How to Get a Residence Permit in Canada

How to Get a Residence Permit in Canada

Canada is a country in North America and the second-largest country in the world. It is famous for its wildlife, diverse culture, and well-developed economy. The population of Canada was almost 37 million people in 2021.

Canadian immigration policy is pretty strict but Canada also has one of the highest levels of immigration in the world. Canada welcomed over 430,000 new immigrants in 2022 and the government plans to welcome over a million foreigners in 2023. The Canadian Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship expects that by 2036 immigrants will make up 30% of the population.

Requirements for Getting a Residence Permit in Canada 

To become a temporary resident in Canada, you must meet the following conditions:

  1. Be able to speak one of the official languages. Canada does not have a national language, but has two official languages, English and French. You must confirm your skills by passing an exam in one of them.
  2. Have completed secondary or higher education.
  3. Be over 18.
  4. Have no criminal records.
  5. Pass a medical exam confirming you do not pose any threat to public health.
  6. Have enough financial support to be able to live in Canada. For example, you must have at least 13,213 CAD ($9808) in your bank account if you are moving alone. If you are moving with your spouse the minimal sum is 16,449 CAD ($12,200). These numbers are amended every year.
  7. Have work experience, preferably confirmed by references.

Banff National Park, Canada. Photo:

List of Required Documents to Get a Residence Permit

First, go to the website of the Ministry of Immigration and apply for a suitable immigration programme. Next, prepare all the necessary documents. The list includes

  • a completed personal questionnaire in English or French;
  • a travel passport, a driver's licence or other documents issued in Canada;
  • documents confirming your marital and parental status (marriage, divorce, death, birth and other certificates);
  • proof of employment, education and qualifications;
  • a police clearance certificate;
  • a bank statement;
  • results of your medical exam.

These are only the main documents required and you may need to submit additional paperwork. For instance, applicants obtaining a residence permit to study in Canada must provide a sealed acceptance letter from an educational institution and proof of funds for the first year of study.

As soon as the migration service approves your application, you will get a temporary residence permit allowing you to enter Canada. After coming to Canada, you will have an interview at the Canada Border Services Agency and then acquire a permanent residence permit.

Toronto, Canada. Photo:

The Most Popular Immigration Programmes in Canada

The first thing you must do when applying for permanent residence in Canada is to choose a suitable immigration programme. Here are some of the most popular.

Employment. Canada is a well-developed country that is rich in resources. It is the land of oil, gas, forests, and fertile soil. Specialists working in these industries are always in demand in Canada as these natural resources must be extracted and processed. It does not matter if you are a qualified doctor or a logger with no experience. Canada has job opportunities for everyone. Interestingly, caregivers are also very welcome in Canada. There is even a special programme for them with a fast-track route to residence permit.

In addition to a standard package of documents, candidates for residence in Canada must also provide official proof of their qualifications: a university degree, a record of employment, and an invitation from an employer.

Family reunification. You are eligible for this programme if you have a close adult relative in Canada: a spouse, children, siblings, or parents. The same applies for children adopted by a Canadian citizen.

Investment. There have been no investment immigration programmes in Canada since 2014, with the exception of Quebec. Only three categories of investors are eligible for this programme:

  • self-employed business owners who can invest from 200,000 to 500,000 CAD ($148,600 — $370,000); 
  • entrepreneurs who must invest at least 100,000 CAD ($74,000);
  • investors ready to put over 1.2 million CAD ($890,000) into the Canadian economy.

Investors then receive a Quebec Selection Certificate which allows them to get a permanent residence permit and then become Canadian citizens.

Refugee status. Refugees are people who have been forced to leave their home country to escape prosecution or threats to their life and health. This can happen on a racial, religious, national or political basis. 

You can request refugee status upon arrival in Canada at a port, airport or at the land border. You will be transferred to the Refugee Protection Division where the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) will decide whether your case is eligible for refugee status. If the IRB approves your appeal, you can immediately apply for a residence permit.

Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal, Canada. Photo:

In a Nutshell

You can get a residence permit in Canada if you meet all the requirements, can speak one of the official languages and have enough money to support yourself. You can learn more about the different immigration programmes on the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada website.

Cover photo: Toronto (

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