Canadian visas come in many forms, and if you’re planning a gap year in the country you’ll need to understand which one’s right for you. From just visiting through to working, there are different categories, and sometimes navigating the maze needs a little help – which is why we are here! Our guide to the Canadian visa system is below, so that your path to this magnificent country is as easy as possible…
Who Needs a Visa?
If you are simply visiting Canada and don’t plan on working, a visa is rarely needed. Only citizens of certain countries will need to get a Canadian visa – the full list of countries that do/don’t need Canadian visas can be found here. If you are from the UK, Australia or the USA, a visa will not be needed for tourism purposes though.
Working is a completely different kettle of fish though, as those looking to come to Canada and do some work on their gap year will almost certainly need to procure a visa before arriving. There are many provisos that must be met before this International Experience Canada visa is issued, such as being from a country that is eligible for consideration. There’s more about this visa further down the page. The other visa to consider to a transit visa, however this is only applicable to those from certain countries who will just be using Canada as a stopping point to get to another country.
Types of Visas
As with most countries, you’ll find a full array of different Canadian visas, however of these there are only two that you are likely to need. Below you’ll find info on both of them…
- Tourist Visa
A tourist visa is designed for those simply visiting Canada for pleasure, and who do not want to work in any way. Those from most countries will not need to even get this visa before turning up – they can simply get to Canada and gain admission. If you don’t need a visa, there is still a restriction on how long you can stay – the maximum amount of time you can stay in the country is 180 days. You’ll also have to prove that you are able to support yourself throughout your stay in the country.
- International Experience Canada
This is the Canadian visa for those who want to work when on a gap year in Canada, and you’ll need to get this visa regardless of where you are from. Most people are able to take part in this scheme twice, however they must be between the ages of 18-35. It will also be necessary to prove that you have at least C$2,500 available to cover expenses, plus you have to have health insurance for the entirety of your stay. This visa costs C$150. To find out more about this type of visa, please click here.
How to Apply
To apply for a standard Canadian visitor visa, you’ll need to log onto the Government of Canada website, where you’ll be asked to complete an application form. Once this has been submitted, along with the necessary documents, it is then a waiting game. Make sure you send the correct documents though, otherwise the process will be seriously delayed. We can’t stress this enough though: you are probably not going to need to apply for a Canadian visitor visa, as most countries are exempt!
To apply for the International Experience Canada visa, the process is slightly longer – however it is still reasonably easy when compared to getting visas from other countries (the main culprit being US visas). The first step is to check that there are still places available for your country. If there aren’t you will have to wait for the next round of applications to begin. If there are places, you need to create a Kompass profile, which is the system used to apply for a conditional acceptance letter. When registered, you will be told the documents you need to supply, as well as be directed to the application form that needs to be completed.
Providing your application is accepted, you will receive a conditional acceptance letter. You can then move on to the next stage, which is creating a MyCIC account and using this account to apply for a work permit. Once again, you will need to submit documents and complete an application form. Once this has been done, that’s it – now just wait for everything to be confirmed and you’ll be ready to head to Canada! Make sure you bring this letter of introduction with you though, as you’ll need to show it when you arrive in Canada.
Visa Refused/Cancelled: What Next?
Unfortunately, there is no appeals process for those refused for a visa, therefore your only chance is to reapply again and have a different staff member assess the application. For International Experience Canada refusals due to missing paperwork, you will be able to resubmit this application until your conditional acceptance letter runs out.