Visa Application Process to Move to Canada in 2023

‍Are you considering applying for a Canadian visa? Whether you're looking to move to Canada permanently, study, work, travel, or visit family, you'll need to apply for a visa to enter the country.

Applying for a Canadian visa can be complicated, so it's essential to understand all the steps involved before you start your application. 

This blog will provide an overview of the Canadian visa system, the types of visas available, and a step-by-step guide to help you understand how to get a visa for Canada.

The Canadian Visa System

how to get a visa for canada

The Canadian visa system is managed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). IRCC is responsible for processing all visa applications and determining who is eligible to enter Canada.

The Canadian visa system is designed to protect the rights of all immigrants. Canada has strict laws to ensure that everyone granted a visa is treated fairly and given the same rights and privileges as any Canadian.

There are many benefits to obtaining a Canadian visa. First and foremost, it allows you to live and work in Canada, which can be an excellent opportunity for those looking to start a new life in a new country.

A Canadian visa allows you to take advantage of Canadian legal and financial services and access the Canadian job market.

Finally, a Canadian visa can open up new possibilities for those looking to explore the country and experience Canada's culture, scenery, and people.

Step 1: Ensure You're Admissible to Canada

You must meet specific Canada visa requirements to be eligible for a visa. These requirements vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for. However, all visa applicants must:

  • Have a valid passport
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Be in good health
  • Have proof of financial support
  • Demonstrate that you will leave Canada once your visa expires

Step 2: Choose Your Visa Type

There are several different types of Canadian visas available. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for various visas. Here are some of the most popular types of Canadian visas:

Canadian Tourist Visa

The Canadian tourist visa is the best for those who want to travel to Canada but don't want to start a new life there. This visa allows you to travel to Canada for up to 6 months over ten years, giving you plenty of time to soak in some of the beautiful nature, vibrant cities and unique culture Canada provides in spades. Also, learn more about some great activities you can enjoy while in Canada.

You must have a valid passport and a return ticket to qualify for this visa.

However, it is essential to note that this visa does not allow you to work or study in Canada.

Find out how to apply for a Canadian tourist visa and ensure you get your tourist visa here.

Canadian Business Visitor Visa

The Canadian business visitor visa is another type of Canadian visa popular with business travelers. It is designed for business people who intend to spend time in Canada to develop their business, invest in Canada, or establish business connections in international business markets.

This visa allows you to conduct limited business activities in Canada for up to six months. You cannot work in Canada with this visa. To be eligible for this visa, among other requirements, you must have a valid passport and a business plan.

If approved for a business visitor visa, you will receive a visa to conduct business activities in Canada.

If you need to conduct business in Canada, here's a breakdown of the Canadian Business Visitor visa and how to apply.

Canadian Super Visa

The Canadian super visa is another popular Canadian visa for parents and grandparents of a family who are permanent residents in Canada.those looking to visit family in Canada. This visa allows you to visit your family in Canada for up to five two years at a time, multiple times over ten years. To be eligible for this visa, among other requirements, you must have a valid passport and an invitation from your family to Canada.

Once you have submitted your application, it will be reviewed by IRCC, and a decision will be made on whether or not you are eligible for a Super Visa.

However, it is essential to note that this visa does not allow you to work or study in Canada.

Canadian Work Visa

The Canadian work visa is one of the most popular. This type of visa allows you to work in Canada for a specific period. To be eligible for this visa, you must have a job offer from a Canadian employer or apply for a particular immigration program.

If approved for a work visa, you will be issued a work permit to live and work in Canada for a specified period. However, it is essential to note that this visa does not allow you to stay in Canada permanently.

Find out how to apply for a Canadian work visa and ensure your eligibility here.

Canadian Student Visa

The Canadian student visa is another popular type of Canadian visa. This visa allows you to study in Canada for a specific period. You must be accepted into a Canadian school or university to be eligible for this visa.

If you are approved for a student visa, you will be issued a study permit to attend school in Canada for the length of your study program.

However, you may be allowed to remain in Canada after you complete your program if you apply for a Postgraduate Work Permit Program, which will grant you an Open Work Permit, allowing you to stay in Canada and change jobs multiple times for up to three years, which can make you eligible for permanent residence in Canada through programs such as the Express Entry system's Canadian Experience Class.

Learn how you can apply for a Canadian Student Visa here.

Canadian Working Holiday Visa

The Canadian Working Holiday visa is another type of Canadian visa popular with young travelers. This visa program gives young people from a specified list of countries an Open Work permit allowing them to work and travel in Canada for up to two years.

