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Immigrating to Canada


If you are planning to settle in Canada, you must first determine whether you are eligible for a visa. Different programs are available for expatriates. Relating formalities are explained in this article.

If you want to settle in Canada, you have to meet some important criteria. There are numerous procedures to travel to Canada and to settling here. First of all, you should determine which immigration program suits you best by visiting the Canadian immigration website. You also need to check the list of countries and territories whose members are authorized in Canada without a visa.

 Good to know:

Since September 2016, foreign nationals who are exempt from the visa requirement have to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to travel to Canada, except for US nationals and those who already have a valid visa.


You should opt for the immigration program which best meets your needs and those of your family. You can then apply either as a tourist, as a student, or as a temporary worker. To immigrate to Canada permanently, you must seek information before you choose one of several programs:

  • Skilled Workers and Professionals
  • Federal Skilled Trades program
  • Skilled workers (Quebec)
  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed
  • Sponsor a family member
  • Provincial Nominee
  • Caregivers living
  • Refugees

Since 2013, people from 29 countries and one territory applying for a temporary resident visa, study permit or work permit must apply in person and give their fingerprints and a photography.

Types of visa for Canada

If you do not belong to one of these countries and territory and if you're just crossing Canada without visiting, you must obtain a transit visa. You will not need a visa if you are going to or traveling from the United States. Please note that the transit visa is free of charge. 

You can go to Canada as a tourist, as parents or grandparents to visit your children or grandchildren, for business, and also through Canada without visiting.

Extend your stay in Canada

To extend your stay in the country you must apply at least 30 days before the expiration of your status. It is strongly advised to have specific documents in hand when you enter Canada.

 Useful links:

Government of Canada - Determine your eligibility www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/eligibility.asp
Government of Canada - Find out if you need an ETA or a visitor visa www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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See also

To live in Quebec as a permanent resident, you must obtain a Quebec Selection Certificate. You can apply for the CSQ at the immigration department.
Looking forward to travel to Quebec ? You are probably wondering about relating formalities. Have a look at this article for more information.
Wondering how to get married in Quebec? Expat.com explains the procedures relating to getting married in Quebec in this article.
Looking forward to get married in Canada? What are the relating procedures? Expat.com explains all that you need to know about getting married in Canada.
If you want to travel across Canada and Quebec without stopping, you will need a transit visa. To obtain this visa, contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada or the Border Services Agency of Canada.

Would you like to live in Canada?

Find useful information in our expatriate guide.