Thousands of people travel to Canada every year, and because there are multiple ways to legally enter Canada, you too stand a chance to work, study, visit, obtain permanent residency, and even Canadian citizenship, provided you meet the eligibility requirements of the immigration program you apply under.

If you are from a country that doesn’t have a visa-free travel arrangement or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) agreement with Canada, you are definitely going to require a visa in order to be allowed to enter Canada.

But before you go ahead with your plans to visit or move to Canada, first assess your eligibility. Even though each visa program has its own set of requirements, things like a poor criminal record, misrepresentation, and human rights violations, just to name but a few could easily lock you out of the program, regardless of the country you are from.

In this guide, we will discuss the available Canada visa types just so that you can have an idea of what they are about and whether the program could be right for you.

To begin, let’s look at the existing categories.

Visa Categories

Generally, the different types of visas for Canada fall into two categories:

  1. Temporary
  2. Permanent

Temporary Visas

Temporary visas are the kind that let the holder stay in Canada but only for a limited period of time, usually up to six months, and for purposes of studying, working, tourism, or a family visit. It can be a single or multi-entry visa.

One good and common example is the International Experience Canada (IEC). Here’s a brief overview of the program.

International Experience Canada (IEC)

IEC is a Canadian immigration program designed to allow people aged between 18 and 35 years from around the world an opportunity to travel and work in Canada. Currently, the number of countries participating in this program is well over 30.

Depending on your country of origin, there are up to three categories of visas offered under this option include:

  1. Work Holiday
  2. Young professionals
  3. International Co-op Internship

In addition to meeting common requirements, like having a valid passport, being a citizen of the participating countries, and possessing at least CAN $ 2,500 to cover your initial expenses, the rest of the essentials will vary based on your country of residence and visa category. Therefore, before you apply, understand what each category is about, then determine your eligibility.

Other examples of temporary visas outside this program include:

Permanent Visas

Permanent visas, on the other hand, permit the holder to obtain permanent residency and even acquire Canadian citizenship. Like temporary visas, they come in different forms as follows:

I. Express Entry for Skilled Workers

Express Entry (EE) is a selection system recently introduced by Canadian immigration to help in the management of visa applications by individuals who wish to obtain permanent residency in Canada as skilled workers.

Visa programs that fall under this category include:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Class
  • Federal Skilled Trades Class
  • Canadian Experience Class
  • A section of the Provincial Nominee Program

Once you’ve determined your eligibility for either of the programs and you have your documents ready, go ahead and create an EE profile, fill in the required details, and then submit it.

If you are eligible, you’ll be accepted into a pool of candidates where you’ll be given a score based on the information in your profile. Those with high scores get an Invitation to apply for PR, which will be processed within six months.

II. Start-up Visa Program

Under this program, any individual who plans to start a business, create jobs, or support innovative entrepreneurs has an opportunity to become a permanent resident of Canada, provided they meet the eligibility requirements. That includes having:

  • A letter of support issued by a designated entity
  • A qualifying business
  • Enough money to sustain your stay In Canada before you begin to earn from your business.

You also have to meet the language requirements. The great advantage this program has over other similar programs in the developed world is that you won’t be stripped of your permanent residence status if your venture fails.

III. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Just as the name suggests, PNP is an immigration program that permits different Canadian provinces to select immigrants who meet the needs of their labour market.

Each of the eleven provinces that have this program has its own set of eligibility requirements, streams, and nomination criteria. Therefore, once you’ve selected a province, you wish to immigrate to, check out their PNP program to find out if you are eligible.

There are two ways you can go about your application:

  1.       Inside Express Entry (Involves apply for PNP through the EE)
  2.       Outside Express Entry (involves applying to a PNP of a province directly)

IV. Family Class Sponsored Programvisa for canada

The possibility of Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and registered Indians reuniting with their relatives who live outside Canada has been made possible by the Family Class Sponsorship Program.

With this option, you can help your family members (spouse/common-law partner, parent, grandparent, dependent child, siblings, niece, nephew, grandchild) to become permanent residents of Canada.

The eligibility requirements will vary based on your location as the sponsor, the country of residence of the individual being sponsored, the place they intend to live in Canada, among a few other factors.

V. Québec -Selected

Québec, which is Canada’s largest province, has relatively more control over its immigration programs, a fact that sets them apart from the rest of the provinces.

Québec -selected immigration programs include:

Even though Québec sets the eligibility criteria for the different types of visas in Canada that they offer, once the application is processed and approved, the candidate acquires permanent residency. Because the status allows a person to settle anywhere in Canada, there will be other requirements set by the federal government that the candidate has to meet in order to be admitted into the country.

VI. International Adoption

Canadian citizens and permanent residents can, under Canadian law, adopt a child from other countries. If you are a Canadian citizen, you can apply for the child to obtain Canadian citizenship while they are still outside Canada. Permanent residents, on the other hand, have to sponsor the child for immigration.

Usually, there are two key processes the individual applying to adopt the child must be subjected to:

  • The adoption processes (involves the country from which you plan to adopt the child from and your province)
  • The Immigration /citizenship process (involves the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

IRCC will process your application until the adoption process has been approved by both your province and the country the child is being adopted from.

How long the process takes will largely depend on the child’s country of origin. On average, it could be two years or longer.

VII. Refugees

Since the signing of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, also known as the 1951 Refugee Convention, in 1951, Canada has been granting asylum status to those who meet the requirements of this program.

Top on the list of requirements is that the individual must have in order to be considered under this program include:

  • Be outside their home country
  • Have a well-founded fear of persecution (based on reasons like nationality, race, political opinion, membership of a specific social group etc.)

If you travel to Canada on your own, you can claim refugee status at the border point or at an immigration office inside Canada. If your claim doesn’t succeed, you have an opportunity to re-apply.

The three visa options offered under this program include:

  1.       Government Sponsored Refugees
  2.       Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSR)
  3.       Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) Program

IRCC also resettles persons and families referred to them by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), private sponsorship groups, and other related organizations.

VIII. Caregivers Program  

This program’s prime goal is to enable Canadians to hire foreign nationals to offer childcare services or home support for seniors and people with disabilities. As a caregiver, the Canadian government allows you to apply for permanent residence under three programs:

  • Caring for Children
  • Caring for People with High Medical Needs
  • Live-In Caregiver

Each of the three options has a set of requirements that the candidate must meet in order to be eligible for permanent residency.

IX. Self-Employed

Foreign nationals who would love to settle in Canada and operate as self-employed persons can do so by applying for permanent residence under this program.

A self-employed person, in this case, is anyone who has the intention and ability to create employment for themselves and contribute significantly to the artistic, athletic, and cultural life of Canada. That’s actually part of the requirements, in addition to having relevant work experience, enough settlement funds, and meeting other conditions under selection criteria for the program.

The program is offered by Canada’s federal government and province of Québec.

In Conclusion

Above everything we’ve discussed, remember that the Canada visa types we’ve mentioned require an application fee in order to be processed. And considering that there are avoidable mistakes one can make that could lock them out of a program, you have to learn as much as you can about the different types of visa for Canada, especially the immigration program you intend to apply for. Don’t forget that Canadian immigration programs guidelines change frequently. To stay up to date, visit the immigration website often (and those of the provinces too) and if possible, consult with an immigration expert.