Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Permanent Residence and

Workers and Professionals

Canadian Experience
Immigration Program
Spousal Sponsorship

Family Sponsorship

Visitor Visas

Study Permits
Work Permits Miscellaneous

Permanent Residence and

Q: What is a permanent resident status?

A: A permanent resident is a person who has immigrated to Canada. To keep the status, a permanent resident must live in Canada for at least two years in a five year period.

Q: Do current Permanent Resident Card holders have to apply to get a new card?

A: No. Current permanent residents only need to get a new card when their existing Permanent Resident Card expires. In the meantime, their existing card is still valid.

Q: If I have been granted citizenship, what happens to my Permanent Resident Card?

A: Once you become a citizen of Canada, your permanent resident status will be revoked.

Q: Do I become a Canadian when I marry a Canadian?

A: No. Marriage to a Canadian citizen does not give you citizenship. You must first apply and obtain permanent residence, then apply for Canadian citizenship and meet the same requirements as any other person seeking citizenship in Canada.

Q: I was born outside Canada to be a Canadian parent. Will my children be Canadian?

A: If your children are born in Canada, they will be Canadian. If your children are born outside Canada on or after April 17, 2009, they will be Canadian only if their other parent was born in Canada or became a Canadian citizen by immigrating there as a permanent resident and subsequently being granted citizenship (also called naturalization).

If your children are born outside Canada while you are working outside Canada for the Canadian government, a Canadian province, or serving outside Canada with the Canadian Forces, they will be Canadian. (This exception does not apply to Canadian employed as locally-engaged staff outside the country.) Some naturalized citizens became citizens by descent by operation of law on April 17, 2009. If you think this may apply to you and you need more information, please contact us.

Q: I am still a citizen of another country. Will I lose that citizenship if I become a Canadian?

A: Canadians are allowed to be citizens of Canada and also another country or dual citizenship status. However, some countries will not let you keep their citizenship if you become a Canadian citizen. The consulate or embassy of your other country of citizenship can let you know if this applies to you.

Q: What is a dual citizenship?

A: Dual citizenship is when you are recognized as a citizen by more than one country.

Q: Can I apply in person?

A: No. Applications must be mailed to the appropriate address.

Q: Do I get credit for time I spent in Canada before becoming a permanent resident?

A: Yes, in some cases.

Q: When can I apply for citizenship?

A: You must have lived in Canada for at least three years (1,095 days) and meet specific conditions.

Q: Can I apply even if I have been absent temporarily from Canada?

A: Yes, as long as you have lived at least 1,095 days in Canada.

Skilled Workers and Professionals:

Q: What is a “federal skilled worker”?

A: A federal skilled worker refers to the category under which skilled workers apply if they want to live in any Canadian province or territory except Quebec. Skilled workers are selected as permanent residents based on their education, work experience, knowledge of English/French, and other criteria that have been shown to help them become economically established in Canada.

Q: What if I have already applied and want to withdraw my application? Can I get my money back?

A: You can contact your local visa office and withdraw your application. Your fee will be refunded as long as the office has not begun processing your application.

Q: What is arranged employment?

A: Arranged employment is where a skilled worker applicant has a certain kind of job offer in place before applying to immigrate to Canada.

Canadian Experience Class:

Q: I have met the requirements to apply under the Canadian Experience Class but have since returned to my home country. Am I eligible to apply under the Canadian Experience Class?

A: Yes, but you must apply within a year of leaving your job in Canada. If you left your job more than one year ago, you no longer meet the requirements.

Q: Is there an education requirement for a skilled temporary foreign worker who wants to apply to stay permanently?

A: No.

Q: Does part-time work experience count toward meeting the requirements for work experience?

A: Yes, but it will take you longer to accumulate the amount of hours necessary to apply than an applicant who has worked full-time.

Q: I want to apply as a graduate. Can part-time work experience during my full-time studies in Canada be counted toward the one-year requirement?

A: No. Your work experience must be gained after graduation.

Q: If I don’t have a total of two years of Canadian post-secondary education, are there any other options to apply to stay permanently under the Canadian Experience Class?

A: No. However, if you do not meet the requirements to apply as a graduate, you can position yourself to apply as a skilled temporary foreign worker. To do this, you must gain two years of skilled work experience.

Having completed a one-year post-secondary educational program in Canada, you qualify for a one-year open work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit program. You may use this permit to gain your first year of skilled work experience. This may lead to other employment opportunities toward gaining your second year. An employer may need to sponsor you for employment beyond your first year.

