Moving to Canada is an exciting decision to make, and the good news is that the visa application process is relatively easy to work through. The process can in fact sometimes be non-existent if your country or family status qualifies you for an exemption, and if want to visit for up to six months. This guide covers all the visas you can file for when moving to Canada temporarily – also known as non-immigrant visas – and doesn’t cover the conditions for permanent residency and citizenship.

No matter how long you want to visit for Canada for – and for whatever reasons – some initial requirements must be met by all visa applicants:

  • You must be in good general health
  • You must hold a valid passport or other appropriate travel document
  • You must be able to prove to immigration that you have ties back home that suggest you can and will return to your home country at the end of your trip (family, investments, employment)
  • You must have enough money to fund your stay, and be able to prove that you can leave Canada at the end of your stay (by showing return travel documents, for example)

Passports allegedly issued in Somalia, temporary South African passports, provisional Venezuelan passports and non-machine readable passports issued by the Czech Republic are currently deemed invalid travel documents by Canada’s immigration offices.

In addition to this, some people are denied entry to Canada for other, more serious reasons. Inadmissible people include those who:

  • Have been convicted of a crime
  • Are in serious financial trouble
  • Have lied in an immigration interview
  • Have or have had ties with organised crime
  • Have been convicted of DUI (driving under influence), though sometimes a temporary resident permit can be obtained for one single trip

Non-immigrant visas for Canada

Visa TypeCost (CAN $)
Visit Visa100
Work Visa155
Parents and Grandparents Visa100
Student Visa150
Transit Visa (for less than 48 hours in Canada)FREE

Canada Visit Visa

This kind of visa, also known as a Temporary Resident Visa, lets you come to Canada as a tourist or a visitor for a temporary purpose such as study, travel, work or visiting friends and family. They’re generally issued for six month durations and must be obtained before arriving at a Canadian Port of Entry, unless your passport exempts you from needing to file for one (see below). If you’re in the process of filing for an immigrant visa for Canada, you can apply for one of these visas in the meantime. Multi-entry visitor visas can be issued for periods of up to five years or the expiry date on your current passport – whichever period is the shorter one.

Passport holders from certain territories won’t need to apply for a visitor or transit visa for Canada. See the full list of visa exempt countries here, but we’ve included a snippet of the list below for you:

British citizens and British overseas citizens
Czech Republic
New Zealand
United States citizens and permanent residents

Canada Work Visa

If you have an offer of employment with a Canadian company in Canada, you can file for a work visa to stay in Canada on a temporary basis. Foreign employees must in some way help address current shortfalls in the local jobs market and aid job creation and the transfer of knowledge to Canadian workers. In short, a foreign work visa holder shouldn’t affect job opportunities for Canadians. Work visas can be applied for in one of four categories: high-skilled, low-skilled, live-in caregiving and seasonal agricultural work. Job offers must meet quite stringent standards and be proven to be genuine position: certain salary stipulations must be met and the Canadian employer must be able to prove that they have tried to fill the position using the local workforce.

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Parents and Grandparents Super Visa

These visas allow, as the name suggests, parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to stay in Canada for up to two years at once, or for multiple entry over a ten year period. If the applicant is from a visa-exempt country (see list above), parents and grandparents can present a Letter of Introduction on arrival to Canada and be granted two years’ residency in Canada without the need to file for the Super Visa.

Applicants must:

  • Undergo a medical examination
  • Prove that they are the parent or grandparent of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Take out medical insurance from a Canadian insurer for at least one year, with a policy worth at least $100,000

These visa holders cannot work or study whilst in Canada – they are treated as regular tourist visa holders (see above)


Canada Student Visa

Also known as a Study Permit, this sort of visa enables foreign nationals to studying at specific institutions and on particular learning programmes in Canada. If the course you wish to take is less than six months or if you have family in Canada you may not need to file for this permit, though only if you are a national of a visitor exempt country – see the list above. You must have already been accepted onto your chosen course when you apply for a Study Permit, and have to prove you gave the funds to pay all tuitions fees and living expenses whilst in Canada, as well as your return ticket home. Visiting students can work in Canada on a work permit in some cases, as long as the work falls under the Citizen and Immigration Canada. Partners of visiting students can also obtain a work permit for the duration of their partner’s study permit.