As part of your Open Work permit terms, you can change jobs at will and live and work in various occupations and environments throughout Canada.

On this program, you can experience all that life in Canada has to offer and earn Canadian dollars while you travel. Find out more about the fantastic opportunities with the Canadian Working Holiday Visa here.

Need Help Deciding Which Visa is Right for You?

Suppose you want to start your Canadian journey but need help determining which visa you're eligible for. In that case, you should seek the advice of a certified immigration expert like a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC).

RCICs can give you a complete visa evaluation which can help determine which visa program you're most eligible for and help you through every step of the application process to ensure that you fulfill all of your Canada visa requirements and get your visa as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Step 3: Gather All Required Documents

Gather Your Documentation

While different visas require different documents to prove your intentions when you arrive in Canada, the IRCC has a document checklist to help you ensure you have all the documents you need to be admitted to Canada.

If you apply with missing required documents, your application will be incomplete and take far longer to process. You must complete multiple forms and submit supporting documentation for your application. These include but are not limited to:



  • Proof of Identity via certified copies of either a passport or travel document.
  • Two Passport-sized photographs
  • Proof you can support yourself and your dependents.
  • Purpose of Travel
    • Your local visa office will specify this.
  • Proof of Fee Payment

Step 4: Create An Account On the IRCC Website

Once you've gathered your resources, you create your account on the IRCC website. When you create your account, you will state your purpose for getting a visa for Canada and receive instructions detailing how to set up your account and submit your documentation.

Step 5: Pay The Visa Application Fee

Before submitting your documentation, you must ensure your application fees are fully paid. You can do this via the IRCC website or your local visa office. The application fees for each visa are as follows:

Canadian Visa Fees CAD
Temporary resident visa – Single- or multiple-entry 100
Work Visa 465
Open work Visa fee 100
Study Visa 150

Depending on your visa, you may have further processing fees. These will be detailed in your instruction guide.

Step 6: Submit Your Application

Once you've acquired and uploaded your documents, you can submit your application.

After You Apply

After You Apply for a Canadian Visa

Once you apply, you must wait for the IRCC processing time before you receive your visa. If any documents need to be included or the IRCC requires anything more from you, they will notify you via your online account.

It is essential to note that applying for a Canadian visa can take several months. Hence, it is necessary to be patient and allow enough time for your application to be processed. However, every visa has a different processing time. To determine how long your visa will take to process, here's a guide on how to ensure smooth processing with IRCC.

Tips to Help Ensure a Smooth Application Process

Applying for a Canadian visa can be complicated and time-consuming. Here are some tips to help ensure a smooth application process:

Be Prepared

Before applying, ensure you have all the required documents and information.

Be Organized

Please keep all your documents safe and ensure they are organized and easy to access.

Be Patient

Allow enough time for your application to be processed. The process can take several months, so make sure to plan accordingly.

Be Accurate

Ensure all the information you provide is accurate and up-to-date, and be honest about all the information you provide in your application.

Use an RCIC

Ensure your visa application is successful with an RCIC. An RCIC will help you determine your eligibility and ensure all your documents are in order before submitting your application. Learn more about how an RCIC can maximize your chances of getting a Canadian Visa here.


how to get a visa for canada

Need more help applying for a Canadian visa? Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about Canadian visas:

Can I Work In Canada If I Have a Canadian Visa?

That depends on the type of visa you have. Different visas allow you different rights and privileges; you should know exactly what those are before applying.

Can I Become a Canadian Citizen if I Have a Canadian Visa?

No. To become a Canadian citizen, among other requirements, you must live in Canada for at least three years out of five and be a permanent resident of Canada.

Find out more about what you need to become a Canadian citizen here.

What if My Visa Application is Rejected?

If your visa application is rejected, do not panic. Instead, here's a breakdown of your options and ways you can get help.

Start Your Journey North

Now that you know how to get a visa for Canada, it's time to start your journey. With over 100 visa and immigration programs, knowing which program is best for you can be difficult. On top of that, once you've chosen your program, you must get through the often thorough and detailed application processes.

To ensure your process goes smoothly and you get the visa, you should speak to a professional like an RCIC. An RCIC can help you set out your online profiles, fill out your application forms, curate your CV to Canadian standards, keep you updated on the progress of your application, help you write letters of motivation, represent you with certain government bodies and provide you with the advice and support you need throughout your application process.