Q: Can English/French as-a-second-language courses count as education if there is a second language component?

A: Yes, but the second language component must account for less than half of the course load or it will not qualify towards education requirements under the Canadian Experience Class.

Q: If I have already submitted an application for permanent residence as a skilled worker, can I still apply under this category?

A: Yes, but applicants are required to submit a new application with new fees. If CIC has not started processing the skilled worker application, the applicant could withdraw it and may be entitled to a refund. However, the applicant will have to choose under which one the permanent resident status will be granted.

Q: Is the Canadian Experience Class open to temporary residents of Quebec?

A: Yes, experience in Quebec can be counted–but only if you plan to live outside that province.

Q: Canada has agreements with several countries to allow their citizens to work in Canada temporarily under a working holiday program. If part or all of my work experience in Canada was gained under such a program, can it be counted towards work experience requirement under Canadian Experience Class?

A: Yes. However, your work must still be classified as NOC 0, A or B.
Business Immigration Program:

Q: How do I satisfy Citizenship and Immigration Canada that my net worth was obtained legally?

A: You will have to satisfy the visa officer that no portion of your net worth was obtained as a result of criminal activity. You should be able to explain material differences between your net income over the years and your present net worth, and to comply with reasonable requests for documents to back up both your income sources and the components of your net worth.

Q: Where do most entrepreneurs come from?

A: Entrepreneurs come from all over the world. Currently, the majority of entrepreneurs are from China, Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong, but there are also large numbers of them applying from the Middle East and elsewhere.

Q: What is meant by “cultural activities”?

A: Cultural activities generally refer to occupations that are part of Canada’s artistic and cultural field. Several examples are: authors, writers, creative and performing artists, musicians, painters, sculptors and other visual artists, technical support and occupations in motion pictures, creative designers and craftspeople.

Q: What does the simplified application process involve?

A: The applicant must complete and submit a three-page form along with the required processing fees; this secures them a place in the processing line. Supporting documents will be requested at a later date. A letter of receipt provides advice to the applicant on labour-market preparation. The letter also encourages applicants to take advantage of the
waiting period.

Q: What supporting documents are required?

A: Supporting documentation would include education documents or other certificates attesting to the educational level, employment letters confirming work experience, language test results, police certificates, birth and marriage certificates, and bank statements confirming the applicant’s funds.

Spousal Sponsorship

Q: If I have overstayed my visa or visitor record or if I have been working or studying without a permit, can I apply for permanent residence under the Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada Class?

A: Yes.

Q: I entered Canada without a valid passport or travel document. Can I apply for permanent residence under the Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada Class?

A: Yes. You can apply under the public policy relating to the Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada Class. However, you must obtain a valid passport from your home country or travel documents before Citizenship and Immigration Canada will grant you permanent residence.

Q: Can I cancel my application once it has been approved?

A: If you change your mind about sponsoring a family member, you must write a letter to the appropriate Case Processing Centre before a permanent resident visa is issued. Once permanent resident visas are issued, the promise that you and, if applicable, your co-signer, made to support your family member is valid for the term of your application.

The application is an unconditional promise of support. For example, the granting of Canadian citizenship, relationship breakdown or moving to another province does not cancel the application. The application also remains in effect if your financial situation changes and you can no longer afford to provide financial support.

Q: What family members may come with me to Canada when I immigrate?

A: The family members that can come with you to Canada when you become a permanent resident include: your spouse or common-law partner, your dependent child or your spouse or common-law partner’s dependent child and a dependent child of a dependent child.

Your parents, grandparents and other family members are not eligible to come to Canada with you. However, you can apply to sponsor them to come to Canada after you immigrate here.

Family Sponsorship

Q: Why can’t I sponsor my parents or grandparents?

A: As of November 5, 2011, no new applications to sponsor parents or grandparents will be accepted for processing for up to 24 months. This temporary pause will allow CIC to focus on applicants who are already in process and intended to reduce the backlog in the parents and grandparents category. New applications received on or after November 5,2011, will be returned to the applicant, including fees.

Q: What is different in the sponsorship process if I live in Quebec?

A: Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, the province of Quebec has a role in determining the eligibility of sponsors living in Quebec. The Quebec process begins after CIC has reviewed your sponsorship application.

You will get a letter confirming that your application has been accepted. It will tell you what steps to take with the Government of Quebec. If you meet Quebec’s eligibility criteria, then the Quebec ministry that handles immigration (ministère de l’Immigration et
des Communautés culturelles)
will issue an Engagement and Certificat de sélection du Québec (Agreement and Certificate of Selection) to you. A copy of each document will be sent to the visa office in your relative’s home country to be included in the process.

