A Canada visa is a stamp on your passport that gives you the authority to enter Canada. It acts as permission for you to move into Canada and legally dwell there either permanently or temporarily.
To be eligible to apply for a Canadian visa, the Canadian embassy in your country of residence will determine if you’re eligible. Anyway, once you arrive at the Canadian border, it’s up to the Border Services Officer (BSO) in Canada to decide if you’re fit to enter.
Who is the Canada Visa for?
Individuals from countries that are not Visa exempted or have eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) agreement with Canada. They will need a Canadian visa to study, work or live in Canada.
Types Of Canada Visa
There are different types of Canadian visas categorized under Temporary Visa and Permanent Visa. Each of the visas depends on your purpose of visiting Canada. Below are the visa types:
- Visitor visas.
- Student visas.
- Work visas.
- Permanent Residence visas.
- Business Immigrant visas.
- Express Entry Program visas.
Temporary Canada visas are visas that allow you to stay in Canada for a given period of time. The length of days you stay in Canada is determined by the Border Services Officers (BSO) or Canadian Consulate.
There are two (2) types of temporary Canadian visas; single entry and multiple entry visas. The single entry visa permits individuals to enter Canada just once with that particular visa. Meanwhile, the multiple entry visa permits its holders to enter Canada as many times as they want until the visa expires.
Below is a list of Canada’s Temporary Visas:
- Canada Tourist Visa. The Tourist visa which is also known as the Visitor Visa allows holders to enter Canada for the purposes of visitation and tourism in the country.
- Canada Super Visa. This type of visa allows parents and grandparents of a citizen or Permanent Resident in Canada to visit their children or grandchildren for an extended stay.
- Diplomatic and Official Visa. The Diplomatic and Official visa gives permission to officials and diplomats from foreign countries to enter Canada for official duties and purposes.
- Courtesy Visa. This type of visa is given to individuals who are not qualified for a Diplomatic and Official Visa but are also notable individuals due to their position or rank. E.g diplomats with touristic intent or members of trade missions.
- Canada Business Visa. This type of visa is given to people who want to enter Canada for business purposes. They can receive this visa as an individual or a group of business individuals.
- Intending Organ Donors Visa. This type of visa is allocated to individuals who intend to enter Canada with the purpose of donating an organ to a Permanent Resident or Canadian citizen.
- Visa to Give Birth in Canada. This type of visa is given to individuals who satisfy all the criteria to temporarily stay in Canada and who are pregnant and desire to give birth in Canada. Any child given birth in Canada automatically becomes a Canadian citizen.
- Canada Student Visa. This Visa is given to international students who want to study in Canada for more than 6 months. The student must first be offered admission or scholarship into any tertiary institution in Canada. Students who intend to study for less than 6 months in Canada will only get a TRV visa. but for more than 6 months of studies, you will need a Student Visa.
- Canada Facilitation Visa. This type of visa is given to citizens of Canada with dual nationalities and also don’t have a Canadian passport but are in possession of a passport of another nationality. The facilitation visa is going to be stamped on the person’s other nationality visa as a result of the extreme difficulty of the person obtaining a Canadian passport.
- Canada Temporary Work Visa. This is the type of visas given to individuals with a job offer in Canada and also intends to work for up to six (6) months. To be eligible for this visa, you need a valid job offer letter from your Canadian employer.
- Working Holiday Visa. This type of Visas is given to young individuals from 30 countries. It’s a random selection visa that means each applicant will submit his/her application and patiently wait to be randomly chosen to apply for the work permit. They will be allowed to move into Canada and work.
- Temporary Residence Permit. The temporary residence permit is for individuals who want to visit Canada for different reasons but are not admissible for a TRV (Temporary Resident Visa). This permit is granted only for the length of days you need to be in Canada. E.g Two (2) weeks for a workshop.
Canada Permanent Visas
Canada permanent visas are visas that allow the holders to permanently live in Canada. The Canadian permanent visas are also known as immigrant visas and are of different types, they’re as follow:
- Startup Visa Program: Canada Startup Visa is issued to only individuals who will individually be involved in contributing to the Canadian economy. The individuals must have a net worth of CAD$300,000 at least and must commit to managing and owning at least one-third of a business in Canada and also create and maintain employment within three (3) years of being in Canada.
- Immigrant Investor Program: This program is for individuals that are willing to invest in the economy of Canada. They must have a net worth of CAD$800,000 at least. They must invest CAD$400,000 at least to the Canadian government. The money will be return back to him/her in 5 years but without interest.
- Self-employed Persons Visa: This is a visa for individuals with business skills, athletics, culture, or farming skills and can start their own businesses. These individuals must show how they will finance the business.
- Quebec-Selected Skilled Worker Program (QSWP): If you are lucky to have one (1) of the occupations required in the province of Quebec and you’re also fluent in French, then you can apply for the Quebec Skilled Worker Program. This program allows you to work and permanently live in Canada.
- Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP): This visa is for caregivers who are qualified to take care of children, elderly, or disabled people, and also live in private homes.
