Canada is a popular destination for tourists, students, workers, and immigrants from all over the world. However, before you pack your bags and book your flight, there are some important things you need to know about the Canadian visitor visa and the options for extending your stay or becoming a permanent resident.
What is a Canadian visitor visa?
A Canadian visitor visa, also known as a temporary resident visa (TRV), is an official document that is stamped on your passport and shows that you meet the requirements to enter Canada as a visitor. You may need a visitor visa if you are from a visa-required country or if you are travelling to Canada for a specific purpose, such as business, transit, or medical treatment.
A visitor visa allows you to stay in Canada for up to six months from the date of entry, unless the border officer specifies a different duration on your passport. You can visit Canada for tourism, family, or friends, but you cannot work or study without a valid work permit or study permit.
How to apply for a Canadian visitor visa?
To apply for a Canadian visitor visa, you need to follow these steps:
- Check your eligibility: You must have a valid travel document (such as a passport), be in good health, have no criminal or immigration-related convictions, convince an immigration officer that you have ties to your home country (such as a job, home, family, or assets) that will make you leave Canada at the end of your visit, and have enough money to support yourself during your stay. You may also need a medical exam and a letter of invitation from someone who lives in Canada.
- Choose your application method: You can apply online or on paper, depending on your situation. Applying online is faster and easier, but you need a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents and a valid credit or debit card to pay the fees. Applying on paper requires you to download and fill out the application forms, gather the supporting documents, and pay the fees at a bank or online. You also need to submit your biometrics (fingerprints and photo) at a designated service point.
- Submit your application: You need to send your completed application and supporting documents to the appropriate visa office or visa application centre (VAC) in your country or region. You can check the processing times and the status of your application online or through the VAC.
- Prepare for your arrival: If your application is approved, you will receive a letter of introduction and a visitor visa (if applicable) in your passport. You need to bring these documents with you when you travel to Canada. You also need to have a valid electronic travel authorization (eTA) if you are from a visa-exempt country and you are flying to Canada. The eTA is linked to your passport and is valid for five years or until your passport expires. You can apply for an eTA online for a fee of $7 CAD.
How to extend your stay as a visitor in Canada?
If you want to stay longer than six months in Canada as a visitor, you need to apply for a visitor record. A visitor record is a document that allows you to extend your stay in Canada as a visitor, a worker authorized to work without a work permit, or a student authorized to study without a study permit. It also gives you a new expiry date that you must leave Canada by.
To apply for a visitor record, you need to follow these steps:
- Check your eligibility: You must apply for a visitor record before your current status expires. You can check the expiry date on your passport, visitor visa, or eTA. You must also meet the same eligibility requirements as for a visitor visa, such as having a valid reason to stay longer, having enough funds, and having no criminal or immigration-related issues.
- Choose your application method: You can apply online or on paper, depending on your situation. Applying online is faster and more convenient, but you need a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents and a valid credit or debit card to pay the fees. Applying on paper requires you to download and fill out the application forms, gather the supporting documents, and pay the fees at a bank or online. You also need to submit your biometrics (if you have not done so in the past 10 years) at a designated service point.
- Submit your application: You need to send your completed application and supporting documents to the appropriate address or VAC in Canada. You can check the processing times and the status of your application online or through the VAC.
- Prepare for your departure: If your application is approved, you will receive a visitor record with a new expiry date. You need to keep this document with you and leave Canada by the new date. If you plan to travel outside Canada or the US, you need a valid entry document, such as a visitor visa or an eTA, to return to Canada.
How to become a permanent resident in Canada?
Becoming a permanent resident in Canada is not easy, but it is possible. Permanent residents have the right to live, work, and study in Canada indefinitely, as well as access social benefits and health care. They also have the opportunity to apply for Canadian citizenship after meeting certain criteria.
There are many immigration programs that can lead to permanent residency in Canada, such as:
- Express Entry: This is a system that manages applications for skilled workers who want to immigrate to Canada. It involves creating an online profile, submitting an application, and receiving an invitation to apply (ITA) based on a ranking system that considers factors such as age, education, work experience, language ability, and adaptability. Express Entry applicants must also meet the eligibility requirements of one of the three federal economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, or the Canadian Experience Class.
