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Vancouver: Visas, Work Permits, Citizenship

If you’re thinking of moving to Vancouver, you’re in good company! Immigrants and expats from all over the globe are drawn there for various good reasons. This can be the beginning of a great new life in the True North! We’ll tell you all about housing and visa regulations.
No need to fear the administrative side of your relocation to Vancouver!

Your dream of relocating to Vancouver has to be fulfilled one step at a time, of course. The first one is checking whether or not you need a visa in order to enter the country. The Canadian Citizenship and Immigration services (CIC) have compiled a detailed FAQ section and checklist for all visa-related matters on the CIC homepage, including a list of countries and territories exempt from visas. These include, among others, many large expat “sender countries” in Europe and Asia.

If your home country is not on the list, there’s no need to worry. Your nearest Canadian embassy will swiftly process your application, provided you fulfill all the criteria listed under the above link.

Gaining Your Permission to Work

Acquiring a work permit might require a little bit more stamina, but again, provided you match all the criteria and fulfill the requirements there is little that can go wrong. Your first and main requirement for the permit is finding a future employer who is willing to offer you a work contract. We have listed tips on the job hunt and a lot of additional useful info on the topic of employment in our articles on working in Vancouver and working in Canada. Keep in mind that the process might be a little different from that in your home country.

Once you have signed your contract and the ESDC Labour Market Test had a positive result, there is nothing that stands in the way of your expat assignment in Vancouver.

How to Assume Canadian Citizenship

An understandable and quite common reaction to the experience of expat life in Vancouver is the wish to stay in Canada. Not just a little longer, but maybe for the rest of your life. As Canada is and has always been a traditional immigrant country, the government is fully aware of this fact and has created various categories for immigration and permanent settlement in the country.

As an expat with prior work experience in Canada, thanks to your temporary work permit, the category for your citizenship application is the Canadian Experience Class. If you have already gained 12 months or more of skilled work experience in Canada, have a good understanding of the country, its people and its culture, and have a good grasp of the English language — backed up by an official language test — you are eligible to apply. The CIC has details on requirements, fees and the application process on their website.

In case you are sure you want to permanently settle in Vancouver or anywhere else in Canada before even starting an expat assignment, the Skilled Workers and Professionals category is the one for you. However, the requirements are more numerous, and a lot stricter. If you are confident that you meet all the prerequisites, give it a try!


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Andrey Vasilyev

"When moving to a huge city such as Vancouver, InterNations made it easy for me to find fellow expats and the network that I needed."

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Global Expat Guide