Types Of Visas In Canada

Types Of Visas In Canada: Explained

Embarking on the Canadian dream and need to know about the possible visa options for Canada? Fret Not! We’ve got you covered!

Whether you’re planning to scale the Rocky Mountains, immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of cities like Toronto and Montreal, or simply seek new opportunities, navigating the maze of Canadian visas is your first adventure. This guide strips away the complexity, offering you a straightforward map to the types of visas Canada rolls out the welcome mat with.

Let’s dive in!

What Is A Canada Visa?

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A Canada visa is a stamp on your passport that allows you to enter Canada.

It is permission for you to travel to the country and legally be able to stay either temporarily or permanently. 

Getting a visa to Canada means that the Canadian Consulate or Embassy in your home country decides you are eligible and fulfill the requirements for entry. 

However, once you are at the Canadian border and customs, it is up to the officers at the border to evaluate whether you are fit to enter.

If you answer the Canadian Border Services Officer (BSO) questions honestly and correctly, they will allow you to enter. 

Otherwise, if they suspect you are not eligible to enter, they can deny you and ask you to return to your home country even if you have a Canada visa.

Who Needs A Canadian Visa?

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People from countries that do not have a visa exemption or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) agreement with Canada will need a visa to enter the country. 

More specifically, people from around 148 countries need a visa to visit, work, or immigrate to Canada.

If you are one of these applicants and you need a visa for Canada, you must apply for one. 

Depending on the type of visa you want, you will have a method of applying, but you must take a few general steps.

What Are The Canada Visa Types?

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Before applying for a Canadian visa, you must know which visa you want to apply for. Here are the types of Canada visas:

  • Visitor visas.
  • Student visas.
  • Work visas.
  • Permanent Residence visas.
  • Business Immigrant visas.
  • Express Entry Program visas.

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

Temporary Canada Visas

Temporary Canada visas allow the person to stay in Canada for a specific period, as determined by the Canadian Consulate or the Border Services Officers (BSO). 

This time is usually up to 6 months. However, the temporary visa can be a single-entry or multiple-entry visa.

A single entry visa allows the person to enter Canadaenter Canada only once, stay for 6 months, and then return to their home country. 

A multiple entry visa allows the person to enter Canada multiple times until their visa expires and stay temporarily.

Here are the types of Canadian Temporary Visas:

  • Canada Tourist Visa: The  Visitor Visa or the Tourist visa allows the holder to enter Canada for tourism.
  • Canada Super Visa: The Canadian Super Visa allows parents or grandparents of Canadian citizens or Canadian Permanent Residents to visit their children or grandchildren for an extended stay.
  • Diplomatic And Official Visa: The Diplomatic and Official visa permits officials and diplomats from foreign countries to enter Canada for official duties and purposes.
  • Courtesy Visa:The Courtesy visa is given to all those people who do not qualify for a Diplomatic and Official Visa, but it is necessary due to their ranks and positions. This includes, for example, members of trade missions or diplomats with touristic intent.
  • Canada Business Visa:The Business Visa is given to those traveling to Canada for business purposes as individuals or as a group of business people.
  • Visa To Give Birth In Canada: This visa is given to people who fulfill all the criteria to stay temporarily in Canada, are pregnant, and want to give birth there. Giving birth in Canada automatically makes the baby a Canadian citizen.
  • Intending Organ Donors Visa: This visa is given to a person traveling to Canada to donate an organ to a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Canada Facilitation Visa.: Facilitation Visas are given to Canadian citizens with dual nationalities who do not have a Canadian passport but have a passport of another nationality. The facilitation visa is stamped on the person’s other nationality visa due to the extreme hardships of getting a Canadian passport.
  • Canada Student Visa: A Canadian student visa is given to those admitted to a Canadian university to complete their studies. If you are going to Canada to study for less than 6 months, you can only get a TRV visa, but you will need a Student Visa for more than 6 months of studies.
  • Canada Temporary Work Visa: Canada temporary work visas are given to those with a job offer in Canada and will work for up to 6 months. To get this visa, the person must present a valid job offer letter from an employer and qualify for a temporary visa.
  • Temporary Residence Permit: This permit is for people who must go to Canada for different purposes but are otherwise not admissible for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). This permit is issued only for the length of time that the person needs to be in Canada, for example, 2 weeks for a workshop.
  • Working Holiday Visa: The Canada Working Holiday Visa is given to young people from 30 countries so they can work in Canada and travel. It is a random selection visa, which means that applicants will submit their applications and wait to be randomly selected to apply for the work permit.

