February 3, 2024

Understanding Canada’s Different Visa Types

Numerous possibilities for both temporary and permanent visas are available in Canada. To choose the right visa category for you and to prepare your application efficiently, you must have a thorough understanding of each one.

A Canadian visa is an official document issued by the Canadian government that enables visitors from other countries to enter and remain in the nation for a predetermined amount of time. This entry document, which is not to be confused with a work or study permit, is issued by foreign government agencies in Canada and is usually carried inside a passport.

There are various kinds of Canadian visas, and each one is intended for a certain use, such travel for business or pleasure, or visiting family.

A Canadian visa acts as the first authorization, allowing people from all over the world to investigate the many experiences and chances that Canada provides, ranging from its rich cultural heritage to its educational establishments and career opportunities.

Category Codes for Canadian Visas

Depending on the type of visa and the reason for the visit, there can be differences in the category codes for Canadian visas.

Your passport's visa label or stamp bears the category code. Typically, the kind or category of the visa is indicated by a combination of letters and numbers.

Categories of Canadian Visas

Temporary Permits

Foreign nationals can visit Canada temporarily with a temporary visa. What type of temporary visa you hold will determine what you may and cannot do while in Canada. In the event that your temporary visa expires, you are required to depart Canada.

If you don't want to make Canada your permanent home, a temporary visa might be the best option for you.

If you can't now apply for any permanent residency immigration programs, entering Canada as a worker or student may nevertheless give you a path to permanent status.

1. Employment

As long as they abide by the terms of their work permit, anyone in possession of a work visa is free to live and work in Canada for the duration of its validity.

A work permit and a work visa are closely related, and the kind of work permit you receive will depend on the particular program you have applied for or your preferred immigration pathway. Different work permits are available, each designed for a particular immigration pathway or set of programs.

Open Work Permit:

This kind of permission eliminates the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and lets you work for any business, wherever in Canada.

This is a very rare and highly sought-after permission that is often exclusively granted to adults who are traveling with their family on a study permit.

Work permit specific to employer:

You could be able to enter Canada with an employer-specific work permit provided you have a legitimate job offer from that particular employer. A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), a document proving the business looked for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to fill the position before offering it to a foreigner, is typically required for an employer-specific work permit.

After entering Canada with an employer-specific work permit, anyone who wants to change jobs must apply for a new work permit.

Post-Graduation Permit to Work:

After graduating, foreign graduates can reside and work in Canada with an open work permit. The Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP), which has a maximum duration of three years, is contingent upon the duration of the course or program you completed.

Experience Canada International (IEC):

Through bilateral agreements, Canada has made it possible for nationals of those nations to visit and work here through International Experience Canada (IEC). The following three categories are covered by the IEC:

  1. Working holiday: Job seekers who work for several companies without receiving a job offer, sometimes in several locations, in an effort to make enough money to travel.
  2. Young professional: You can work for the same employer in one place for the duration of your stay in Canada if the employment you now have in Canada advances your professional growth.
  3. International Co-op Internship: Applicants may submit an employer-specific work permit application under this category if they are enrolled in a post-secondary educational institution and have a legitimate job offer for an internship or work placement in Canada. This also holds true for students who want to work for the same company in the same area throughout their stay in Canada yet need to finish an internship in order to graduate.


2. Study

A study permit is required if you wish to enroll in a program at a Canadian university that lasts longer than six months.

You must first be accepted into a program at a Canadian school and present a letter of acceptance from this school in order to apply for a study permit. In order to study in Canada, you must additionally demonstrate that you have enough money, are not ineligible, and plan to leave the country after your study permission expires.

Candidates who are not currently qualified for a permanent immigration program could consider studying in Canada.

You can apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) and obtain important work experience in Canada by completing a credential from a Designated Learning Institute (DLI). This work experience can be utilized to apply for permanent residency in the future.

3. Visitor

One of the following is required to enter Canada if you intend to travel there.

Visa for Single Entry:

This gives you a single, predetermined visitation to Canada. Even if your original single-entry visa is still valid, you will need to reapply for a new visitor visa in order to return after leaving the country. With this visa, your maximum stay in Canada is six months.

Visitor Visa with Multiple Entry:

With this visa, travelers can enter and exit the nation for up to six months without having to apply again. The validity period for this kind of visa is up to ten years. Thanks to a change in immigration legislation in February 2014, even if you apply for a single-entry visa, you are immediately assessed for a multiple entrance visa.

Super Visa:

Parents or grandparents of someone who is currently a citizen or permanent resident of Canada may be granted a Super Visa. This is a multiple-entry, extended-stay temporary resident visa, with a maximum 10-year validity period. Additionally, instead of the maximum 6-month stay allowed by single- and multiple-entry visitor visas, the tourist may stay in Canada for up to 24 months on their first visit.

