With world-class healthcare facilities, quality and research-based education, flexible immigration policies, security, and ample employment opportunities, Canada, no doubt is one of the best countries in the world to live, work, and raise a family. There is no shortage of reasons why Canada is a major immigrant destination. However, depending on your country of residence, you may need to get a visa to immigrate to Canada.
Immigration is the international movement of people to a destination country of which they are not natives or where they do not possess citizenship in order to settle as permanent residents or naturalized citizens. Commuters, tourists, and other short-term stays in a destination country do not fall under the definition of immigration or migration; seasonal labour immigration is sometimes included, however.
Who Requires a Visa to Immigrate to Canada?
Most foreigners wishing to immigrate to Canada must obtain a visa, a legal document that guarantees your stay in Canada. There are two major categories of visas namely permanent and temporary visas.
However, most foreigners will need a Canadian visa which will grant entry to Canada. While nationals of certain countries are completely exempted from a visa application and can enter Canada freely with their passports or travel documents, no need to get a visa. Although others will only need an electronic travel authorization (eTA) to enter Canada.
Do You Need A Visa to Immigrate to Canada?
When wondering if you need a visit to immigrate to Canada or not. There are certain factors that you can take into consideration that will help you determine if you need a Canada visa, an eTA, or neither of them.
Therefore, what you need depends on:
- the type of travel document you will travel with (passport, national identification document, driver’s license, etc.);
- the country that issued your travel document;
- your nationality; and
- how you will travel to Canada
Nonetheless, it is best to travel to Canada with a passport, when it comes to the travel document you will travel with and depending on the country that issued it, you can then decide how to travel.
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However, citizens of certain countries are exempted from obtaining a visa when visiting Canada. Citizens of the following countries below do not require a visa when entering Canada.
Countries That Do Not Need a Canada Visa to Immigrate to Canada
Moreover, citizens of the following countries do not have to go through the visa application process before they can enter Canada:
Citizens of Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holy See (holders of a passport or travel document issued by the Holy See), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel (holders of national Israeli passport), Italy, Japan, Korea (Republic of), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania (holders of a biometric passport/e-passport issued by Lithuania), Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland (holders of a biometric passport/e-passport issued by Poland), Portugal, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan (holders of the ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes their personal identification number).
Countries That Do Not Need a Canada Visa to Immigrate to Canada
British citizens and British overseas citizens – A British citizen or a British overseas citizen who is re-admissible to the United Kingdom.
British overseas territories, citizens of – A citizen of a British overseas territory who derives their citizenship through birth, descent, registration, or naturalization in one of the British overseas territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena or the Turks and Caicos Islands.
British National (Overseas) – holder of a British National (Overseas) passport issued by the United Kingdom to persons born, naturalized, or registered in Hong Kong.
British Subjects – holder of a British Subject passport issued by the United Kingdom which contains the observation that the holder has the right of abode in the United Kingdom.
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region – holder of a valid and subsisting Special Administrative Region passport issued by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.
United States citizens and permanent residents – A United States citizen or a person lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence who is in possession of their alien registration card (Green card) or can provide other evidence of permanent residence.
Documents Required for Getting Visa to Immigrate to Canada
If your country is not listed among the visa-exempt countries, then you must apply for a visa. Canada visa application is onerous, but armed with the right information getting your visa approval is guaranteed. Besides, they can get different types of visas depending on their motive for visiting the country such as studying, visiting, working, immigrating, etc.
Therefore, the type of Canadian visa you need to apply for depends on the reason or purpose, and duration of your stay. For instance, you will need to apply for a student visa, if you want to study in Canada. A work visa, if want to work in the country, and a temporary visitor visa, if you are going to Canada as a visitor.
Furthermore, here are documents you will need while applying for a Canada visa:
- Valid passport
- Canada visa application form
- Proof of paid visa fees
- Police certificate
- Medical examination report
- Digital photographs in accordance with the Canada visa application photo requirements
- Proof of sufficient funds
- Proof you will return to your home country once the Canadian visa expires
- Identity and civil status documents
- Letter of explanation or intent
- Letter of invitation or support to Canada
However, below is an overview of each requirement for a Canadian visa.
However, the age requirements may differ depending on the type of visa you need. Adults must be over 18, as they are the only primary applicants on a vis application. The minors, who must be 17 or less can only be attached as dependents.
Moreover, you will need to provide a valid passport or any other international travel documents. This is for the purpose of confirming the identity of the individuals concerned. When applying for a Canadian visa, the applicants would need to submit clear and legible copies of the biodata page. It must include:
- Passport number
- Date of issue and expiry
- Personal information: name, photo, place of birth, and date of birth.
The Individuals who would need to submit this documentation include:
- The principal applicant
- Their spouse or common-law partner
- Their dependent children, including those accompanying them.
Documents and Forms:
Meanwhile, when applying for a Canadian visa, firstly, you will have to download an application package from the CIC website. This application package will contain an instruction guide, a document checklist, and all the forms you will have to complete and submit.
