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Here are the differences between Canadian visas and permits

Here are the differences between Canadian visas and permits

It’s essential to grasp the difference between a Canadian visa and a permit when considering a trip, job, or education to Canada. These documents offer various rights and carry different obligations.

Here are the differences between Canadian visas and permits

Canada visa

A Canadian visa is issued by the Canadian government and allows entry into the country or transit through a Canadian airport.

It’s a physical sticker in your passport, including details like your name, birth date, purpose of visit (worker, student, or visitor), and issuance and expiry dates.

It’s crucial to note that a visa doesn’t authorize work or study in Canada. Its main role is to enable legal entry into the country. Even if designated as a worker or student visa, it doesn’t provide authorization for work or study.

Read also: Canada Ontario increases permanent residency allocations to 21,500

For those from visa-required countries, it’s necessary to apply for a visa before arrival, usually through the Canadian Embassy or Visa Application Center (VAC). Not having valid visas can result in flight delays or denial of boarding for Canada-bound flights.

If your visa expires after arrival, renewal applications can be made within Canada. However, leaving without a valid visa means being unable to re-enter, even with a valid work or study permit.

Canada permit

A Canadian permit is a distinct document that outlines permissions and constraints for working or studying in Canada, along with any related restrictions or terms.

Unlike a visa, a permit directly grants authorization for work or study and has to be presented to employers or educational institutions.

However, a permit by itself doesn’t allow entry or re-entry into Canada, that’s the purpose of the Canadian visa.

Read also: Canada set to reduce intake of temporary residents


To ensure a seamless arrival in Canada, individuals from countries requiring visas should inquire about both visas and permits in advance.

Adequate preparation, including completing application procedures and collecting required documents.

For travelers from countries not requiring visas, like the United States or the European Union, entry into Canada is allowed without a visa. However, a work or study permit is still necessary at the Canadian border or Port of Entry to participate in relevant activities within the country.

Understanding the expiration dates of visas and permits is crucial. While a valid permit enables staying in Canada beyond a visa’s expiration, leaving without a valid visa makes re-entry impossible. This can be especially challenging for students planning to return between terms or after completing studies.