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Important Information when Returning to Canada

If you have lived or studied in Canada before and you enjoyed your time here, you could return as a visitor, for a post-graduation work program, to work (with a work permit), or to seek permanent resident status. Below is information to help you make your return.

Visiting as a Tourist

Despite your previous visit or stay in Canada, you still have to meet the eligibility criteria to visit Canada as a tourist. You will need an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization), a visitor visa, or a Temporary Resident Visa, depending on your country of origin.

The border services officer who serves you at the port of entry will determine how long you get to stay on your visitor visa. In most cases, you can stay for 6 months from the day you entered Canada. For a stay longer than 6 months, the authorizing officer will indicate the date you must have exited Canada in your passport.

You apply for a visa through a Canada Visa Application Centre in your country. You will need below documentation when applying for a visitor/tourist visa:

  • VAC Consent Form
  • Photograph Specifications
  • Visitor Form – IMM 5257
  • Family Information Form – IMM 5707
  • Additional Document Checklist – IMM 5484

The detailed eligibility criteria is available on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Post-graduation Work Program

The post-graduation work program is a government program that allows students who have graduated from Canadian universities, colleges, and other post-secondary institution to get Canadian work experience in their specific fields of study. The validity of the work permit depends on the length of time you studied in Canada, up to a limit of 3 years. So if you were doing a 1-year certificate program, you would get a work permit of 1 year under the program.

Eligibility Criteria Includes:

  • You must have graduated from a Canadian public post-secondary institution (or qualifying private institution)
  • You must not have studied under a Commonwealth Scholarship or any other Canadian Government scholarship
  • You must have studied full-time for at least 8 months before completion
  • You must have applied for a work permit within 90 days after getting a written confirmation of completion
  • You must have had a valid study permit when you were applying for the permit

Work Permit

Canada, through Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and through IRCCs Express Entry system, receives thousands of foreign workers to help in economic growth and to assist alleviate skills shortages. There are several programs that you can come into Canada through, all with their own eligibility criteria. Before you get a work permit:

  • Ensure you have a job offer from your employer.
  • Get a labour market opinion on confirmation of your job from ESDC and then apply to IRCC for the permit.
  • Note you may not require a work permit if you are a foreign government representative, a news reporter, a judge, clergy, or you have on-campus employment.

Immigration to Canada

You can apply for Canada permanent resident status, which is the first step towards Canadian citizenship. Just like with a work permit, you have to apply through the IRCC’s Express Entry System. Opportunities to apply for permanent resident status include:

  • Skilled trade
  • Canadian Express Class
  • Skilled worker or professional
  • Investor, self-employed, or entrepreneur
  • Provincial nomination program
  • Family sponsorship such as spouse sponsorship
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