Visa and Permit

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Temporary resident – Visa & Permit

Visa and permit are different. Visa actually is a kind of “ticket” to allow people to get cross the border and get in the Canada soil. Permit dictate what you can do while in Canada. You may hear someone mentioned “student visa”, “work visa” or “traveler visa”. That is technically incorrect. In fact, there is only one type of visa – visa for temporary resident who is from a visa required country. Base on the original purpose of coming to Canada, there is a column on the visa indicating as “student”, “workers” or “visitor”. The visa serve only one purpose, that is to allow a foreigner to enter Canada. However, CBSA officer will base on purpose of visit to ask you question and verify your situation. It is the officer’s duty to exam your purpose of coming to Canada. Once you are in Canada, it is the issued permit determines what you are allowed to do while staying in Canada, either a study permit or work permit.   And permit is on a separate letter size paper. For visitor other than student or worker, there is no “visitor permit” attached which reflects the fact you will not do anything required special permission.

Permits define all terms and conditions of what you are doing in Canada. When you apply for a study permit or work permit from oversea, IRCC will find out if you need a visa to travel. If so, they will issue you a visa along with the approval of the permit you are applied. So permit is relatively more important from legal perspective. You may stay in Canada when your visa expired, you are not allowed to continuously studying or working when your study permit or work permit is expired. When your permit expired, same as overstay as a visitor, you are out of status. You may turn to private immigration services to find way to rectify the situation or you will face from voluntarily leave to enforceable removal order. Do not ignore it, talk to an immigration lawyer or Immigration Consultant before it causes irreversible damage.

Study Permit

Foreigner needs a study permit to facitilate studying in Canada. Exemption applied to study which is shorter than 6 months or under some circumstances involved student who is a minor.

To apply a study pemit, you will need to provide:

– Letter of admission;

– Proof of finance

– Ties to your home country

Work Permit

All foreigner needs a work permit to legally work in Canada.  A few exceptions, e.g. religious workers, performing artists, etc.

To apply a work permit, you will need to provide:


Visa or Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) facilitates foreigner from visa required countries visit/study/work in Canada. You are just a visitor if you do not hold any permit at the meantime. To apply a visa for sightseeing or visit friends/family, you will need to provide:

– itinerary;

– Proof of finance;

– Ties to your home country


Work permit with LMIA support will have specific employer named on the permit, should the worker want to quit and work for another employer, the same process for a new LMIA and then renew the work permit is required. On the other hand, there is some work permit without the restriction to work for a specific employer and is called Open Work Permit. The open work permit is either for an on-going SCLPC, graduating international student or is issued under the condition of another valid study permit or work permit. For example, the spouse of a graduated international student who holds a PGWP (Post Graduated Work Permit) is entitled to apply an open work permit the same duration as the PGWP.

Visitor Record

Visitor record is a permit type of document, issued as a means to exercise an element of control over the foreign national’s length of stay. It could be shorter than the “default” 6 months or extended longer than 6 months period. NLAi immigration services has helped many clients to extend their stay without leaving the country through the visitor record application.

Temporary Resident Permit

Due to applicant’s past history, some foreign nationals are inadmissible on ground of health or serious criminal records. Temporary resident permit is issued to overcome the hurdles. You must justify that your visit outweigh the inadmissible factors. And the permit is no longer valid once you leave Canada, unless you have specifically been authorized to leave and re-enter.


If you overstay the authorized period of time in Canada, you are out of status. There is a remedy to this situation if you lost your status less than 90 days. You may submit an in Canada application to restore your legal status. Of course, you must admit your wrong doing with a forgivable excuse and solid reason to continue your stay in Canada. During the pandemic, IRCC put in place temporary policy to alleviate the dilema many foreigners faced due to the travel ban. Please consult an immigration consultant or lawyer for details.

Inter-changeable status

Your immigration status as student, worker, visitor or others is exchangeable, depends on the circumstances and your purpose. A licensed immigration consultant should give you advice on how to protect your best interests. Of course you can always find way to apply and become a Permanent Resident while you are under different Temporary Resident status.

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