Permanent Canada Visas

Permanent Canada visas allow the holder to settle in the country permanently. 

These are otherwise known as immigrant visas and can be of different types, as follows:

  • Immigrant Investor Program: The Immigrant Investor Program is for people who will make investments in the Canadian economy and have a net worth of at least CAD$800,000. They must invest at least CAD$400,000, and the Government will return this investment to them in 5 years without any interest.
  • Startup Visa Program: The Canada Startup Visa is for people who will individually contribute to the economy. They must have a net worth of at least CAD$300,000 and must commit to owning and managing at least one-third of a Canadian business. They should also create and maintain employment within 3 years of being in the country.
  • Self-employed Persons Visa: The Self-employed Persons visa is for people who have skills in business, athletics, culture, or farming and can start their own businesses. These people must demonstrate how they will finance the business and their skills in those areas.
  • Quebec-Selected Skilled Worker Program (QSWP): If you have one of the occupations required in the Canadian province of Quebec and are fluent in French, you can apply for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program. This will allow you to move and work permanently there.
  • Family-Sponsorship Program: The Family Sponsorship Visa allows the spouses and dependent children of Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents to immigrate to Canada permanently.
  • Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP): This visa is given to caregivers qualified to care for older people, disabled people, or children who live in private homes in Canada.

Express Entry Visas

The Canada Express Entry Program is an electronic immigration program designed by the Government of Canada. 

It allows people worldwide to apply for immigration to Canada based on their specific skills. The following are part of this program:

  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
  • Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP)
  • Canadian Experience Class

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) visa is given to people who are qualified tradespeople in occupations such as:

  • Carpenters
  • Aircraft Mechanics
  • Crane Operators
  • Heavy-duty Equipment Mechanics
  • Electricians
  • Machinists
  • Ironworkers
  • Welders
  • Plumbers, etc.

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

The visa under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is given to people in Canada who have the required professions. 

You must check what kind of occupations Canada needs when you plan to apply and obtain the necessary points.

Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP)

This visa under the Provincial Nominee Program is given to semi or low-skilled workers who can contribute to the Canadian economy through work. 

The workers are placed in different provinces of Canada where the demand for their work is higher.

Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class permanent visa is given to those with a temporary student visa or a temporary workers visa who want to switch to permanent resident status.

They either have a Canadian education or work experience and have settled into Canadian society.

How Does Canada Visa Application Work?

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The Canada visa application process depends mainly on the visa type you need to apply for.

To apply for a Canada visa, you need to go through these simple steps:

  • Find out if you are eligible for a Canada visa.
  • Create your online account.
  • Compile the document file.
  • Pay the fees.
  • Wait for the processing of your Canadian visa.
  • Submit your passport and processing fees.

Find Out If You Are Eligible For A Canada Visa

The Canadian Government has made finding out how to get a Canadian visa relatively easy. 

They have created different tests that evaluate the eligibility of applicants by asking them to fill out an online questionnaire. 

Depending on the type of visa you want, you will be asked to answer several questions, and the system will then let you know whether you can apply. 

It will also send you the relevant instructions and steps you must take to fulfill all the requirements.

Navigate Through The Canadian Government Website

To access these questionnaires and determine if you are eligible for a Canada visa, you must visit their website here. 

The website will show you different information and tabs to select, but you must go to the Immigration tab.

When you hover or click on the Immigration tab, it will show you a drop-down list of options. The first one will be My Application, and then there will be tabs for Visit, Immigrate, Work, Study, and others. 

You must select the one that corresponds with the visa you want to apply for. 

Continuing the example we showed above, if you want to get a tourist visa, you must click on the Visit tab.

You will see more information there after you click on the tab that matches the reason you want to visit Canada and the visa you want to apply for. 

Whichever tab you have clicked, one of the links will say, “Find out if you can apply” or “Find out if you are eligible”. You must click on this link.

The link will take you to the questionnaire, where you must answer several questions. They will include your personal information, reasons you want to visit Canada, and your travel history. 

The system will show you the results at the end of the questionnaire.