- Provincial Nominee Program (PNP): This is a program that allows provinces and territories to nominate candidates who have the skills, education, and work experience to contribute to their economy and society. Each province and territory has its own PNP streams and criteria, and some of them are aligned with Express Entry. PNP applicants must also meet the federal eligibility requirements for permanent residency, such as medical and security checks.
- Family Sponsorship: This is a program that allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their eligible relatives to come to Canada as permanent residents. The sponsor must meet certain income and other requirements, and the sponsored person must also meet the federal eligibility requirements for permanent residency. The family sponsorship program includes spouses, partners, children, parents, grandparents, and other relatives.
- Business Immigration: This is a program that attracts entrepreneurs, investors, and self-employed people who want to start a business, invest, or create employment in Canada. There are different categories and criteria for business immigration, such as the Start-up Visa Program, the Self-Employed Persons Program, and the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program. Business immigrants must also meet the federal eligibility requirements for permanent residency.
To apply for permanent residency in Canada, you need to follow these general steps:
- Evaluate your eligibility: You must choose an immigration program that suits your situation and goals, and check if you meet the eligibility requirements for that program. You can use online tools, such as the Come to Canada tool, to help you find out which programs you may qualify for.
- Choose your immigration program: You must select the immigration program that you want to apply for and follow the specific instructions for that program. For example, if you apply through Express Entry, you need to create an online profile and submit an application. If you apply through a PNP, you need to apply to the province or territory first and then to the federal government. If you apply through family sponsorship, you need to have a sponsor who can support your application.
- Gather essential documents: You must prepare and submit the required documents for your immigration program, such as identity documents, education certificates, work references, language test results, police certificates, medical exams, and proof of funds. You may also need to submit additional documents, such as a business plan, a letter of invitation, or a nomination certificate, depending on your program.
- Undergo language testing: You must prove your ability in English or French, or both, by taking a standardized language test and submitting the results with your application. The language test must be approved by the Canadian government, such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Test d’évaluation de français (TEF). The minimum language level required depends on your immigration program and the language you choose.
- Apply online or through paper: You must submit your application and supporting documents online or on paper, depending on your immigration program and your situation. You also need to pay the application fees, which vary by program and category. You can check the processing times and the status of your application online or through the VAC.
- Pay your fees: You must pay the application fees, which vary by program and category. You can pay online or at a bank or online, depending on your method of application. The fees include the processing fee, the right of permanent residence fee, the biometrics fee, and the third-party fees (such as language tests, medical exams, and police certificates).
- Await an Invitation to Apply (ITA): If you apply through Express Entry or a PNP stream that is aligned with Express Entry, you need to wait for an ITA from the Canadian government. An ITA is a document that confirms that you have been selected to apply for permanent residency. You will receive an ITA based on your ranking score and the number of invitations issued in each draw. You have 60 days to submit your complete application after receiving an ITA.
- Health and security assessment: You must undergo a medical exam and a security check as part of your application for permanent residency. The medical exam must be done by a panel physician approved by the Canadian government, and the security check involves verifying your criminal record and your background. The medical exam and the security check are valid for one year from the date of completion. You need to submit the results of your medical exam and your police certificates with your application.
- Confirm your landing: If your application is approved, you will receive a confirmation of permanent residence (COPR) and a permanent resident visa (if applicable) in your passport. You need to bring these documents with you when you travel to Canada. You also need to have a valid eTA if you are from a visa-exempt country and you are flying to Canada. The eTA is linked to your passport and is valid for five years or until your passport expires. You can apply for an eTA online for a fee of $7 CAD.
- Complete your landing: You must complete your landing in Canada before your COPR and your permanent resident visa expire. You need to present your documents to a border officer at a port of entry, such as an airport, a land border, or a seaport. The border officer will verify your identity and your documents, and ask you some questions to confirm your eligibility and your intention to settle in Canada. If everything is in order, the border officer will authorize your entry and confirm your permanent resident status. You will also receive your permanent resident card (PR card) by mail within a few weeks.
Moving to Canada with a visitor visa can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it also comes with some challenges and risks. You need to be aware of the rules and regulations that apply to your situation, and the options and opportunities that are available to you. You also need to plan ahead and prepare well for your journey and your settlement. By reading this article, you have learned some important information and tips that can help you avoid the regrets and make the most of your Canadian adventure. We hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us.