To work or study in Canada, anyone who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident must apply for and get a temporary residence visa. If you just want to visit Canada, you need to apply for a visiting visa unless you come from a country that doesn’t need visas.
Work and study permit let you do specific things in Canada. A tourist visa, on the other hand, lets you do a lot more. But that doesn’t mean that there are no rules about what visitors to Canada can and can’t do.
Things You Can Do
Enter and live in Canada.
First and foremost, a tourist visa lets you get into Canada. Once you’re in Canada, your visitor visa gives you temporary legal status that lets you live or move anywhere you want in Canada. But remember that this is only a temporary position. Visas for visitors can be given for up to six months at a time. The officer who gives you the visa will tell you exactly how long it is good for. When the time is up, your visa will be invalid, and you can no longer visit Canada legally.
Transit through Canada
Even if Canada is different from your final goal, you may still need a Canadian visitor visa if you have to go through the country to get where you want to go.
Look for a job in Canada.
Visitor cards are not meant to be used to find work in Canada, but that doesn’t mean that people who have them can’t look for work while they are there. In fact, Canadian employers often prefer to meet candidates in person before they hire them. This means that looking for work from inside Canada may be more effective than finding a job abroad. But if you decide to look for work while on a tourist visa, here are some things to keep in mind:
State your purpose for a visit.
Don’t hide or lie to an immigration worker about why you want to go to Canada. You must show that you plan to return to your home country when your visitor visa runs out, no matter what happens with your job search. You must show that you will only work with a legal work permit in Canada.
Sign up for a short course in Canada.
Usually, if you want to study in Canada, you need a study visa. But there are a few rare cases where you can study in Canada on a guest visa if you meet the following requirements:
- The school giving the course is not a Designated Learning Institute (DLI).
- The course or program takes less than six months to finish.
- The course is not part of something longer.
- You will finish the course before your visiting visa runs out.
Apply to stay in Canada for longer.
Visitor cards can be given for up to six months at a time. But if you want to stay longer than your visa’s initial length, you can ask for an extension. The immigration worker who looks over your application decides whether or not to give you an extension and how long it will be good for.
You usually need a work permit if you want to work in Canada. However, if you have a tourist visa, you can do some business activities if you don’t directly enter the Canadian labour market. For example,
- You can buy goods or services from Canadian businesses for a company in another country.
- Visit a business site.
- Receive training from a Canadian business on how to use a product, sell it, or do other business tasks.
- Meet with people and talk to them to start and finish a business deal.
Apply for a work permit.
Most of the time, visitors to Canada can’t apply for a work pass while they are there. But until the end of February 2025, visitors to Canada who get a legal job offer can apply for a work permit while on a visitor visa.
Before this temporary policy change, most people who wanted to work in Canada had to get their first work pass before coming to Canada. If they were already in Canada as a visitor when their work permit was accepted, they would have to leave the country to get their work permit. With this strategy in place, there is no reason to leave Canada.
Things you can’t do
With a tourist visa, you can go to Canada and stay there legally for a short time. But you can only keep this status if your visa is still good. A visitor visa that is no longer valid won’t let you stay in Canada properly.
Work in Canada
You need a legal work permit to work in Canada. With a tourist visa, you can’t work in the country. So, as a guest, you should refrain from doing any business that puts you right into the Canadian job market.
Study in Canada.
You can only go to school in Canada if you have a tourist visa and meet one of the above conditions. For everything else, you need a study permit to study in Canada officially.
Apply for a study permit.
As a visitor to Canada, you can’t apply for a study pass from inside the country. After you return to your country, you will have to start getting a study visa. This rule has an exception that lets a visitor apply for a study permit from within Canada if he or she has a family member with a legal study or work permit in Canada.
- Visitor visas allow six-month access to Canada.
- Visitors can work, study, and do business in Canada.
- Except in some cases, visitors to Canada can only work, study, or stay for a while.
- Be honest about the visit’s aim and show intent to return home.
- Visitors who get valid job offers in Canada can apply for a work permit or visa extension.