Q: What if I can’t afford to sponsor my relative? Can they come to Canada as a refugee instead?

A: Your relative is only eligible under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program if they are in a situation where they may be subject to persecution in their home country.

Visitor’s Visa:

Q: What is the difference between a single-entry visa and a multiple-entry visa?

A: There are two types of Temporary Resident Visa: a single-entry visa and a multiple-entry visa. Temporary Resident Visas are valid for a fixed period, whether they are a single-entry visa or a multiple-entry visa. You cannot use a visa after its expiry date.

Single-Entry Visa: A single-entry visa allows you to enter Canada only once.

When you arrive at the point of entry in Canada, an officer of the Canada Border Services Agency will make sure you meet the requirements to enter Canada. A stamp to ensure that your stay is authorized will be placed on your passport and/or other documents. If there is no stamp, a handwritten date or document in your passport, your temporary resident status will expire six months from the day you arrived in Canada.

If you were given a visitor record, student or work permit, the expiry date is marked on the document. If you leave Canada during your authorized stay, you must get a new visitor visa to re-enter Canada. There are two exceptions: you can visit the United States or Saint-Pierre et Miquelon and return to Canada without getting a new visa, as long as you:

  • return within the initial period authorized by the immigration officer or

  • have a valid visitor record, work permit, study permit, or a temporary resident permit (authorizing re-entry) and return within the initial period authorized by the officer.

Multiple-Entry Visa: A multiple-entry visa allows you to enter Canada several times during the period of validity, which is for a maximum of five years or one month prior to the expiry date on the passport/re-entry visa, whichever is earlier.

If a multiple-entry visa is approved, it will allow you to enter and leave Canada repeatedly during the validity period of the visa. You must arrive in Canada on or before the expiry date on your visa. You cannot get a multiple-entry visa for a period that ends after the expiry date of your passport. If your passport will expire soon, you should renew it before you apply for your visa.

If you want to visit several other countries or return to your own country before coming back to Canada, you will need a multiple-entry visa. If you plan to visit Canada frequently, a multiple-entry visa is recommended.

Q: Do I need a visa if I am travelling through Canada without stopping or visiting?

A: If your country is not included in the ‘List of Visa Exempted Countries‘ then you will be required to have a visa. If you are traveling through Canada without stopping or visiting, then you need a transit visa, even if you stop in the country for less then 48 hours. The transit visa is free.

Q: If I get sick or have an accident while I am visiting Canada, will the Government of Canada pay for my medical treatment?

A: No. The Government of Canada will not pay for hospital or medical services for visitors. Make sure you have insurance before you come to Canada.

Q: What is a business visitor?

A: A business visitor is someone who comes to Canada to engage in international business activities without directly entering the Canadian labour market. For example, someone who comes to Canada to meet with representatives of companies doing business with their country would be considered a business visitor.

Visitors may be in Canada for business meetings or site visits (to observe only). A person invited to Canada by a Canadian company for training in product use, sales or other functions related to a business transaction would also be included. Business visitors must prove that their main source of income and their main place of business are outside Canada.

Q: Does a business visitor need a special visa to enter Canada?

A: No. It is the same application as the temporary resident visa.

Q: If I am a business visitor, can I work in Canada?

A: No. You will need a work permit if you want to work.

Q: I already have a multiple-entry temporary resident visa because I was visiting a relative in Canada last year. Can I use the same visa to travel to Canada on a business trip?

A: Yes, as long as it is still valid and has not expired. You should ensure that you have documents that support your business visit to Canada.

Q: I have a temporary resident visa that I used for a recent business visit to Canada. Do I need another visa for my holidays in Canada?

A: If it is a multiple-entry visa, and the visa has not yet expired, you can use it to enter Canada for both business and tourism.

Study Permits:

Q: Do I need a study permit to study in Canada?

A: Most students need a study permit to study in Canada.

Q: Am I allowed to return home for a visit or travel outside Canada during my studies?

A: If you leave Canada and want to return, you must have:

  • a valid passport or travel documents

  • a valid study permit if you are returning to study in Canada and

  • a valid temporary resident visa if you are a citizen of a designated country for which Canada requires a visa.

