While visiting the great white North, you didn’t just fall in love with the landscape—you fell in love with a Canadian. And now your travel visa is about to expire and you can’t imagine life without your beloved. What can you do?
Don’t assume just because you have a Canadian beau that the process will be easy or simple— all you know is that you’ve met someone in Canada and you’re not ready to leave yet. Now what?
Extend Your Vacation Visa
When you enter Canada, a border services officer will determine how long you can stay as a visitor. This is usually up to six months. Time flies when you’re on vacation, and you might not be ready to go back home or commit to Canada. Can’t your holiday keep going forever?
If you want to extend your visit to see if he or she really is the one, you’ll need to apply at least 30 days before the authorized end of your stay. A visitor extension can take up to 50 days if applied online and 115 days if applied through paper—don’t worry if that’s past your visitor’s end date. You’ll still have temporary resident (visitor) status until your extension is decided.
Work or Study in Canada
So you’re not quite ready to leave Canada or the side of your new love, but your vacation has gone on long enough. You’re itching to get back to something productive, and the employment and study opportunities in Canada are endless. But you can’t simply work or study in Canada with a tourist’s visa. You’ll need to change to a work or study permit.
If applying for a work permit, you’ll need to decide if you want an open work permit or an employer-specific permit. An open work permit will generally allow you to work for any employer in Canada. An employer-specific permit will only allow you to work for a specific employer for a specific length of time and location—you will need to provide proof that you are qualified for your position. A work permit typically takes 12 weeks to be granted.
To apply for a study permit, you’ll need to apply with a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution in Canada. A study permit typically takes 7 weeks to be granted.
Leave Canada—But Prepare to Return
So you have some unfinished business at home before you can return to Canada and move in with your new love to live happily ever after.
There are two types of visitor visas: a single entry visa and a multiple entry visa. A single entry visa only allows you to enter Canada once if you leave, excluding travel to the United States and St. Pierre and Miquelon. A multiple entry visa can be valid for up to ten years and allows you to come and go to and from Canada for up to six months at a time.
All visa applicants (regardless of it being for work, study, or travel) are automatically considered for multiple entry visas. In fact, you can be given a multiple entry visa even if you only applied for a single entry visa.
Become a Permanent Resident
So you’re sure it’s not just butterflies and you’re ready to commit to Canada and your significant other, but you’re not quite prepared to give up your citizenship yet. No problem—you can become a permanent resident. As a permanent resident, you’ll get most social benefits including healthcare coverage; be allowed to live, work, or study anywhere in Canada; and be able to apply for Canadian citizenship.
If you are not a permanent resident or do not currently live in Canada, your spouse (provided he or she is a Canadian permanent resident or citizen) can sponsor your immigration.
Become a Citizen
Being married to a Canadian citizen does not grant citizenship—you must apply to be a Canadian citizen just like everyone else.
If you are a permanent resident already and have been physically present in Canada long enough, you can apply to be a Canadian citizen and reap all the benefits that it entails. Canada does allow its citizens to hold multiple citizenships, so you can hold on to your birthplace and heritage while embracing your future and significant other.
Explore Your Options
You can enter Canada, thinking you’ll just holiday for a week or two, but fall in love (sometimes literally!) and want to end up as a proud Canadian citizen. Canada offers a variety of permits, visas, and residency options and you may need help selecting the best option.
Questions About Immigration? My Visa Source Has Answers.
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