Preparing for your Canadian visa application in 2023

Canada is a particularly welcoming country for refugees and immigrants, but it can be difficult to obtain a Canadian visa. Here’s what you need to know before submitting a visa application to the Canadian authorities.

As of July 31, 2018, if you are a national of a country or territory in Europe, the Middle East, or Africa, you may also be required to submit certain biometrics, including fingerprints and a photograph.

There are four general types of visas in Canada: Temporary Resident Visa, Study Permits, Work Permits, a Permanent Resident Travel Document.

Temporary Canadian Visa

If you’re planning to visit Canada temporarily, extend an existing trip to Canada, tour Canada’s attractions and events, or visit friends or family, look into a Temporary Resident Visa.

Documentation needed:

  • Fee payment at the visa application centre (Fee list here)
  • A photocopy of your passport or valid travel identification
  • Two visa photos that fit the photo specifications with your name and date of birth on the back
  • Proof of financial support
  • Photocopy of marriage license/certificate
  • Purpose of travel/visit
  • Photocopy of current immigration status (visas or passport for other countries)
  • Minors traveling alone must have letter of authorization from parent or guardian

Canadian Study Permits

If you’ll be studying abroad as an international student, do research on how to get a study permit in Canada. Your university in Canada will also provide help once you’re accepted to their institution.

Documentation needed:

  • A passport or valid travel identification
  • An acceptance letter from a designated learning institute (DLI)
  • Proof that you have enough money for:
    • Tuition
    • Living expenses for yourself and any other family members that may live with you in Canada
    • Return transportation for yourself and any family members with you in Canada

There are also a few other requirements that you may need to comply with for a study permit. To learn more about these additional requirements, visit the Canadian government’s website on study permits.

Canadian Work Permits

If you’re a temporary worker, business person, student, or caregiver in the Caregiver Live-in Program, look into how to get a work permit to work in Canada. This isn’t a Canadian visa for tourists or long-term residents; it’s designed to make it easier for temporary workers from other countries to share their skills in Canada for a limited period.

Documentation needed:

Permanent Canadian Resident Travel Document

A permanent resident travel document allows Canadian residents to travel outside of Canada with proof that they are legal residents. It is valid for a single entry.

Documentation needed:

  • Valid passport
  • Fee payment: $50
  • Two visa photos that fit the photo specifications
  • Photocopies of all previous passports or travel documents used in the last five years
  • Two pieces of evidence showing residency in Canada for the last five years:
    • Paystubs or employment records
    • Bank statements
    • Rental agreements
    • Canada Revenue Agency Notice of Assessment for five years before application
    • Evidence that you have received benefits from Canadian government programs
  • Marriage license or proof of common law partnership (if traveling with spouse or partner)
  • Child’s birth certificate (if traveling with child)
  • Business licenses or articles of incorporation, business partnership agreements, etc.

Come to Canada: An Online Resource

Come to Canada is an online tool designed to help people discover if they are eligible to apply for a visa or permit in Canada. To learn more, you will answer several questions about:

  • nationality
  • age
  • language ability
  • family members
  • education
  • work experience
  • income and/or net worth
  • details on any job offer

Based on the answers to these questions, this tool can help you determine what programs you may be eligible for and which type of visa you should apply for. However, it’s best to consult an immigration lawyer to confirm exactly what you need to do for your visa application.

Preparing Your Canadian Visa Application

Obtaining a visa to live, work, or study in Canada may take a while, so allow yourself enough time to do your research and prepare your documentation in advance.

Once you move to Canada, you’ll want to open a Canadian bank account. Then, try a secure app like Remitly to send money between your accounts in each country.