If you’re planning to spend some time in Canada, whether for vacation or long term, you will most likely need a visa for Canada. Before you apply, it’s important to know what you want to do while you’re there.

Are you interested in working in Canada during your stay? Would you like to study French? To find out everything you need to know about visa requirements, costs, and more, keep reading!

How to Know if You Need a Visa for Canada 

application of a visa for Canada

Before reviewing the visa requirements, make a list of all of your plans and necessities while in Canada:

  • The purpose of your trip: traveling, studying, working, vacation, etc.
  • Duration of your stay: temporary or long-term
  • Traveling alone or with company
  • Your nationality
  • Current Age 
  • English or French comprehension
  • Financial solvency

Using this list, you will know if your unique situation makes you eligible to apply for a visa. Not everyone who travels to Canada needs one, which we will explain more in detail in the next section.

Temporary Resident Visa for Canada 

In Canada, there is only one type of visa: the Temporary Resident Visa or “visitor visa.” If you plan to stay in Canada for a short period, whether to visit, work, or study, you will need this visa. Under the visitor visa, you can travel to and stay in Canada for a maximum of six months.

You can also study and work in Canada under this visa, as long as you have the necessary documents and permits. As you continue reading, we’ll walk you through each permit to learn more about their requirements, costs, and what you can achieve with them.

Requirements

  • Proof of departure from Canada at the end of your stay
  • Financial coverage for your duration
  • No record of criminal activity
  • Be in good health (medical examination may be required)
  • Biometric information (fingerprints and photo ID) if visiting for the first time

Cost

The Temporary Resident (Visitor) Visa fee is 100 CAD. If this is your first time visiting Canada and you need to give your biometrics, the biometrics fee is 85 CAD.  

Depending on your nationality, you may be exempt from needing a visitor visa for Canada. Instead, you will need an eTA.

Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

If you’re traveling to Canada from one of its visa-exempt countries, you will need an eTA to enter the country. It is an entry authorization that Canada uses to screen travelers and is electronically connected to your passport. The eTA is valid for five years or until your passport expires. With an eTA, you can travel to Canada as frequently as you wish and stay in the country for up to six months.

You can easily apply for an eTA on the Government of Canada website, where you can complete and receive the approval within a few minutes.

Requirements

  • Have a valid passport
  • Be a citizen from a visa-exempt country (or a permanent resident of the U.S.) 
  • Traveling to Canada by plane (the eTA isn’t needed for travelers entering Canada by car, train, or cruise)

Cost

An eTA only costs 7 CAD. 

Student Permit 

If you plan to study in Canada for more than six months, you will need a study permit in addition to your Temporary Resident Visa. Even if you’re taking short-term courses, those that conclude in less than six months, having a study permit is beneficial.

With it, you can stay in Canada an additional 90 days after your courses end to enroll in another study program. Also, a study permit allows you to work on and off-campus while registered as a full-time student

Requirements

  • You must be enrolled in one of Canada’s designated learning institutions (DLI) 
  • Prove you have the financial means or a sponsor to cover your tuition fees, living expenses, and departure from Canada
  • Have no criminal record (may require a police certificate)
  • Are of good health (may require a medical exam)
  • Proof of departure from the country once the study permit expires
  • A letter of explanation regarding your study plans (to the visa officer)
  • Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ), if you plan to study in Quebec

Cost

The study permit application costs 150 CAD.

Courses You can Study in Canada

  • English & French Courses

Learn or improve your proficiency! English and French language courses will help you in four core areas: speaking, reading, writing, and listening comprehension. 

  • Co-Ops | Career Programs

Gain professional work experience in a career program! Cooperative Education or “Co-op” positions are work-term agreements with employers while you’re enrolled in school. You can also take vocational courses in which you can receive certifications to enter the workforce.  

  • College Degree Programs

Earn a college degree from one of Canada’s prestigious universities! There are several undergraduate and graduate programs from which you can choose.

If you’re working in Canada on a study permit, keep in mind that you can only work up to 20 hours per week during the regular school semester. Only during scheduled breaks, such as winter and summer holidays, can you work full-time. 

Work Permit in Canada

If you desire to work in Canada with no intentions of studying, you will need to apply for a work permit with your visitor visa. There are a few types of work permits, depending on if you plan to work temporarily or permanently.

Requirements

  • Proof of departing Canada when the work permit expires
  • Financial stability or sponsorship coverage during your stay
  • No criminal record (may need to provide a police certificate)
  • Be in good health (medical exam may be required)
  • Proof of working for an eligible employer

Cost

The fee for a general work permit, including extensions, is 155 CAD. 

Keep in mind, there are still limitations with a work permit. Students who plan to enroll in a language program, such as English or French courses, cannot work during the semester. 

Post-Graduate Work Permit

If you’re a recent graduate of a school or career program and want to work in Canada temporarily, you will need to apply for the Post-graduate Work Permit (PGWP). The fee for this is 255 CAD.  

Working Holiday

Another program, the International Experience Canada (IEC) or “Working Holiday,” also grants you an open work permit. Under the Working Holiday, you can live and work in Canada for up to one year in a youth exchange program.

Bringing Guests on a Visa for Canada 

couple on a ski lift in Canada

Are you planning to bring your spouse, partner, or children with you to Canada? If so, anyone who is accompanying you will also need a temporary resident visa. There isn’t a “partner” visa for Canada, as in other countries. If your partner plans to work while in Canada, they would need to apply for a work permit as well.

Permanent Residency | Open Work Permit

two men in a job interview

For individuals considering a long-term work situation or permanent residency in Canada, you can apply for permanent residency through different Canada immigration programs. Each program will require you to obtain an Open Work Permit, which allows you to work for any employer in Canada.

Express Entry

If you’re planning to immigrate to Canada, you can apply through the Express Entry system. This online system is what the Canadian government uses to manage applications for its different immigration programs.

If you’re eligible for Express Entry, you can create an online profile and enter into a pool of candidates. Here, you’ll be ranked according to your skills and, if a high score, can receive an invitation from the Canadian government.

Obtain Your Visa for Canada with GrowPro

college students in a lecture

Now, the only step left is to obtain your visa for Canada! We understand that the process can be overwhelming. That’s why the GrowPro team is here to help! Remember, you can reach out to our Experience Managers at any time for questions about the visa process, as well as visit the Government of Canada website for more information. 

We’re passionate about what we do, which is why we have an entire website dedicated to helping travelers and students find the best experiences abroad! From free resources, such as our complete guide to studying and working in Canada, to dozens of unique experiences available, your adventure to Canada awaits!