At the beginning of 2021, there are still some barriers to entry for certain Canadian visa programs. However, if things continue the way they are, we believe that as the year progresses all programs will begin opening up as we return to some form of normalcy. Depending on if you want to visit, study, work or immigrate to Canada, these are the fastest ways you can apply for a Canadian visa in 2021.
Keep in mind that some of these visas may not be available at present, as the travel visa, but that is no reason to not plan and ready yourself so that when processing does begin, you are first in line. Others, like the immigration and study visas, are available and ready for prospective candidates to apply.
Canadian Visas With The Fastest Processing Times
1. Canada's Visitor Visa
This visa has the shortest processing time. If your application is complete, error-free, and accompanied by all the necessary supporting documents, you can be granted a Canadian travel permit in as little as two weeks. Some countries, such as the EU and American citizens, only require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) which can be applied for entirely online.
On a travel permit, you can go to visit Canada for up to 6 months and search for a job, but this is very important: you may not work in Canada under a visitor's permit. If you are caught, you will be fined, deported, and won’t be allowed to return for up to five years. Do not take the chance of working under the table, it’s not worth the potential consequences. Rather seek a job offer from a legitimate employer, and apply for your Temporary Foreign Work Permit (TFWP), which you can do from inside Canada, and which is also on this list.
The requirements to be eligible for a travel permit are fairly straight forward:
- Have a valid travel document;
- Be in good health and have travel insurance;
- Have no criminal record;
- Be able to show that you have a reason to return home after your travels, such as family, a job, ongoing business or property owned; and
- Show that you have the financial resources to cover your expenses while traveling, and for your return ticket.
Canada Study Permit
If you want to study in Canada, you must apply to a Designated Learning Organization (DLI). These are universities and colleges that have been approved by the Canadian government to accept foreign students. Once you have been accepted to a DLI, you can apply for your Canada study permit.
The Student Direct Stream grants citizens of the following countries their study permits in only 20 days, granted you can provide all the required supporting documents:
- the Philippines
If you are not from one of the countries listed above, the average processing time for a study permit is 10 weeks. Not too bad considering after graduation, there are many options that will allow you to stay in Canada permanently.
Temporary Foreign Work Permit
If you can secure a Canadian job offer, you will be granted an employer-specific work permit with conditions as applicable to your offer of employment, such as duration and location. You can apply for a work permit from inside or outside Canada with an average processing time of 9 weeks regardless of where you apply from.
It can be hard to secure a job in Canada as most Canadian employers require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to be able to hire foreign workers over citizens and permanent residents. While thousands of employers do have this in place, many do not. There are also provinces where employers do not require an LMIA to hire foreign workers, such as entire Atlantic Canada, just something to keep in mind.
Your work experience can lead to permanent residence in Canada through a number of programs; such as the Canada Experience Class, the Provincial Nomination Program of the province you are working in, and of course the aforementioned Atlantic Immigration Pilot.
Express Entry Visa
The fastest way to getting permanent residency in Canada is through the Express Entry System. It’s quite literally in the name. You can apply from inside or outside of Canada and processing can be done in as little as 6 months.
To apply for Express Entry, you are required to create an online profile for yourself and your spouse/partner. You will provide information relating to your age, level of education and work experience, language ability, and so on. This will be used to calculate a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score for your profile and you will enter a pool of applicants. Twice a month draws take place where applicants with the highest scores are invited to apply (ITA) for permanent residency.
From here all you need to do is provide backup for your education, work experience, and financial resources and if all is in order you will be invited to Canada as a permanent resident. You can then buy or rent a home, find a job and enjoy a long and happy life in one of the best countries in the world.
The Express Entry System has 3 immigration programs:
- Skilled Worker Program - if you have work experience and a qualification as a manager or in a professional occupation, such as engineers, accountants, and IT professionals, you may be eligible for this program.
- Skilled Trades Program - If you have at least 2 years of experience or a qualification as a skilled trades worker, such as carpenters, welders, and plumbers, you may be eligible for this program.
- Canada Experience Class - mentioned above, if you have at least one year of experience working in Canada under a TFWP, and work in an occupation eligible for one of the above categories, you fall into this program which receives preference over the other two. International graduates from Canadian universities and colleges who continue to live and work in Canada also often apply for permanent residency through this program.
International Experience Canada
The famous working holiday visa. If you want to work and travel in Canada for up to two years, this is the best program to do it. The work permit application assessment part of your visa, which is the main part, takes up to 56 days to process (8 weeks).
There are three pools you can enter:
- Working Holiday Visa - this is the typical work and travel permit. You will be granted an open work permit allowing you to work for multiple employers in semi-permanent or seasonal jobs, such as at ski-resorts, on farms, or in retail.
- International Co-op (Internship) Visa - if you are currently enrolled at a post-secondary institution, and your work experience in Canada will contribute to the completion of your course, this is the program for you. You will be granted an employer-specific work permit with the details of your internship thereon.
- Young Professionals Visa - for young professionals (under 35) with a job offer in Canada that will contribute to their professional development. You will also be granted an employer-specific work permit, if you change employers you must have your work permit amended.
Make sure that your job offer is for paid employment, and self-employment does not count.
Should I Apply For A Canadian Visa?
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) endeavors to make the process as efficient as possible for foreigners who want to come to live in Canada, temporarily or permanently. They do however also take the process very seriously, and transgressors are dealt with severely. So if you want to travel to Canada whether it be for work, study or just to visit, it is imperative that you apply for the correct visa through the correct channels. When thinking about the fastest ways to apply for a Canadian visa in 2021, also think about the right way to apply.