If you want to obtain a visa for Canada, it’s important to know first what you want to do in Canada. Do you want to work, study, visit, or reside permanently?
There are a few Canada visa varieties, which can be broadly segmented into a handful of categories.
- Visitor visas – For people who want to visit Canada on a temporary basis, and who do not intend to work in Canada or take up normal residence in Canada.
- Study permits – For people who wish to enroll in a study program in Canada for longer than six months.
- Work permits – For people who want to work in Canada for a period.
- Permanent residence – For people who want to move to Canada permanently and bring family members with them, if applicable.
- Canadian citizenship – For permanent residents who want to become citizens of Canada.
The table below will help guide you towards the right visa for Canada for your situation. (If viewing the table on a mobile device, we encourage you to tilt your screen so that you are viewing horizontally.)
Visa for Canada: categories and programs
|TRV, eTA, Super Visa, TRP||Regular study permit, Student Direct Stream||TFWP (LMIA, Global Talent, caregivers, seasonal agriculture)|
IMP (IEC, post-grad, Intra-company, NAFTA, CETA, significant benefit)
|Economic (Express Entry, PNP, Quebec, Business)|
Typical validity period
|6m (TRV, eTA)|
2 years (Super Visa)
1 day to 3 years (TRP)
|Duration of study program + 90 days||1-3 years||Permanent, with residency obligations||Permanent, without restriction|
Can you work?
Conditions on work
|N/A||20 hours per week during academic term, 40 hours during breaks||All permits have a limited validity, and work may also be restricted by: employer, location, industry||None, can work anywhere in Canada & for any employer||None, can work anywhere in Canada & for any employer|
|Pre-approval to enter Canada||Letter of acceptance from a DLI||All TFWP and some IMP permits require a job offer, open permits do not||Approval through a PR program||Must have PR first|
|Visitor||International student||Foreign worker||Permanent resident / Immigrant||Naturalized citizen / Immigrant|
|Unlimited (22.1 million arrived in 2019)||Unlimited (402,195 issued in 2019)||Unlimited (404,800 issued in 2019, of which 306.6k IMP and 98.2k TFW)||341k in 2020|
351k in 2021
361k in 2022
|Unlimited ((250k newly naturalized Canadians in 2019)|
|Visit Canada||Study in Canada||Work permits||PR overview||Citizenship FAQ|
If you have identified what you want to do in Canada, it’s time to learn more about exactly which program might be most suitable for your situation. To do this, see our Canada Immigration Guide.
In addition, please sign up for updates covering immigration, employment, and settlement by creating a Moving2Canada account.