Canada: Country and Foreign Investment
Entry and Residence
This page was last updated on 5 June 2019.
An individual wishing to immigrate to Canada on a permanent basis must apply for a Canada immigration (permanent resident) visa, which allows a person to live and work anywhere in Canada.
Successful applicants will receive a permanent resident card. Canadian permanent residents must meet certain residence obligations or they may lose permanent resident status. Two years of ‘residency days’ must be accumulated in every five-year period. ‘Residency days’ need not be consecutive and may be accumulated either by the person’s physical presence in Canada or, if the person is outside Canada, in the following ways:
- by accompanying a Canadian citizen spouse or common-law partner
- as a child accompanying a parent
- by full-time employment with a Canadian enterprise or the public service of Canada
- by accompanying a Canadian permanent resident who is outside Canada and who is full-time employed by a Canadian enterprise or the public service of Canada, as the employee's spouse, common-law partner or child.
Permanent residents and their dependants are entitled to most social benefits, including health care coverage. They can apply for Canadian citizenship after three years of being a permanent resident.
Those wishing to stay in Canada on a temporary basis (e.g. for leisure, to visit friends or family, or for business) may need to obtain a temporary resident visa or visitor visa before doing so. Citizens of certain countries, such as the USA and UK, are generally exempt from this requirement. Visitor visas are usually valid for six months, but can be extended. A visitor visa may be issued as either a single-entry or multiple-entry visa.
Individuals moving to Canada for work purposes are generally required to obtain a work permit. The individual will require a written job offer letter from a Canadian employer. The employer must then have the offer of employment validated by the department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada before a visa is issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Permits are also available for those wanting to relocate to Canada to study.
For tax purposes, residency applies to anyone whose permanent place of residence or whose centre of personal and economic interests is in Canada, or who spends more than 183 days in the country during a financial year.