However, you will have to complete and submit all the documents and forms on the checklist. The documents may include passport copies, digital photographs, visa fee receipts, and other identity documents. Moreover, the documents on the checklist may also vary depending on countries. Also, applicants may need to submit other mandatory documents (if applicable) based on their personal circumstances as well as those of their dependents.
Proof of paid visa fees:
You will have to pay the necessary visa fees and attach the receipts to your application as proof in order to apply for a Canadian visa. However, the only fees you need to pay are the application processing fees, and the biometric fees. Moreover, the costs vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for.
During the Canadian visa application, you will have to provide a police clearance certificate. This is to determine whether the applicant or the applicant’s family members have criminal records or pose a security risk to Canada.
However, you may not be allowed to enter Canada if you have a criminal record. As people who pose a risk to Canada’s security are also not allowed to come to Canada. Moreover, the police certificate must be a scanned copy of the original certificate in color. Certified true copies or unauthorized copies won’t be accepted and will result in your application being rejected.
Furthermore, it must be issued no more than 6 months before the date you submit your application and must not be expired. Also, the police certificates are mandatory for each country (excluding Canada) where the applicants have resided for six months or more in a row.
Medical examination report:
However, in order to obtain a Canadian visa, you must be a good health condition. Therefore, you must undergo a medical examination and attach the report to your visa application. This is to assess the health of the applicant and the applicant’s family members (if any).
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Moreover, the medical examination cannot be performed by your usual doctor. Rather it will have to be a panel physician Panel physicians for each country can be found on IRCC”s website. In most cases, such as when applying for permanent residency, the applicants would have to provide copies of the following:
- The information printout sheet or,
- The Upfront Medical Report form (IMM 1017B)
However, applicants would obtain one of these from the panel physician upon completion of the medical examination.
Moreover, you will also have to provide two digital passport-sized photographs to confirm your identity. It must be in accordance with the Canada visa requirements. However, your visa application may be declined if the photographs do not meet the requirements set by the Canadian immigration agency.
Proof of sufficient funds:
You must provide evidence that you have sufficient funds to financially support yourself and your family members that may be coming with you to Canada throughout the duration of your stay.
However, you can prove this by providing the following documents:
- Bank statements
- Proof you have arranged to receive financial support from friends or family to cover the duration of your stay.
- Proof of income of your Canadian host or relative
- Letter of employment showing annual earnings
However, authorities might also ask for other documents as necessary. In most cases, you will be require to get official letters from any banks or financial institutions where you are keeping money. The letter must have the following features:
- It must be printed on the financial institution’s letterhead
- Must include their contact information ( address, telephone number, and email address)
- Include your name
- List outstanding debts such as credit card debts and loans
- Include, for each current bank and investment account, the
- account numbers
- date each account was open
- the current balance of each account
- the average balance for the past 6 months
However, note that the types of proof required may differ depending on countries.
Proof you will return to your home country once the Canadian visa expires
Moreover, you will need to convince your visa officers that you will return to your home country once your visa expires. However, you can do that by proving the following:
- You can provide evidence that you have family ties in your home country such as people you take care of.
- You can provide of properties you own in your home country such as lease agreements etc.
- Furthermore, you can provide proof of employment such as copies of your employment contract which states you are a permanent employee and indicates when you are expect to return to work.
Identity and civil status documents:
Furthermore, you will also need to provide identity and civil status documents to be attached to your visa application. These documents include a birth certificate, marriage certificate, divorce certificate and legal separation agreement, death certificate (if you have declared your marital status as widowed), adoption certificate (when a dependent child is listed as adopted). However, you will have to contact the Canadian visa office in your country to get more information on the documents you need.
Letter of explanation or intent:
Moreover, you will have to state your motive for your travel to Canada when you apply for a visa. Although the requirements depend on the country, they may include:
- An invitation letter from your sponsor or the family member/ friend that you are visiting in Canada.
- A document that supports your purpose of travel
- Contact information of the people who can support your mentioned purpose of visit.
Letter of invitation or support to Canada:
Furthermore, in some cases, you may need to provide a letter of invitation from someone in Canada. The person must be either a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident in Canada.
Read Also How to Migrate to Canada
However, the letter has to include the following information about the applicant:
- Phone number and address.
- The relationship you have with the person who is writing the letter.
- How long you will stay in Canada, where you will stay, and when do you plan to leave.
- How do you plan to support yourself financially.
Moreover, the letter will also include the following information about the writer:
- Complete name and date of birth.
- Canadian address and phone number.
- Residence status (Citizen or Permanent Resident) and a photocopy of a document that proves it.
- Their job title.
- Their family details (names and dates of birth for his/her spouse and dependents).
- How many people are in their household?
However, other than the general requirements for a Canadian visa application above. There are other specific requirements depending on the type of visa you are applying for such as student visa, work visa, visitor visa, etc. You can check out our previous posts on the work visa and study visa application guidelines.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below!
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