Receiving The Results

You will be able to see three different types of results, which say one of the following:

  • You are eligible for the visa you have selected.
  • You are eligible for a different type of visa that the system will match you with.
  • You are not eligible for the visa.

Suppose you are eligible for the visa you have selected or a different type of visa. In that case, the system will ask you to input your contact information (usually your email), and they will send you a set of documents.

The documents will contain a description of the visa and instructions and details about how to apply. Additionally, they will send you a reference code.

The reference code is one of the most critical pieces of information on that set of documents because you will have to use it to start your application. 

Without a reference code, you will not be able to apply. 

The reference code tells the system the information you gave during your questionnaire, and it will have the type of visa you are applying for.

Because of this, you must save the email and those documents. 

You can write the reference code in different ways, such as sending it to yourself, writing it on your computer, or a piece of paper, but you must keep it. 

If you do, you will have to start the questionnaire process again.

Create Your Online Account

The instructions by email will show you whether you must apply for a Canada visa online or in person. 

Since the Canadian Government digitizes its records, most people must apply online. To do that, you must create an account.

There are two ways to create an account for the application:

  • Using your online banking login since the Canadian Government has partnered with many banks;
  • Creating a Government of Canada login (GCKey);

You can use whichever fits you better since you must use your banking details to pay the visa fees.

Compile The Document File

You can start your Canada visa application once you log in to your account. Use your reference code to apply for the visa you have been deemed eligible. 

Once you enter the reference code, the system will show you a list of documents for your Canadian visa application. 

You must submit all of these forms online in the system and then proceed to apply.

Pay The Fees

Once the system has verified that you have submitted all the necessary documents, you will be taken to the payment page. 

You will have to pay the Canada visa fees depending on the type of visa you are applying for. When that is completed, your application will be submitted.

It will take around 5 workdays for you to see the application on your account, and if you apply in person, you will have to take those documents to the Canadian Embassy in your home country.

Wait For The Processing Of Your Canadian Visa

The Canadian Embassy will then process your Canada visa application for two or more weeks, depending on the type of visa. 

Additionally, they might ask for more documents or for you to submit your biometrics and have an interview.

If they ask for your biometrics and an interview, you must visit the Embassy in person, even if you applied online. 

You must make an appointment, or the Embassy will make one. 

At your appointment, you must submit your photographs and fingerprint and answer questions from a Canadian Embassy official.

The official will determine whether you are fit to get a Canadian visa or not. They can inform you of their decision immediately after your appointment or notify you later.

All Embassy notifications regarding your visa will be posted on your account, so you must check it continuously, even if you did not have to submit biometrics or go through an interview.

Submit Your Passport And Processing Fees

If you receive a notification that your Canada visa application was successful, the next step is to submit your passport to the Canadian Embassy. 

This can be done by mailing it to the address of the Embassy in your country, together with processing fees. 

The processing fees depend on the type of visa you are applying for and will range from $20 to $50, which you must pay by check or money order. 

You must also pay for a return envelope for your passport.

The Embassy officials will receive your passport and fees, stamp the visa on your passport, and mail it back to you. 

If you get notified of their decision immediately after the visa interview, you will have to pay the processing fees and get the passport immediately.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Visa To Canada?

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The Canada visa processing time varies for each specific case. It can take anywhere between two to four weeks or even longer.

Your Canadian visa begins to be processed only after the Canadian authorities have received your complete application.

The processing time will be delayed if they need you to get them additional documents.

What To Do When Your Canada Visa Application Succeeds?

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Once you have your visa, you can travel to Canada. At entry, you will be asked to show your passport and documents. 

The officials will check them and ask why you are going to Canada. After you answer, they will decide whether to let you inside the country. 

At the point of entry, the officials have the authority to allow you inside Canada if they believe you will commit crimes or respect your visa restrictions. 

A Canadian visa does not guarantee you will go to Canada; only the border officials are allowed to do that.

Can You Help Someone Come To Canada While Living There?

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If you have a family member or friend who is living abroad, and you want to bring them to visit Canada, you can write them a Letter of Invitation. 