- Family-Sponsorship Program: The Family Sponsorship Visa permits spouses as well as dependent children of a permanent resident or citizen of Canada to immigrate into Canada permanently.
Express Entry Visas
The Express Entry Program is an electronic immigration program created by the Canadian Government. Individuals from around the world can apply for immigration into Canada based on their specific skills. The program is made up of the following programs:
- Canadian Experience Class
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP)
Canadian Experience Class
The CEC (Canadian Experience Class) permanent visa is given to individuals who have a temporary workers visa or a temporary student visa and also want to switch to permanent resident status. These individuals either have Canadian work experience or education and have experienced what it’s like to live in Canada.
Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
Visas under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) are given to individuals that have professions that are required in Canada. Ensure you check what kind of jobs are needed in Canada before you start planning to apply and get the necessary points.
Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
The FSTP (Federal Skilled Trades Program) visa is given to individuals who are qualified tradespeople in occupations like:
- Crane Operators
- Aircraft Mechanics
- Heavy-duty Equipment Mechanics, etc.
Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP)
The Provincial Nominee Program visa is given to semi or low-skilled workers that are capable of contributing to the Canadian economy through their work. These workers are kept in different provinces in Canada where the demand for their work is high.
Canada Visa Application Process
The Canadian visa application process depends on the type of visa you need to apply for. Below are the steps to applying for a Canadian visa:
- Check if you’re Eligible to Apply for a Canada visa.
- Create your online account.
- Compile the document file.
- Pay the fees.
- Wait while your Canadian visa is being processed.
- Submit your processing fees and passport.
Check if You’re Eligible to Apply for a Canada visa
The government of Canada has created different test tools online to help evaluate your eligibility to apply for a Canadian visa. All you have to do is visit Canada’s official website to use the tools to ascertain if you are eligible to enter Canada.
How to use the official Canadian government website?
Visit Canada’s official government website section where you see “Check Your Eligibility” Click Here to visit the page. Answer the questionnaires and follow the various instructions, the system will show your result at the end of the questionnaire.
Receiving Your Results
After checking your eligibility, you will see three (3) different types of results which states 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’re not eligible for the visa.
If luckily you are eligible for the visa that you selected in the questionnaire or a different type of visa, you will be required by the system to input your contact information (Your Email usually). You will receive a set of documents.
The documents you will receive contains a description of the visa you are qualified for and instructions as well as details on how to apply. They will also send you a reference code.
The reference code is among the most important pieces of information on the set of documents sent to you. The reference code will be used to start your application. Without the reference code, you’ll not be able to apply.
Ensure that you save the email containing those sets of documents and the reference code. Ensure you don’t lose the reference number, otherwise, you’ll have to start the questionnaire process from the beginning.
Create an online account
The instruction sent to your email will also let you know if you must apply in person or apply for a Canada visa online. If you are required to apply online, then you need to create an account.
There are two (2) ways to create an online account for the application:
- Creating a Government of Canada login (GCKey); or
- Using your online banking login since the Canadian Government is in partnership with many banks;
No matter the method you use in creating the account, you’ll still have to use your banking details to pay for the visa fees.
Put Together All The Document File
You can start your Canada visa application as soon as you log into your account. Use the reference code to start the application process for the visa you have been deemed eligible for.
As soon as you enter the reference code, the list of documents required for your Canadian visa application will show.
Find the complete list of documents required to apply for a Canada visa here ==>> Documents Required for Canada Visa.
Submit all the required documents and forms online in the system and go ahead to submit your application.
Pay For Your Fees
As soon as the system verifies that you’ve submitted the required documents, it will redirect you to the page where you will make payment, depending on the type of visa you’re applying for. As soon as you complete the payment, your application will be immediately submitted.
Your application will appear on your account around five (5) workdays. Those who apply in person will need to take those documents to any Canadian Embassy in their home country.
Wait Patiently for Your Canadian Visa to Be Processed
Once your application has been submitted online or in person, the Canadian Embassy will then begin to process your Canada visa application. This process usually takes about two (2) weeks or more depending on the type of visa.
Note that more documents could be needed by the Canadian Embassy. You could also be asked to submit your biometrics as well as have an interview, this requires you to visit the Embassy even if you had applied online.
Either you or the embassy can make an appointment on the date you want to submit your photographs and fingerprints, as well as answer some questions from the Canadian Embassy official.
These officials are the ones to determine if you’re fit to obtain a Canadian visa or not. Their decision will be made known to you either immediately after the appointment, or they’ll send you a notification later.
Ensure you constantly check your account because that’s where all notifications from the Embassy regarding your visa will be posted. Keep checking it, even if you didn’t go for an interview or are required to submit your biometrics.
Submit your processing fees and passport
As soon as you receive a notification saying that your visa application was successful, then you’ll have to send your passport to the embassy. You can submit your passport by mailing it to the address of the embassy in the country you’re applying from. Send the passport together with the visa processing fees.
