Frequently Asked Questions

General

  • What is the processing time for applications submitted to Citizenship and Immigration Canada?
    • Processing times can vary significantly depending on a number of factors, such as the type of application, the office to which the application is submitted and the current processing backlog. Citizenship and Immigration Canada does publish approximate processing times on its website but these times are estimates only and they change frequently. Processing times for some applications, such as labour market opinions and provincial nominee program nominations, are not published on the CIC website but we can provide you with an estimate if you contact our office.
  • Which office should I submit my application to when submitting an application from outside of Canada?
    • When submitting an application from outside Canada, an applicant may be able to send the application to either the office serving the region where the applicant currently resides or the office serving the applicant’s country of nationality. However, this is not applicable in all circumstances and a determination should be made in each instance. Furthermore, procedures and requirements are not uniform among all offices and the applicant should be aware of these variances in order to determine the best office in which to submit the application.

Visit, Work or Study Temporarily

  • I would like to hire a foreign worker temporarily. What is the process?
    • For most positions, hiring a temporary foreign worker is a two-step process. The employer must first prepare and submit an application for a labour market opinion (LMO) to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). If HRSDC issues a positive (or in some cases a neutral) opinion, the employee may use the LMO to apply for a work permit with CIC. An LMO is not required for all positions. If you are interested in hiring a temporary foreign worker and would like to determine whether you will require an LMO, please contact our office.
  • What is a labour market opinion?
    • A labour market opinion (LMO) is an opinion issued by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) on the impact that hiring a temporary foreign worker will have on the local labour market. If an LMO is required, the employer will make an application to HRSDC and include information such as the nature of the position, working conditions, previous recruitment efforts, and potential benefits of hiring the foreign worker. HRSDC will then assess the application and provide either a positive, neutral or negative opinion. Some positions are exempt from the requirement to apply for an LMO.
  • Can I apply for my work permit from inside of Canada?
    • Generally speaking, a work permit application must be made from outside of Canada. However, there are some situations where an applicant may apply at the border or from within the country. For example, applicants who are already in possession of a valid work or study permit, who are in possession of a temporary resident permit valid for six months or longer, or who have already applied for permanent residence from within Canada, may be able to apply from within the country. Applicants who do not require a temporary resident visa may be able to apply as they enter Canada. If you are unsure of where you should submit your application for a work permit, please contact our office.
  • I am in Canada on a study permit. Can I work off campus to make ends meet?
    • Full time students enrolled in an eligible program at an approved institution may be eligible for an off campus work permit. These work permits generally allow the student to work off campus for up to 20 hours per week when classes are in session and full time during breaks in the academic curriculum. Students may also be eligible to work on the campus of their institution without a work permit provided that the institution qualifies and the student is in possession of a valid study permit. Any student in Canada on a study permit who is considering employment must ensure that the employment is authorized before commencing work.
  • What is the parent and grandparent super visa?
    • The parent and grandparent super visa allows parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to obtain a multiple entry visa that is valid for up to 10 years from the date of issue. The visa will allow the holder to remain in Canada for up to two years during its length.

Permanent Residence

  • I want to sponsor my spouse to become a permanent resident of Canada. What is the process?
    • Sponsoring your spouse for permanent residence is a two stage process. In the first stage, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will assess the sponsor to determine whether he or she is eligible. Many factors, including income and past criminal history, may be taken into account. The sponsor must also be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is 18 years of age or older. If the application to sponsor is successful, CIC will proceed with the application for permanent residence for the sponsored spouse. The application may be made from within or from outside of Canada, but applicants should be aware of the pros and cons of each place of application before making a decision.
  • Do I have ongoing obligations if I sponsor my spouse?
    • Yes. The sponsor and the sponsored spouse must sign a sponsorship agreement in which the sponsor agrees to provide financial support to the spouse. This is an ongoing obligation that ends three years after the day on which the sponsored spouse becomes a permanent resident.
  • What family members can I sponsor for permanent residence in Canada?
    • Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor their spouse, common-law partners and conjugal partners, although permanent residents are currently restricted from sponsoring these types of family members for five years after the date on which they became permanent residents if they were themselves sponsored through of these relationships. Citizens and permanent residents may also sponsor dependant children, including adopted children. As of November 5, 2011, CIC is not accepting applications for sponsor parents or grandparents for up to 24 months while the program is reviewed. However, parents and grandparents may be eligible for the parent and grandparent super visa. Siblings under 18 years of age, accompanying relatives of the person being sponsored may also be sponsored. In some circumstances where the sponsor has no living spouse or relative in Canada, CIC will permit an application to sponsor one relative of any relationship. However, sponsors considering this type of application should ensure that they meet the specific criteria before proceeding.
  • Do I have to live in Canada to maintain my status as a permanent resident?
    • A permanent resident must be physically present in Canada for at least two out of the preceding five years. While loss of permanent residence is not automatic when a permanent resident fails to meet this requirement, the calculation is performed when a permanent resident applies for a new permanent resident card or attempts to enter Canada at a port of entry. If an officer determines that the permanent resident does not meet the requirements, the resident may lose status.

Citizenship

  • What are the requirements to become a citizen of Canada?
    • Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, must be Canadian permanent residents and must have lived in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 1,095 days in the four years preceding the application. Time spent in Canada before the applicant obtained permanent resident status may also qualify on a discounted basis. Canadian citizens and applicants for citizenship may also apply for citizenship for minor children (biological, adopted, or children for which the adult is the legal guardian). Children are not required to meet the requirement of having spent at least 1,095 days in Canada.