Immigration to Canada

A person may arrive in Canada as: (1) temporary visitor or (2) a landed immigrant or permanent resident.

Temporary Visitor

As a temporary visitor, before leaving your country of origin, you should check with the local Canadian Embassy or Canadian Consulate whether you require a temporary visitors visa. The Immigration Manual has a listing of countries whose citizens require visas.

In countries where the citizens do not require temporary visitors’ visas, a person arriving in Canada must have a passport valid for at least 6 months, as well as proof of financial capacity to travel, including a return ticket as well as some cash, travelers’ cheques and/or credit cards.

In countries whose citizens do require temporary visitors visas, the visa officer at the Canadian Embassy or Consulate will require a passport, valid for at least 6 months, as well as proof of the financial capacity to travel, including a return ticket as well as cash, travellers’ cheques and/or credit cards. Sometime, they require a “letter of invitation” or an “Affidavit of Support”, of a resident of Canada, indicating who the traveler is, guaranteeing payment of the expenses of the traveler to and from Canada, food, accommodation and other expenses, as well as stating his/her financial resources such as employment, net worth, etc.

Landed Immigrant or Permanent Resident

Before leaving their country of origin, a person arriving in Canada as a landed immigrant or permanent resident must have a valid passport and a landed immigrant visa.

A person must apply with the Canadian Embassy or Consulate for a landed immigrant visa. The applicant must fall under any of the following classes:

A. Family Class. The family class consists of (1) parents, (2) children, (3) husband or wife, and (4) fiancé.

(1) Parents are parents of children who are citizens or landed immigrants of Canada.

(2) Children are natural or adopted children of parents who are citizens or landed immigrants of Canada. The child or children must be never married, under 19 years of age, or over 19 and going to post secondary education and dependent on his parents for support. In the case of adopted child or children, the adoption must be “bona fide” adoption to show that the adoption has created a true parent and child relationship between the adopted child and the adopting parents.

(3) Husband or Wife. The husband or wife must be a legitimate husband or wife of a citizen or landed immigrant, and not a marriage of convenience or an “immigration” marriage.

(4) Fiancé Visa. The Fiancé must be a fiancé of a citizen of a citizen or landed immigrant of Canada. The fiancé is granted a conditional visa requiring that he or she must get married in Canada within a limited period say 90 days and then have the condition removed after their marriage. Otherwise, after the expiration of the period, he or she will be required to be removed or deported out of Canada.

In the family class, a sponsorship application must first be filed by the citizen or landed immigrant with Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The sponsor has to complete a “Sponsorship” package that includes, among others, a statement of financial assistance to guarantee the food, accommodation, medical etc. of the person sponsored for a period of 10 years, The sponsor has to complete a financial statement showing his annual income that he can afford to support the person sponsored, together with his/her income tax return, etc. There is a low income cut off (LICO) of the income of the person sponsoring must meet, below which he will not be qualified to sponsor.

B. Business Class. The business class consists of the: (1) the Entrepreneur and the (2) Investor.

(1) The Entrepreneur.   An applicant in the entrepreneur class must show that he or she has a substantial net worth and experience and intends to establish a active business in Canada, that will have economic benefit to Canada, and will employ at least one Canadian or landed immigrant. The applicant has to apply from the Canadian Embassy or Consulate overseas and prove his intention to establish that business. Often, he is advised to visit Canada as a temporary visitor and consult with the appropriate government business development officers. If the applicant satisfies the immigration officer at the Canadian Embassy or Consulate, the applicant will be issued a conditional entrepreneur visa.  To satisfy the condition, the applicant must establish an active business in Canada within two years. During his initial stay in Canada, immigration officials will monitor his progress in establishing that business, commencing six months from arrival. In the event that the applicant does not establish the business within 2 years, he or she will be subject of removal or deportation.

(2) Investor. An applicant in the investor class must show that a net worth of about $1 million and invest at least $450,000 in Canada for a least 5 years in qualified investments. Qualified investments include the approved Immigration Funds and Funds administered by the Governments of Provinces in Canada. The Province of Quebec has a special arrangement with the Federal Government in which the applicant in the investor class in Quebec must invest $350,000. Special arrangements may be made with certain banks or financial institutions whereby the applicant places an initial investment of about $150,000, with the banks or financial institutions lending the balance at specified rates of interest.

C. Independent Immigrant. An independent immigrant must apply at the Canadian Embassy or Consulate of his country of origin. The applicant will be assessed on a point system under a regulation that considers age, education, work experience, occupation in Canada, and adaptability to Canada. The applicant must meet at least 70 points. If an applicant qualifies under an occupation list, there will be added either 5 – 10 points. If the applicant reaches 65 points and has a relative in Canada who will provide a financial undertaking, that undertaking will award an additional 5 points to qualify.

D. Refugee. Canada is a signatory to the Refugee Convention and as such will grant a landed immigrant visa to a person who is persecuted by reason of his race, religion, beliefs, etc.  Upon arrival in Canada, the refugee must declare an intention to apply as refugee. The Immigration Officer at the Port of Entry will make a preliminary investigation. If the Immigration Officer at the Port of Entry is not convinced that the applicant is a bona fide refugee, the applicant will be deported on the next available transportation outbound. If the Immigration Officer finds some substance to the refugee application, a conditional visa will be issued and the applicant will be allowed to stay in Canada. The case will be referred to an adjudicator for hearing. If the adjudicator finds that the applicant is a genuine refugee, a landed immigrant visa will be issued.

E. Other Programs. There are other specific programs contemplating immigration to Canada.  One such program is the Live In Care Program. The Live In Care Program allows qualified live-in caregivers to come to Canada first under an employment visa for 1 year, renewable for another year and subsequently a Landed Immigration Visa after the 2nd year. The applicant must show that he/she has a 12th Grade Canadian equivalent and has at least one year’s experience, or has attended an accredited school for at least 6 months. The prospective employer must be a citizen or landed immigration of Canada and apply with Citizenship & Immigration Canada.

Fees Payable to the Government of Canada

In general, there are two kinds of fees: (1) processing fees, and (2) landing fees. The processing fees for landed immigrant applications is about CD$650.00, and that must accompany the application. The landing fee is $1000 per person and must be paid either on application or on approval or issuance of the Landed Immigrant Visa.

The foregoing are general guidelines. Forms may be downloaded from Department of Immigration at:  For more specific information, please contact us.

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