Authorization for Travel by Electronic Device:

If you intend to visit Canada by air and you are a citizen of a nation exempt from requiring a visa, and you do not currently possess a valid study or work permit, you must apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). The lone exemption is for US citizens, who, provided they are travelling with a US passport, are permitted entry into Canada without the need for an ETA.

3. Permanent Residency

You must apply for Canadian permanent residence if you've made the decision to live there permanently. Any of the following immigration paths can result in permanent residency in Canada, regardless of which one you select.

You can work in any field you choose after you obtain permanent residence in Canada. You can also sponsor your parents, grandparents, or spouse in the future.

1. Express Entry

The quickest and most well-liked route to permanent residency in Canada is through Express Entry. The Federal Skilled Workers, Federal Skilled Trades, and Canadian Experience Class are the three primary economic immigration programs that are managed under the Express Entry system.

You have to submit a profile to the Express Entry pool if you are qualified for any of the programs run by the program. Your profile is evaluated after you are in the pool in comparison to all the other candidates' profiles. An invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence in Canada is subsequently sent to the top-ranked individuals in the pool.

As little as six months may pass before applications filed under the Express Entry system are processed.

Federal Program for Skilled Workers:

You may be qualified to apply for Express Entry under the Federal Skilled Worker Program if you have at least one year of skilled job experience, meet the minimal language criteria in either French or English, and receive at least 67 out of 100 points on the FSW selection grid.

Federal Program for Skilled Trades:

You may be eligible to apply for Express Entry under the Federal Skilled Trades program if you have two years of experience in a skilled trade, meet the minimum language requirements in French or English, and have a job offer in your skilled trade in Canada or a Canadian certificate of qualification to practice your trade in Canada.

Canadian Experience Class:

You may be qualified to apply for Express Entry under the Canadian Experience Class if you have worked in Canada for at least a year with a valid work permit and meet the basic language criteria. Recall, however, that regardless of the program for which they qualify, your profile will still be compared to all the other profiles in the pool.

2. The PNP, or Provincial Nominee Program

With the exception of Quebec, each Canadian province runs its own Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), which is a means of attracting immigrants. Each province has different requirements and application guidelines for its various streams.

Although a connection to the province is often required for PNP applications, there are other programs available for foreign workers that address particular labor market needs or demographic disparities.

3. Quebec Immigration

When it comes to immigration laws, the Province of Quebec is more independent than the other provinces in Canada.

Before applying to the federal government, all applicants for temporary or permanent visas who plan to live in the province of Quebec must first apply and receive clearance from the province.

Quebec Experience Class:

The Quebec version of the Canadian Experience Class program is this expedited immigration program to Canada, which is managed by Immigration Quebec. You must be an international student studying in Quebec or a temporary worker in order to be eligible for the Quebec Experience Class (PEQ).

If you are a temporary employee, you need to be employed by a Quebec-based company and have a valid work permit. Along with advanced-intermediate French language, you must also have at least 12 months of work experience (Skill level O, A, or B).

If you are an overseas student or a recent graduate of an international school, you must be proficient in advanced-intermediate French and hold an appropriate degree or anticipate finishing your program in less than six months.

Skilled Worker in Quebec:

The Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program does not require a job offer, in contrast to many other provincial programs. Additionally, fluency in French is not required.

Like Express Entry, QSW uses a point system to operate. In order to submit an Arrima profile, candidates must first fulfill the minimum score needed on the QSW points grid.

The best contenders are then invited to apply for permanent selection in Quebec through monthly draws.

4. Sponsorship

Your family have the option to live, study, and work in Canada if they are granted permanent residency. You can sponsor your parents, spouse, and children to immigrate to Canada provided you are at least eighteen years old and meet certain requirements. Being a Canadian citizen, having permanent resident status, or being registered as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act are the requirements for being a sponsor.


Navigating the diverse landscape of Canadian visas requires a comprehensive understanding, considering temporary permits, employment, study, visitor visas, and the path to permanent residency. Categories like work permits for various job types, study permits for academic pursuits, and visitor visas for different entry options showcase the flexibility. The blog highlights the importance of understanding category codes on passports and emphasizes how Pelican Migration Consultants can simplify this complex process.

How Pelican Migration Consultants Can Help:

Pelican Migration Consultants streamlines the intricate process of obtaining a Canadian visa by providing expert guidance tailored to individual needs. Whether pursuing employment with diverse work permit options, advancing education through study permits, or planning a visit with various visitor visas, Pelican ensures efficient and accurate application processes. Their expertise extends to the complexities of permanent residency paths, such as Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), Quebec Immigration, and family sponsorship, offering comprehensive support for a successful journey to Canada.