Canadian Temporary Visas

Enter Canada as a tourist, business visitor, student or temporary worker

Foreigners may enter Canada as temporary resident visitors. The term encompasses more than tourists to Canada; it includes business visitors, students and temporary workers. In order to qualify for a TRV, the applicant must demonstrate that:

  • Their stay in Canada is temporary in nature, i.e. they have an intention to leave Canada;
  • They have sufficient funds for themselves and their family members to support their stay in Canada and to be able to return back home;
  • They will not work or study in Canada unless authorized to do so;
  • Are law abiding and have no record of criminal activity;
  • Are in good health (a medical examination is required for passport holders of countries listed as designated countries or territories).

It is important to understand that the actual issuance of work permits or study permits (unlike business or tourist visas) occurs at a Canadian port of entry. Overseas visa posts only issue approvals for individuals to travel to Canada as temporary residents. The counterfoil that is attached to a passport page is either valid for a single entry or for multiple entries, allowing an individual to remain in Canada for up to six months at a time.

For example, an individual has been admitted to study at a Canadian university. She applies to a Canadian consulate abroad for a study permit. The consulate issues an approval letter and inserts into her passport a multiple-entry visa valid for one year. At this point the individual has obtained a multiple-entry visa (temporary resident visa) that allows her to board a plane and travel to Canada and remain Canada for up to six months. Even though the multiple-entry visa carries a validity period of one- year, the visa holder can only remain in Canada for six months from the date of arrival. However, because she was also approved at the consulate for a study permit, upon arriving at the border the officer will issue a study permit valid for one, two or three years, depending on the duration of the academic program, allowing the individual to remain continuously in Canada for the entire duration of the study permit. In other words, permits allow individuals to remain legally in Canada past the six month mark. Single entry visas or multiple entry visas are for a maximum of six months (although they can be extended from within Canada).

Conversely, an individual who has obtained a study permit and entered Canada on a single temporary resident visa cannot fly out of Canada and return without first applying for a new temporary entry visa. In effect, study permits and work permits do not authorize re-entry to Canada, only single entry or multiple entry visas carry that function.

The operational differences between temporary resident visas and study or work permits become strategically relevant when corporations, for example, bring in foreign workers. As a general rule, it is important to ensure that each foreign worker maintains valid multiple entry visas in their passports so that they can fly in and out of Canada on business trips as the need arises.

Click on the links on the right hand column learn more about temporary visas.