Ottawa Visas and Permits

As a foreign resident, what is my status in your country?

Thirty-five million people travel to Canada each year for the purpose of work, school or tourism. A valid passport, visa or ID is required. Your status could be classified as a permanent or temporary resident, depending on the type of visa you enter the country with and how long you plan to stay.

Travellers from Europe:

European passport holders are not required to have a visa to enter Canada. All you need is a valid passport.

Travellers from the United States:

A passport or visa is not required to enter Canada. You must have identification for proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, driver's license or another type of ID card with your photo.

Travellers from other countries:

International travellers may be required to provide a visa to enter Canada. Please check with your local Canadian embassy, Crown Ottawa or the Web site for Canada International listed below for more information.

What kinds of visas are available?

There are two types of visas:

  • Permanent - for workers and their families who are moving to - Canada permanently.

  • Temporary - for workers, visitors and students who will be residing in Canada for more than six months, but not permanently.

Most visitors do not require visas if they stay less than six months. However, travellers from Portugal, South Africa, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, some Eastern European countries and developing countries do require them. To find out whether you will require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or for further information, contact your local visa office, Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate.
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What is required to obtain these visas?

To obtain a Temporary Resident Visa:

  • You must be healthy -- you may need a medical examination if the duration of your stay is more than six months.

  • You will need a valid passport/proof of who you are, or other travel documents.

For further information, visit the Citizenship and Immigration, Canada, Web site listed below. You may also download application forms from this site.

Are spouses permitted and/or likely to find work?

Your spouse may qualify for a work permit without having to get confirmation from the Human Resources Development of Canada (HRDC). However, before your spouse applies for a work permit, you must:

  • Be authorized to work in Canada for six months or longer.

  • The work you are doing must meet a minimum skill level (usually work which requires at least a college diploma).

If you meet these two requirements, your spouse may apply for a work permit which is 'open' and will allow him or her to accept any job depending on whether or not a medical examination was taken. Do note: your spouse’s work permit will be valid for the same duration as your authorization to work in Canada.
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What are the main forms of identification and how does a newcomer obtain them?

One of the first things you should do after arriving in Canada is to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN). This nine-digit number is used to identify people who earn money through work, pay taxes, contribute to pension plans and use government services. To apply for a Social Insurance Number, contact the Human Resources Development Center of Canada. Their website is listed below. Please note that your SIN should not be given to people who are not authorized to use it for identification purposes.

As a temporary resident, your main form of identification is your passport. Even though you may not need a passport to travel within Canada, you should carry at least two pieces of identification whenever possible. Common forms of recognized identification include birth certificate, driver’s license, permanent resident papers or citizenship card, credit cards and SIN card.
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Are there any other important permits I must obtain, or places where I must register right away?

Yes, if you are working in Canada, you must have a valid work permit, passport, TRV and a letter from your employer stating that a job offer has been made and accepted. Additionally, an immigration officer must issue employment authorization after the Human Resources Development Center approves your employer’s job offer. This process, known as job validation, ensures that there are no other Canadians or permanent residents available to do the job.
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What items should I avoid bringing into the country?

There are strict laws about what you can bring into Canada. Avoid bringing in the following items into the country:

  • Unauthorized firearms, explosives, fireworks and ammunition.

  • Narcotics, other than prescription drugs.

  • Meat, dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables.

  • Plants, flowers and soil.Endangered species of animals or products made from endangered animal parts, such as skin, feathers, fur, bones and ivory.

  • Cultural property, including antique and cultural objects considered to have historical significance in their country of origin (you may, however, bring family heirlooms).

  • More than 200 cigarettes (you must pay tax on the excess amount) -- per person over 19 years of age.

  • More than 1.5 litres of commercial alcohol (you must pay tax on the excess amount) -- per person over 19 years of age.

If you are unsure about an item, you should contact the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. Their website is listed below.

Also, motor vehicles must meet Canadian safety and pollution control standards. Many motor vehicles are not allowed into the country. For more information, contact Transport Canada. Their website is listed below.
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Is there anything else I should know about entering and remaining in the country legally?

Depending on your personal situation and length of stay, you should consider bringing some or all the following important documents:

  • Birth certificates or baptismal certificates.

  • Marriage certificates.

  • Adoption, separation or divorce papers.

  • School records, diplomas or degrees for each family member traveling with you.

  • Trade or professional certificates and licenses

  • Letters of reference from former employers.

  • A list of your educational and professional qualifications and job experience (résumé).

  • Immunization, vaccination, dental and other health records for each member of the family.

  • Driver’s license, including an International Driver’s Permit, and a reference from your insurance company.

  • Photocopies of all essential and important documents, in case the originals get lost – kept separate from the originals.

  • Car registration documents (if you are importing a motor vehicle into Canada).

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Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.