How to apply for a residence visa to Canada?

Are you considering applying for a residence visa in Canada? Follow these step-by-step instructions to navigate the application process smoothly. From determining your eligibility to submitting the required documents, we've got you covered.

by Legally Canadian

Canada has more than 40 immigration programs. Each program has its own application requirements and its own process. Below is a general outline of your path to Canadian immigration.

Determine your eligibility:

Start by determining which immigration program or visa category you are eligible for. There are various programs available, including Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), Family Sponsorship, and Business Immigration, among others. Each program has specific eligibility criteria, so carefully review the requirements to ensure you qualify.

TIP: You might qualify for a number of programs at the same time. Not every program allows you to be an applicant in another immigration stream. Carefully study your options, or hire us for your Immigration Assessment.

Gather required documents:

Once you have identified the program you are eligible for, gather all the necessary documents. This may include identification documents, proof of education and work experience, language test results, police certificates, medical examination reports, and other supporting documentation specific to your program.

Create an online account:

Many immigration applications in Canada are submitted online (but not all). Create an account on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website or the relevant provincial immigration website, depending on your chosen program.

Complete the application form:

Fill out the application forms truthfully, accurately, and provide all requested information. Be thorough and ensure that you have provided all the necessary details.

TIP: Re-read all the application questions a few times before submitting. Misunderstanding some of the questions or answering them incorrectly could cause your application be denied, or you could be banned from applying to come to Canada for 5 years for misrepresentation.

Pay the application fees:

Pay the required application fees, which will vary depending on the program you are applying for. Ensure that you submit the correct fees and any additional fees associated with processing your application.

Submit the application:

Once you have completed the application and paid the fees, submit your application online or by mail, following the instructions provided by the relevant immigration authority.

TIP: Print screen or safe as PDF your online questionnaires before submitting. With most applications you cannot go back and look at your answers once the application is submitted.

Monitor application status:

After submitting your application, you can monitor its status online. Immigration authorities may request additional documentation or schedule interviews or medical examinations as part of the application process. Respond promptly to any requests or notifications.

TIP: Check both your regular email address and your spam. You can also check the progress of your application on your IRCC tracker.

Await the decision:

The processing time for your application will depend on the program and various factors. Processing times can vary significantly, so be patient and regularly check for updates on the status of your application.

TIP: While no legal professional could expedite the processing of your application, based on our experience the application has a higher chance of being processed without any delay if:

  • You submitted all of the required documents at the time of the application
  • You have easy access to all of the submitted original documents
  • You answered all potential questions of the Officer in advance in your submission letter
  • You ensured the quality of your scanned documents
  • You hired an immigration lawyer to either prepare the application with you, or to review it before submission

Receive the decision:

Once a decision is made, you will be notified of the outcome. If approved, you will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) or other relevant documents that allow you to enter and live in Canada as a permanent resident.

It’s important to note that the application process and requirements may differ depending on the specific immigration program or visa category you are applying for. It is recommended to carefully review the official government website or consult with an immigration lawyer for personalized guidance and up-to-date information.

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