Canada’s Visa Application Explained in 5 Simple Steps

April 19, 2022


  • Nadine Wolfe

Do you want to live in a place that embraces all cultures, offers excellent education and job opportunities? Well, then Canada is for you. Thousands of people have made the move. If you want to be next, the most important thing you will need is a Canadian visa. To see if you can make your way to this liberal country, you will need to know how to navigate Canada's visa application process. Find out how to apply for your visa in just five easy steps.

1.Choose the Correct Program for You

There are over 100 immigration programs and visas available. The key to making sure you are successful in applying for your visa, you need to choose a Canadian immigration program that caters to your needs. For example, if you wish to work in Canada, you would aim at applying through a Canada work visa program such as the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the Caregiver Pilot.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)


The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is designed to allow Canadian employers to hire foreign workers in a vast range of employment positions to come and work in Canada.

Because the aim of the TFWP is to hire foreign workers to work in in-demand positions, it is important that employers apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

This will serve as proof that no Canadian citizen or permanent resident was able to fill the position. As the temporary worker, you must submit a copy of the LMIA or the LMIA number along with your work permit application.

There are a number of TFWP streams, namely:

  1. High Wage Worker Stream
  2. Low Wage Worker Stream
  3. Agriculture Worker Stream
  4. Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP)
  5. Global Talent Stream (GTS)
  6. Home Care Provider Stream

Each of these streams and programs have their own set of requirements.

Perhaps your goal is to obtain permanent residency in Canada. In this case, you could apply through one of Canada's Provincial Nominee Programs.

Canada's Provincial Nominee Programs(PNPs) allow you to apply for permanent residency in any of the participating Canadian provinces and territories. If your application is successful, you will be able to settle in the province that has endorsed your application.

There are 11 PNPs, namely:

  1. Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)
  2. British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)
  3. Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP)
  4. New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NW PNP)
  5. Newfoundland & Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NL PNP)
  6. Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP)
  7. Nova Scotia Provincial Nominee Program (NS PNP)
  8. Ontario Provincial Nominee Program (OINP)
  9. Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP)
  10. Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP)
  11. Yukon Nominee Program (YNP)

2. Check if you are eligible to apply

lady working on laptop

Regardless of the type of visa you are applying for, one thing that remains the same about Canada's visa application process, is that you will need to make sure that you meet the requirements before you apply.

Each immigration program has its own set of criteria you need to meet to be eligible to apply.

Some general requirements that you will find in most programs include the following:

  • Have a valid passport
  • Have (relevant) work experience
  • Provide proof of your English or French proficiency via test results
  • Provide proof that you have enough funds to take care of yourself and your family members or dependents
  • Provide proof of a valid job offer (if required by program)
  • Be legally admissible to Canada

3. Gather Necessary Documents

Once you have chosen the right Canadian immigration program for you, you need to make sure that you gather all the documents required by that program.

Apart from general documents that you will most likely need to provide for any Canadian visa application, certain programs may require specific documents. For example, if you are applying for a Canadian student visa, you may need to provide documents such as the following:

  • Proof of acceptance - letter of acceptance from your Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
  • Proof of identity - passport and two passport-sized photos
  • Proof of financial - Minimum of $10,000 plus additional funds for each family member that will be joining you eg. proof of student loan, a Canadian bank account in your name, paid tuition and housing fees, proof of funding (person or school), student or education loan, four months bank statements
  • Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report (as proof that your high school diplomas is equivalent to a Canadian credential)

You may also be required to provide documents such as:

  • Letter of explanation - why you want to study in Canada
  • Certificat d'acceptation du Québec(CAQ) - if you want to study in Quebec
  • Custodian declaration (minors only)
  • Police certificate
  • Medical exams
  • Language testing
  • Biometrics
  • Other documents - any local requirements from your country or region

4. Take necessary assessments

person reading on laptop

Most programs will require you to take a medical examination, so it is recommended that you do so in case the Canadian immigration program you apply through requires it.

Apart from a medical examination, depending on the type of visa program you apply through, you may be required to take the following assessments:

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)


The International English Language Testing System is an international test of English language proficiency for non-native English speakers.

The IELTS is recognized by the Canadian government and it is often a requirement that applicants take the test to assess that they are proficient enough in the English language to adjust to life in Canada.

The IELTS assesses four categories of English language skills, namely:

  1. Speaking
  2. Listening
  3. Reading
  4. Writing

Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)


An Educational Credential Assessment is used to assess and ensure that your certificate, diploma or degree obtained from an institution outside of Canada is equivalent to a Canadian credential.

If the program you are applying through requires you to take an ECA, you will need to submit your ECA report when applying.

5. Apply For Your Visa

Once you have decided on a visa program, and checked that you meet the requirements, the final step is to start on your Canada visa application. To boost your chance of your Canadian visa application being accepted, take advantage of our verified and dedicated RCICs who are eager to guide you through the entire application process.