The Letter of Invitation must include the following information About the person you are inviting:

  • Full name and date of birth
  • The reason they want to come to Canada
  • How long do they intend to stay in Canada, and when will they leave
  • Their contact information
  • The relationship you share
  • Where will they stay
  • How they will finance their trip

About you:

  • Your full name and date of birth
  • Your occupation
  • Your residential status in Canada (Canadian citizen or permanent resident)
  • Your family details – names and dates of birth of your immediate family members (spouse and dependents)
  • How many people live in your household

However, the Letter of Invitation does not guarantee that they will get a Canada visa. The visa will be processed on merit, but the letter may help.

If you want to sponsor a family member to join you in Canada permanently or long-term, you can do so through the Canada Family Sponsorship Program.

How Can You Extend Your Stay In Canada?

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If your Canada visitor visa is about to expire, and you want to stay longer, you have to apply for a visa extension. This is called a Canada Visitor Record.

You must apply for a visa extension for Canada (visitor record) at least 30 days before your visa expires.

Other than extending a tourist visa, you can also change your study or work permit to a Visitor Record. However, a visitor record is only available while you are inside Canada.

If you want to leave Canada and enter again, you will not be allowed entry with a visitor record.

What Happens If You Overstayed Your Canada Visa?

If you have stayed in Canada past the expiry of your visa, the next step depends on how long you have overstayed.

If you’ve overstayed for less than 90 days, you can restore your visitor status by applying for a Visitor Record and selecting “Restore my status as a visitor”.

If you’ve overstayed for longer than 90 days, you cannot apply to restore your status and have to leave Canada. You may not be able to get another Canada visa.

However, it would help if you tried not to overstay a Canada visa. If you need to stay longer than the duration of your visa, apply for a visa extension before it expires.

How Much Is A Canada Visa Fee?

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The Canada visa fee depends on the type of visa you are applying for. You must also pay different types of fees, such as a processing fee and a biometrics fee.

An average Visitor Visa fee, however, is $CAN100.

What If Your Canada Visa Is Rejected?

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If your Canada visa application is rejected, you can re-apply again at any time, provided that your rejection letter does not forbid you from re-applying.

However, you can re-apply only if your situation has changed or you have additional information that may help you get a Canada visa approval.

As for appeals, there is no formal process to appeal a Canada tourist visa decision. 

Appeals are only available for refugee and permanent residency applications. They are processed by the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD).

Will You Get A Refund If Your Canada Visa Application Is Rejected?

Canada visa fees are non-refundable, even if your application is rejected. That’s because you’re paying a fee for processing the visa application, not for the visa itself.

However, in some cases, you may get a refund if you withdraw your application before it starts to process. After it has started to process, you will not get a refund.

Additionally, if your application is you may receive a refund for the following:

  • The fee for the Right of Permanent Residence
  • The fee for the Right of Citizenship
  • The fee for an Open Work Permit
  • The fee for International Experience Canada (IEC)
  • The fee for Employer Compliance

However, you can still request a refund for your fees through the Government of Canada: Immigration and Citizenship website.

Can You Apply For A Canada Visa From Another Country?

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Sometimes, there is no Canadian embassy or Visa Application Center in your country of residence. In this case, you may have to travel to another country to apply for a Canada visa.

However, you must only apply for a visa at the Canadian Embassy or VAC responsible for your jurisdiction (i.e., for the country you are a legal resident of).

Additionally, if you are from Country A and have a residence permit for Country B, you can apply for a Canadian visa from Country B.

However, suppose you are visiting Country B and do not have legal residency there. In that case, you must apply at the Canadian Embassy or Visa Application Center responsible for your jurisdiction, in your own country or otherwise.

You can give your biometrics at a Canadian Visa Application Centre. 

The Canadian Embassy will send you a letter informing you when to give your biometrics. 

You must pay the biometrics fee to receive the letter when you submit your Canada visa application.

There are Visa Application Centers worldwide where you can submit your biometrics. Visit the website of the one nearest you to learn about the fees and services they offer.


Congratulations, you’ve just taken a scenic route through the diverse visa landscape of Canada! With this knowledge, the path to pursuing your Canadian dreams—be it exploring untamed wilderness or contributing to the country’s booming industries—feels less like decoding the enigma of poutine and more like a friendly nod from a Mountie.

Remember, choosing the right visa is your key to unlocking all the treasures Canada has to offer. So, gear up, future Canucks, your adventure is just beginning.

Canada Awaits!

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