Canadian Immigration Process
Canada is a country that prides itself on its inclusive values and the diversity of its residents. We recognize immigration as a source of strength for our nation. Each year more than 200,000 immigrants enter the country. Immigrants account for approximately 16% of the entire Canadian population and come from all parts of the world.
The following is an overview of the various Canadian Immigration categories open to applicants pursuant to Canadian Immigration law as well as to those who merely wish to come to Canada on a temporary basis.
Before you apply you should decide what class of Canadian immigration you are applying under and where in Canada you would like to live.
Permanent Resident Status:
Obtaining "permanent resident status of Canada" is also known as "Immigrating to Canada" or becoming a "landed immigrant of Canada". The successful end result of the Immigration process is the issuance of an immigrant visa to Canada, which confers permanent status upon the applicant who, as a permanent resident, will enjoy all the same rights and privileges as those of a Canadian citizen (i.e. free health care, free elementary and secondary education, subsidized post-secondary education, the right to work in Canada) with just a few exceptions.
Unlike Canadian citizens,
(i) a permanent resident cannot vote;
(ii) a permanent resident cannot hold a Canadian passport;
(iii) a permanent resident can be deported for certain criminal convictions.
A permanent resident is eligible to apply for Canadian Citizenship after three (3) years of becoming a resident. One is eligible to apply for a Canadian passport after obtaining Canadian Citizenship.
Pursuant to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of Canada, a permanent resident can remain outside of Canada for no more than three (3) years within any five (5) year period without being deemed to have abandoned his/her Canadian permanent resident status.
Persons to whom an immigrant visa has been issued must present themselves to an Immigration officer at one of the official ports of entry of Canada in order to become a permanent resident.
To be eligible to become a permanent resident of Canada, the aspiring resident must meet the requirements of one (1) of three (3) classes of Immigration: the Independent/Skilled Worker Class, the Family Class or the Business Class and one must apply for permanent resident status through a Canadian visa post (i.e. High Commission/Embassy/Consulate).
Temporary Status - Visitor Visas
Every year, more than 35 million people visit Canada. Many of these people must apply for a Visitor Visa (formally referred to as a Temporary Resident Visa) under Canadian Immigration laws.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act requires all visitors, except those exempt by regulation, to obtain a Visitor Visa before coming to Canada. Visitor Visa applicants must demonstrate to visa officials they have significant family, social, economic and cultural ties to their country of origin and they have sufficient means to support themselves during their visit to Canada. Applicants must also satisfy visa officials there is no risk and they will not overextend their visit to Canada.
To be able to visit Canada, visitors:
- must be healthy and might require a medical examination;
- must respect Canadian laws;
- will need a valid passport, proof of identity or other travel documents;
- will need a Visitor Visa if they are from certain countries; and may need a letter of invitation.
- Upon arriving in Canada, visitors will be asked a few short questions by an Immigration officer. The officer will stamp the visitor's passport or advise the visitor how long he/she may stay in Canada.
After arriving, a visitor may want to change the conditions of his/her visit. This is possible in special cases and must be done before the visitor's status as a temporary resident expires.
Canada does not pay for hospital or medical services for visitors. Visitors should ensure they have health insurance to pay their medical costs before they leave for Canada.