Apply now! Here are all the basics you need to know about Canada visa requirements and eligibility, including the things you’ll need to make your application successful! Passport holders from certain countries require a visa to enter Canada, while some citizens can come in without one – but only if they plan on staying less than 30 days or are otherwise exempt. If you’re looking to live, work, study, or even just visit Canada long-term, it’s important to fully understand all of the visa requirements and what it takes to meet them before applying!
Main Stages of Canadian Immigration
Moving permanently or temporarily to Canada is easier than you think, but there are several steps you’ll need to take in order to meet your specific goals. If you want permanent residency, or if you want a temporary work permit or visa, there are certain things that must be considered. The Canadian government has five main stages of immigration: preliminary review, federal skilled worker program (FSWP), provincial nomination programs (PNPs), investor immigrant programs (IIP), and entrepreneur immigrant programs (EIP). We break down each stage for our readers so they can have a better understanding of where they’re headed when it comes time for them to make their move.
Points-Based System (PBS)
Canada’s immigration system has two paths. Applicants can apply based on their skills, education, or work experience in Canada; they must demonstrate that they have at least one year of continuous full-time (or equivalent part-time) work experience. This is known as a Permanent Resident visa—one which makes it easier for individuals to obtain Canadian citizenship later on. But most applicants choose a pathway based on family ties; if you’re trying to move to Canada with your spouse or dependent children, for example, you might need proof of their relationship and financial support. If you fall into one of these categories, applying through PBS could be your best bet.
How many points are needed for a Canada visa?
The Canada visa requirements are listed on each of our pages for every visa type. To qualify for most of these visas, you must obtain a certain number of points based on your education, work experience, age, and proficiency in English or French. The vast majority of applicants fall into one of two categories: 1) those who require at least 75 points; or 2) those who require 90 points. In order to qualify under points-based criteria, you will need at least 75 out of a possible 100 points based on education, work experience, age, language skills, and personal characteristics. If you have fewer than 75 but more than 25 points, there may be other ways to qualify such as through a Canadian employer’s nomination program.
What are the eligibility criteria?
In order to be eligible for Canada’s immigration program, individuals must be at least 18 years of age, have a clean criminal record with no recent or outstanding convictions, and have completed high school education or equivalent. There are special circumstances wherein applicants without a high school education can still qualify for immigration; they would need to prove that they have skills and training in fields where Canada has workforce shortages. High-skilled workers, as well as international students studying in Canada, may also qualify for immigration under certain conditions. Work experience is essential for all these categories. Another important requirement is that an applicant must be able to support him/herself (and any dependents) financially.
Do I qualify for a temporary or permanent residence permit?
If you’re eligible for a work permit, there are three types of temporary residence permits: short-term (under 6 months), long-term (6+ months), or permanent. The type you can apply for depends on several factors, such as whether or not you have a job offer in Canada. If you don’t have a job offer, your only option is a short-term permit that doesn’t require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). However, if you do have an employer, they’ll need to submit an LMIA application with supporting documents in order for your work permit application to be processed quickly. To learn more about how LMIA works and if it applies to your situation visit our Labor Market Impact Assessment page here.
When do I need to apply for a visa?
If you’re planning on traveling to Canada as a tourist, you can enter Canada with proof of citizenship or permanent residence in your country. If you’re planning on living in Canada (or visiting for longer than six months), you’ll need to apply for a temporary resident visa prior to entering. Once you arrive in Canada, your visa is valid for up to five years—but it will only be valid while you remain in good standing. For example, if your work permit expires or employment is terminated before your visa expires, it will also expire automatically. As long as you follow these requirements, however, getting a temporary residency visa should be relatively easy; much easier than applying for asylum. To do so
Where should I apply from?
Before you can determine where you should apply for a Canada visa, you need to make sure you meet all of Canada’s requirements. Only then will it be possible to decide which application method is right for your situation. There are three main requirements—proving status in your home country, meeting Canada’s health requirements, and having enough money in your bank account. It’s these factors that make it most advantageous for some people to apply from certain countries. (i.e.) A Canadian passport holder living abroad would probably apply from their current location as opposed to returning home or trying to get a visa while on holiday elsewhere.
What if my application is denied?
If your application is denied, you should be able to find out why on Form I-192, along with instructions for reapplying. If you are told that your denial was because of a failure to meet eligibility criteria—such as insufficient time remaining in your temporary visa status—you may request an advisory opinion from USCIS’s Advisory Opinions Division. An advisory opinion will cost $545 (as of December 2014), but will tell you whether or not you qualify for another type of relief that would allow you a second chance at an employment-based green card application. Check with a local immigration attorney if you need further information.