If you are a citizen of a designated country and you travel to a country other than the United States, Greenland or

Saint-Pierre et Miquelon
, you will need a multiple-entry visa to re-enter Canada. If your temporary resident visa has expired or if your visa was only valid for a single entry, you must re-apply for a temporary resident visa at a Canadian visa office outside Canada before you can re-enter Canada.

Q: How do I renew my study permit while I am in Canada?

A: If you want to renew your study permit, you must apply before the permit expires. If your study permit has expired, you must leave Canada. In some cases, you may be able to apply for restoration of status. However, you are not allowed to study until your status has been restored.

Q: I am already in Canada and have a valid study permit. I would like to change my school or program of studies. What do I need to do to modify my study permit?

A: If you are a student at the primary school level and you are moving on to high school or if you are a high school student and you are moving on to post-secondary studies, you need to submit an application to modify your study permit at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta.

However, if you are enrolled in a post-secondary program (doing studies after the high school level), you may change your school, level, program and field of studies without applying for a new study permit. You don’t need to apply for a change to the condition of your study permit either. You may continue to use your study permit as long as it is valid.

Q: How do I find out if I can work while studying in Canada?

A: Foreign students can work in Canada during their studies, and after they graduate. In most cases, you will need to apply for one of the student-related work permits, which are required if you want to work in a co-op/internship placement, off campus, or after graduating from your studies (Post-Graduation Work Permit Program).

Q: Can I still work in Canada even if I don’t apply under a student-related work permit program?

A: If you are not eligible or do not want to work under a student-related work permit program (such as the Off-Campus Work Permit Program, On-Campus Work Program, Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, or Internship/Co-op Program), you can apply for a work permit to work in Canada during or after your studies under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Q: If I receive an off-campus work permit, for how long is it valid?

A: Your work permit will generally be valid for the same period as your study permit. It will allow you to work off campus until you complete your studies, as long as you still comply with the program requirements and with the conditions of both your work permit and study permit.

Q: If I am eligible and the institution where I study is participating in the program, can I apply for a job off campus right away, or do I have to wait until I receive my off-campus work permit?

A: You can apply for a job right away, but you cannot legally work off campus in Canada until you receive an off-campus work permit. If you begin to work off campus before you receive an off-campus work permit, you could become ineligible to participate in the Off-Campus Work Permit Program. It is illegal for you to work in Canada without a valid work permit.

Q: Are there any restrictions on how many hours I can work once I receive my off-campus work permit?

A: You can work up to 20 hours per week off-campus once you receive the appropriate permit. You may may work full time during scheduled breaks, such as summer/winter holidays and reading weeks.

You must be studying full-time while classes are in session and retain a satisfactory academic standing to keep your off-campus work permit.

Q: I am considering studying in Canada. Can I apply for an off-campus work permit at the same time as I apply for my study permit?

A: No.

Q: Why is the Off-Campus Work Permit Program not available to foreign students when they start their studies?

A: The likelihood of students quitting their study program is highest during the first few months of study. Citizenship and Immigration Canada wants to ensure that work permits are issued to legitimate students. When they apply, these students will be required to prove they have been studying full time for six of the last 12 months at a participating institution.

Work Permits:

Q: What is a Human Resources and Skills Development Canada confirmation?

A: The confirmation is a letter from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) to your employer stating that having a foreign worker do the job you are going to do will not have a negative impact on the labour market in Canada. It is is also known as a positive labour market opinion.

Your employer has to apply to get an HRSDC confirmation. HRSDC looks at several factors, these include availability of Canadians, wages and the economic benefit you as a foreign worker might bring to Canada. Once HRSDC has formed an opion, it then provides advice to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The HRSDC confirmation is usually given for a specific period of time and the work permit will be issued for this same period. To extend your work permit beyond the specified period, your employer will usually have to get a new confirmation from HRSDC.

Q: What if my work permit application was refused but the labour market opinion was changed afterward?

A: If Human Resources and Skills Development Canada changes the conditions of an opinion after your work permit application has been refused, you must submit a new work permit application and pay the fees again.

Q: Are there any conditions on my work permit?

A: Your work permit may include the following conditions:

  • the type of work you can do

  • the employer you can work for

  • where you can work and

  • how long you can work

Q: Can my spouse or common-law partner and dependent children come with me to Canada?

A: Your spouse or common-law partner and children can come with you to Canada or visit you in Canada, but they must meet all the requirements for temporary residents to Canada. If they need temporary resident visas, they must meet all conditions.

If you, your spouse or common-law partner and children all apply together, you do not have to fill out a separate application form for each individual: list their names and the other necessary information about them in the appropriate space on your application. If your spouse or common-law partner and children all applied separately, they must each fill out an application form. If your family members want to follow you to Canada later, they must fill out a separate application form.

