply for a visa to Canada?

To apply for a visa to Canada, you can start from this page on immigration and citizenship of the government of Canada.

Americans, Mexicans, and people from most high-income countries do not require a visa to visit Canada. Everyone else will need a tourist visa to enter Canada.

Most foreigners, who want to work or study in Canada, will need to apply for a work visa or a study visa. You can do it almost all online. You need to give your biometrics in person. Biometrics are mainly your photographs and fingerprints.

You can apply for a work visa in Canada without having a job first.

All websites linked in this article are in French or English. Some pages are also in other languages. If you need, use Google Translate to screenshot and translate each page.

How to apply for a visa to Canada?

You can apply for a visa to Canada at the immigration and citizenship portal of the government of Canada. You can find the type of visa you need on that page. You can do almost everything online. Depending on your nationality and visa type, you might need to visit your closest Canadian consulate to give your biometrics. That is your photographs and fingerprints.

What are the visa types in Canada?

Canada has different immigration programs that can match with what you want. I will give a primary highlight of the visa application process for some visa types. So to make it easier for you to prepare all your documents correctly. Below are some of the visa types in Canada:

  • visitor visas,
  • student visas,
  • work visas,
  • permanent residence visas.

You can pick the one that fits why you want to go to Canada.

How to get a tourist visa for Canada?

Americans, Mexicans, and people from most high-income countries do not require a visa to visit Canada. Most people must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), which you can get online.

First, you want to find out if you need a visa to travel to Canada. You can see that on this page of the Government of Canada.

You can get a tourist visa when you can show that:

  • you can support yourself throughout your stay and
  • you have strong reasons to leave Canada at the end of your visa.

The first time you apply for a visa to Canada, you must submit your biometrics, which includes pictures and fingerprints, to your local Canadian consulate.

If you need a tourist visa for Canada, you can start here.

Read more on how to get a tourist visa for Canada.

How to get a work visa for Canada?

You can get a work visa for Canada in three ways.

  • Find work in Canada. Then your boss will do the work visa or work permit for you.
  • Find a recruitment agency close to you that can help you to find work in Canada.
  • Apply to a Canadian employment scheme. Sometimes you can get a visa without a job first.

If you need a work visa for Canada, you can start here.

Read more on how to get a work visa to Canada.

How to get a student visa for Canada?

First, you need to find a university or a learning institution that will enroll you. After, you’ll need to receive a Canadian study permit, which acts as a Canadian student visa for your stay. If you have a Canadian research license or want to resume your studies, you can apply to renew it from within Canada.

If you need a work visa for Canada, you can start here.

Read more on how to get a student visa to Canada.

How to get permanent residency in Canada?

To get permanent residency in Canada, you need to demonstrate that your work experience and education can benefit the place where you want to live in Canada.

You can also ask to reunite with a member of your family.

And you can also demonstrate that you could start or continue a successful business in Canada.

You don’t need to find a job first to apply for permanent residency.

Start with this Canadian government tool to assess your options and understand how to start your application.

After getting the permanent resident (PR) status, you will get a PR card. You will show your PR card while traveling back to Canada along with your passport.

The permanent resident status also gives you various rights like:

  • You are entitled to most of the social benefits that Canadian citizens have.
  • Health coverage
  • Live, study, or work anywhere in Canada.
  • Also, after getting permanent residency, you want to pay all the taxes and follow all Canadian Laws. 

Although there are certain things that permanent residents cannot do:

  • They do not have the right to vote or cannot stand for political office.
  • They cannot have some jobs that need a high level of security clearance.

If you want permanent residency in Canada, you can start here.

Read more on how to get permanent residency in Canada.


Sources: Immigration and Citizenship of the Government of Canada

The cover image is somewhere in Montreal, Canada. Photo by Martin Reisch on Unsplash