The visa is within $20 to $50 depending on the type of visa you applied for. The visa fee must be paid through a Money Order or check. Additionally, you’ll also have to pay for a return envelope for your passport.
As soon as the Embassy officials receive the fees and your passport, they will stamp your visa on your passport then mail it back to you.
Should in case you were notified of the Embassy’s decision immediately after your visa appointment or interview, then you’ll need to pay for the processing fees there and immediately get your visa stamped right there.
What Next After a Successful Visa Application?
After a successful Canadian visa application, you need to travel to Canada. At the Canadian Point Of Entry (POE), you’ll be required to show your documents and passport. The officials at the POE will check your documents then proceed to ask you for the reasons why you want to enter Canada.
Answer the questions, and it will be left for them to decide either to let you inside of Canada or not. They may not allow you entry into Canada if they believe that you’ll not respect your visa restrictions or commit crimes.
NOTE: Successfully having your Canadian visa doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be allowed to enter Canada, only the border officials can determine if you’ll be allowed in or not.
How Long Will it Take Before I Get My Visa to Canada?
The Canadian visa processing time can take between 2 weeks to 4 weeks. It can stay longer than that in some cases. Your visa processing begins the moment you submit the complete documents required for your Canada Visa application.
Can I Help My Friend or Family Member Get a Canada Visa?
If you have a friend or family member who resides outside of Canada, if you want them to come and visit you in Canada, you will have to write them an invitation Letter. Click here to see how to write an invitation letter for a Canada visa.
The invitation letter is not a guarantee that they’ll get a Canadian visa. The visa is going to be processed on its own merit, nevertheless, the letter will help.
NOTE: If you want your family member to come and join you in Canada for a long term or permanently, then you have to apply for that through the Canada Family Sponsorship Program.
How Do I Extend How Long I Stay in Canada?
Yes! You can actually extend your Canada visitor visa, all you have to do is apply for a visa extension if you desire to stay longer. The Canada visitor visa extension is called “Canada Visitor Record.”
Note that you will have to apply for the Canada Visitor Record at least 30 days before your Canada visitor visa expires.
You can only apply for the visitor record while you are still in Canada. Additionally, even your work and study permit can also be changed to a Visitor Record.
Note that once you leave Canada, you will not be allowed to enter again even with a visitor record.
Consequences of Overstaying Your Canada Visa?
If you overstay your Canada visa by more than 90 days and don’t leave Canada, then you may not be eligible to get another Canada visa when you are caught. It’s always important to apply for an extension before your visa expires.
NOTE: If you overstayed for less than 90 days, then you can easily restore your Canada visitor status by simply applying for a Visitor Record and selecting the “Restore my status as a visitor”.
How Much Will I Pay for the Canada Visa Fee?
Your Canada visa fees depend on the type of Canada visa you’re applying for. But the normal Visitor Visa fee should be around $CAN100. This does not include fees for your biometrics (If required).
What Should I Do If My Visa is Rejected?
If your Canada visa application was rejected, you can always re-apply anytime, just provided the rejection letter does not forbid you from re-applying.
It’s always best to re-apply when you have additional information or when your situation has changed, this may help make your Canada visa application approved.
There’s no formal method of appealing a Canada visitor visa decision. You can only appeal to permanent residency and refugee applications. These can be processed by the IAD (Immigration Appeal Division).
Will I Be Refunded If My Canada Visa Application is Rejected?
NO!!! Canada visa fees are not refundable, whether your application was accepted or rejected. All the money you paid where for processing your visa application and wasn’t for the visa itself.
You can only get back a refund when if you withdraw your visa application before they begin to process it. Additionally, your application fee may be refunded to you for the following:
- The fee for Right of Citizenship
- Fee for the Right of Permanent Residence
- Fee for an Open Work Permit
- The fee for Employer Compliance
- The fee for International Experience Canada (IEC)
You can still request a refund for your fees through Canada’s Government Immigration and citizenship official website.
Is it Possible to Apply for My Canada Visa From Another Country?
This can only be possible if there’s no Visa Application Center or Canadian embassy in your own country. You can also apply for a Canada visa from another country if you are a permanent residence in the country you are applying from.
It’s always important to apply for your Canadian Visa from your country in any VAC or Canadian embassy responsible for your jurisdiction.
Is Biometrics Required for Canada Visa Application?
Yes, lots of individuals applying for the Canada visa give their biometrics (photo and fingerprints) when they apply for a Canada visa, notwithstanding the type of Canada visa they are applying for.
Your biometrics can be submitted to any Canadian Visa Application center near you. The Embassy will mail a letter that contains a date that you need to come for your biometrics.
You are required to pay the biometrics fee before you can receive the letter. The payment should be made when you are submitting your Canada visa application.
What Does Canada Visa Look Like?
The Canadian visa is just a stamp on your passport and it contains the following information:
- Visa type;
- Visa category;
- Passport number.
- Document number;
- Number of entries allowed;
- The place the visa was issued;
- Date of issuance and expiration;
- The visa holder’s last and first name;