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Canada - Visas

In order to visit Canada you must be able to show a valid travel document such as a passport and have an Electronic Travel Authorisation. UK, US and other European citizens don’t usually need a visa if visiting the country for a short time. On arrival you will have to show that you have sufficient funds to support yourself, even if you are planning to stay with family or friends.

The eTA is a new travel requirement for all visa-exempt foreign nationals, and is valid for five years. It is only necessary if flying into Canada, and is not needed if entering the country by land or sea. It costs $7 and most applications receive a response within minutes of applying. It is electronically linked to your passport so isn’t printed or visible as a stamp. It is advisable to apply for the eTA before booking your flight, as you won’t be able to fly without it.

Citizens from non-visa-exempt countries have to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa, which limits length of stay. A temporary resident is allowed to follow a program of study for up to six months without the need for a study permit. Visitors are not, however, allowed to work without a work permit.

There are three types of visa available to the non visa-exempt foreign national:

Single-entry visa

-allows the holder to enter Canada once during the validity of the visa
-can be issued up to six months prior to the expected date of travel
-must have an expiry date of at least a month after the expected date of arrival in Canada.

Multiple-entry visa

-allows the holder to enter Canada from any country as many times as they like during the validity of the visa
-long-term validity for legitimate travellers with maximum validity of ten years

Transit visa

-those required to obtain a visa to enter Canada also need a transit visa to travel through the country without stopping or visiting, even if they will be in the country for less than 48 hours.

Most visitors can stay as a tourist in the country for up to six months, after which they will have to apply for an extension if they wish to stay longer. If you are planning on working in Canada you will have to apply for a work permit, and it is definitely best to apply for this before you arrive. If you plan on working in Canada for a maximum of four years you will have to apply for a temporary work permit. You will also usually have to present a contract or written job offer from your employer to support your case. If you are planning on working in the country for more than four years you will have to obtain permanent residency. However, some professions are exempt from needing a work permit, for example the emergency services and clergy.

There are two types of work permit: open work permits and employer-specific permits.

An open permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada. An employer-specific permit only allows you to work for the employer featured on your permit, for the length of time stated on the permit.

Express Entry

Skilled workers can apply for permanent residency through the Express Entry system. Eligibility is assessed dependent on skills, work experience, language ability and education, among other things. Any applicant who does not have a legitimate job offer must register with the ESDC Job Bank, which will match them to eligible employers in Canada. Meeting the requirements for the Express Entry pool does not guarantee invitation to apply for residency. Candidates are ranked against other applicants using a points system, and those ranked highest are invited to apply for permanent residency. It can be a lengthy process, with candidates remaining in the Express Entry pool for up to a year, although applications for residency are usually processed within six months.

Read more about this country

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