Whether planning to carve their way down Canada’s ski slopes on holiday, or settle into one of its world-famous urban centres on a more permanent basis, it is essential for those wishing to enter Canada to research the different visas available. 

The visa application process may appear overwhelming due to the more than 60 categories available, but the good news is that the Canadian government provides a comprehensive and updated online resource that assists applicants with the process.

Visitor visas for Canada

Citizens of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and a number of European countries are afforded visa-free entry into Canada for a period of six months or less, as long as they have a valid passport. 

Expats from a designated list of countries available on Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration site will, however, need to apply for a visitor visa (also known as a temporary residence visa) to gain entry into Canada. 

All visitor visa applicants funding their own trip will be required to show proof of funds to cover their expenses during the visit.

Permanent residence visas for Canada

Those planning to immigrate to Canada will need to obtain permanent residency. It’s possible to apply for permanent residency through Canada’s federal programme, as well as through one of the country’s provincial programmes – in which case a particular province will need to nominate the applicant. 

The first step of the process is deciding which permanent residency category to apply for. There are different permits for those reuniting with their families, those who have recently graduated from a Canadian institution, and those who have the education, skills and experience that will benefit Canada’s economy.

*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats are advised to contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.