Types of Canadian Visas

Canada offers a variety of visas to accommodate the diverse needs of individuals seeking to visit, study, work, or live in the country.

Types of Canadian Visas

Canada offers a variety of visas to accommodate the diverse needs of individuals seeking to visit, study, work, or live in the country. Below is a detailed overview of the main types of Canadian visas:

1. Visitor Visas (Temporary Resident Visas)

A. Tourist Visa

  • Purpose: For individuals who want to visit Canada for tourism.
  • Validity: Usually up to 6 months.
  • Single or Multiple Entry: Can be issued as single-entry or multiple-entry visas.

B. Super Visa

  • Purpose: For parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • Validity: Allows for stays of up to 2 years per visit and is valid for up to 10 years.

C. Business Visa

  • Purpose: For business persons who need to attend meetings, conferences, or negotiate contracts.
  • Validity: Typically up to 6 months.

D. Transit Visa

  • Purpose: For individuals passing through Canada on their way to another country.
  • Validity: Usually valid for 48 hours.

2. Study Permits

A. Study Permit

  • Purpose: For students who wish to study at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada.
  • Validity: Duration of the study program, plus an additional 90 days.
  • Conditions: Requires proof of acceptance from a DLI, sufficient funds, and possibly a medical exam and police certificate.

B. Student Direct Stream (SDS)

  • Purpose: Faster processing for students from specific countries.
  • Eligibility: Available to students from countries like China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam, among others.

3. Work Permits

A. Employer-Specific Work Permit

  • Purpose: For individuals with a job offer from a specific Canadian employer.
  • Conditions: Requires a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or an exemption.

B. Open Work Permit

  • Purpose: Allows individuals to work for any Canadian employer.
  • Eligibility: Includes spouses of skilled workers and international students, and participants in specific programs like International Experience Canada (IEC).

C. Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

  • Purpose: For graduates of Canadian post-secondary institutions.
  • Validity: Up to 3 years, depending on the length of the study program.

D. International Experience Canada (IEC)

  • Purpose: For young individuals from participating countries to work and travel in Canada.
  • Categories: Includes Working Holiday, Young Professionals, and International Co-op (Internship).

4. Permanent Residence Visas

A. Express Entry System

  • Purpose: For skilled workers who want to become permanent residents.
  • Programs:

    • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
    • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
    • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

  • Criteria: Based on factors like age, education, work experience, and language proficiency.

B. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

  • Purpose: For individuals nominated by a Canadian province or territory.
  • Criteria: Varies by province and territory, often aligned with local labor market needs.

C. Family Sponsorship

  • Purpose: For Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor close family members.
  • Eligible Relatives: Includes spouses, common-law partners, dependent children, parents, and grandparents.

D. Start-Up Visa

  • Purpose: For entrepreneurs who have a business idea supported by a designated organization.
  • Criteria: Includes language proficiency, sufficient funds, and commitment from a designated organization.

E. Self-Employed Persons Program

  • Purpose: For individuals with relevant experience in cultural activities, athletics, or farm management.
  • Criteria: Must demonstrate an ability to be self-employed in Canada.

5. Humanitarian and Refugee Visas

A. Refugee Claim

  • Purpose: For individuals seeking asylum in Canada.
  • Eligibility: Must prove fear of persecution in their home country.

B. Protected Persons

  • Purpose: For individuals who have been granted refugee status or protected person status in Canada.
  • Eligibility: Includes those recognized as Convention refugees or persons in need of protection.

C. Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds

  • Purpose: For individuals who would face extreme hardship if required to leave Canada.
  • Eligibility: Considerations include ties to Canada, best interests of any children involved, and other compassionate factors.

6. Temporary Resident Permits

A. Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)

  • Purpose: For individuals who are inadmissible to Canada but have a valid reason to enter.
  • Validity: Duration varies based on the reason for entry and the discretion of the immigration officer.


Understanding the different types of Canadian visas is crucial for determining the right path for your visit, study, work, or immigration plans. Each visa category has specific requirements and conditions, so it’s essential to carefully review the criteria and prepare the necessary documentation to increase the chances of a successful application. Whether you are a student, worker, entrepreneur, or family member, Canada offers a variety of options to suit your needs.