Important: You may have to provide a marriage certificate and birth certificates for any accompanying family members. If you are in a common-law relationship and your common-law partner will be accompanying you to Canada, you may have to complete the form, Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union, and provide the evidence listed in it to support your nrelationship.

Q: Who are considered family members?

Family members are the immediate members of your family. Your spouse or common-law partner and your dependent children are your family members.

A common-law partner is considered as a person of the opposite or same sex who lives with you now and has lived in a conjugal relationship with you for at least one year.

Dependant children may be your own children or those of your spouse or common-law partner. A child must meet the requirements of type A, B or C below to be considered a dependent child.

Type A: He or she is under 22 years of age and is not married or in a common-law relationship.

Type B: He or she is married or entered into a common-law relationship before age 22 and since has
1) been continuously enrolled and in attendance as a full-time student in a post-secondary institution accredited by the relevant government authority and 2) depended substantially on the financial support of a parent. OR

He or she is 22 years of age or older and, since before the age of 22 has: 1) been continuously enrolled and in attendance as a full-time student in a post-secondary institution accredited by the relevant government authority and 2) depended substantially on the financially support of a parent.

Type C: He or she is age 22 or older and has depended substantially on the financial support of a parent since before the age of 22 and is unable to provide for herself or himself due to a medical condition.

Q: Can my spouse or common-law partner work in Canada?

A: If your spouse or common-law partner wants to work while in Canada, they must apply for their own work permit. Normally, they must meet the same requirements that you do, including obtaining (if needed) a labour market opinion (LMO) from HRSDC.

However, they may qualify for an “open”‘ work permit which allows them to accept any job with any employer, and in this case an LMO is not needed.

For your spouse to apply for an open work permit, you must meet the following conditions:

1) You are authorized to work in Canada for six months or longer and the work you are doing while you live in Canada meets a minimum skill level (usually work that would require at least a college diploma). Specifically, your job must be listed in Skilled Level 0, A or B in the National Occupational Classification.


2) You are authorized to work in Canada and the work you are doing while you live in Canada is included in the list of eligible occupations in participating provinces.

If you meet these requirements, your spouse may apply for an open work permit, which will be valid for the same period as your authorization to work in Canada. If your job does not fall within the qualified categories, then your spouse may still apply for a work permit, but it will have to be for a specific job and in most cases the employer will have to obtain an LMO.

In some cases, your spouse or partner will need a medication examination. If they have not already applied overseas, spouses and partners may apply for their work permit from within Canada.

Q: Can my dependant children work in Canada?

A: If your dependent children want to work while in Canada, they must apply for their own work permit. Normally, they must meet thesame requirements that you do, including (if needed) a LMO from HRSDC. However, in some provinces there is an agreement between the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the federal government. Your dependent child may not need an LMO to work, and only require an “open” work permit. Please note that some jobs have age restrictions.


Q: Can I bring my adopted child to Canada before the permanent resident visa is issued?

A: No. Before bringing their child back to Canada, adoptive parents must await notification that the child’s immigrant visa has been issued. This will avoid unnecessary delays and costs.

Some provinces have laws that impose penalties on parents who bring adopted children into Canada before all provincial and immigration requirements have been met. If there is a disagreement about the legality of the adoption, the child would be in Canada without a legal parent or guardian.

Q: Will my child automatically be entitled to a Canadian passport once citizenship is granted?

A: As a Canadian citizen, your child will be eligible to apply for a Canadian passport once he/she is granted status. However, if you are unable to wait for a citizenship certificate to be issued, you may apply immediately for a passport and CIC will facilitate the process by sending, with your consent the confirmation of your child’s grant of citizenship to the Canadian Government office outside Canada who issues the passport.

Q: If the adoption can be finalized only after my child has arrived in Canada, can citizenship still be directly granted?

A: The adoption must create a genuine parent-child relationship and sever the legal ties between the biological parent(s) and the child. Guardianships or simple adoptions that do not sever the legal ties cannot themselves be the basis for citizenship. Canadians who are bringing children to Canada to be adopted in Canada will continue to be able to do so under the immigration process. After a full adoption has taken place in Canada and the adopted child is a permanent resident, the parents can immediately apply for citizenship on behalf of the child if at least one of the parents is a Canadian citizen.

For more information, please contact us or visit  www.cic.gc.ca.

Resource: Citizenship and Immigration Canada


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