With its diverse opportunities and vibrant culture, Canada attracts visitors from all around the globe. Many come temporarily to explore the country’s natural beauty, experience its rich heritage, or visit family members. However, converting a visitor visa to a work permit opens possibilities for those seeking to extend their stay for professional pursuits.

 This detailed guide delves into the intricacies of converting a Canada visitor visa to a work permit. We have covered all the essential information, from understanding the key differences between these visas to navigating the application process seamlessly.

Difference Between Tourist Visa And Work Visa

 First, let’s understand the difference between tourist and work visas in Canada.

Tourist Visa: This visa is for people who want to visit Canada for tourism, leisure, or to see friends and family. It’s strictly for non-work purposes. If you have a tourist visa, you cannot work in Canada; it’s only for visiting purposes.

 Work Visa (Work Permit): For those who want to work legally in Canada. With a work visa, you’re permitted to work for a specific employer or even be self-employed, depending on the conditions of your visa.

 You can renew work visas if you meet specific requirements, and you can apply for permanent residency or citizenship in Canada.

Documents Needed to Apply for the Canada Work Permit?

Converting a Canada visitor visa to a work permit entails furnishing specific documents demonstrating eligibility and intent. These may include:

Job Offer Letter: A formal offer of employment from a Canadian employer detailing the position, responsibilities, and terms of employment.

Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA): In some cases, employers may need an LMIA to demonstrate the need for foreign workers and the unavailability of Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Proof of Qualifications: Documents verifying qualifications and relevant work experience, ensuring alignment with the job requirements.

 Valid Passport: A passport with validity extending beyond the intended duration of stay in Canada.

 Proof of Funds: Evidence demonstrating financial stability to support oneself and any dependents during their stay in Canada.

 Medical Examination: Depending on the duration of stay and country of origin, a medical examination may be required to ensure admissibility to Canada.

Eligibility to Convert Canada Visit Visa into Work Permit

 To be eligible for converting a Canada visitor visa to a work permit, individuals must meet specific criteria, including:

 Valid Visitor Status: Applicants must have a valid visitor visa or be in Canada on implied status.

 Job Offer: A genuine job offer from a Canadian employer willing to sponsor the work permit application.

 Compliance with Immigration Laws: Compliance with Canadian immigration laws and regulations, including admissibility criteria.

 Steps to Convert Canada Visit Visa to Work Permit

The standard procedures to convert your tourist visa into a work permit are:

  1. Submit an Application for Employment in Canada: First, securing a job requiring a Canadian work permit is essential. Also, obtain a job offer from a Canadian employer willing to support the work permit application.
  2. Secure an Approved Offer Letter with LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment): Ensure that the company offering you the job has an LMIA approval, indicating their authorization to hire foreign workers.
  3. Compile Necessary Documentation: Gather the required documents, as mentioned earlier, ensuring they are authenticated and legitimate.
  4.  Apply for the Work Permit: Once you have secured the job and collected the necessary documents, apply for the work permit.

 You can complete the application process online through the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website or submit a paper application at a Visa Application Centre (VAC). 

 If you’re unfamiliar with the requirements of a working holiday visa in Canada, please visit our official website for detailed information.

Processing Fee to Convert Canada Visit Visa into Work Permit

Below are the processing fees for applying for a work permit:

  • Work visa: CAD 155 (per individual)
  • Open Work Permit: CAD 100 (per individual)
  • Work Permit for Groups (3 or more) of artists and their respective staff, provided they apply together: CAD 465
  • Restoration of Work Permit: CAD 355

How can a visitor visa be converted to a work permit without LMIA?

  • Under some circumstances, individuals can convert their visitor visa to a work permit without undergoing the standard Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process.
  • This option is particularly relevant for specific categories, specifically the International Mobility Program (IMP), which provides workers’ movement across borders for employment purposes.
  • The LMIA exemptions within the IMP framework are designed to streamline the process for eligible individuals, removing the extensive labor market analysis requirement.
  • These exemptions are often based on reciprocal agreements between Canada and other countries, international agreements, or other strategic considerations promoting economic growth and cooperation.
  • By leveraging these exemptions, qualified individuals can transition seamlessly from a visitor status to a work permit, providing them to contribute their skills and expertise to the Canadian workforce without the administrative burden of an LMIA assessment.
  • Applicants need to understand the specific eligibility criteria and documentation requirements associated with LMIA exemptions under the International Mobility Program to ensure a successful conversion of their visitor visa to a work permit.

Convert Your Canada Visit Visa into a Work Permit with Chaudhary Law

Navigating the intricacies of Canadian immigration law can be daunting, but with expert guidance from Chaudhary Law, the process becomes streamlined and efficient. Our experienced lawyer can assist you with work permit applications, providing personalized support at every step and ensuring a smooth transition from a visitor visa to a work permit.

Contact us at 416-447-6118 and book your initial consultation for expert guidance!


How can I change a visitor visa to a work permit in Canada?

To convert a visitor visa to a work permit in Canada, secure a job offer from a Canadian employer and submit a work permit application with the necessary documents.

Can I apply for a work permit as a visitor in Canada?

Yes, individuals with a valid visitor visa or those in Canada on implied status may apply for a work permit if they have a job offer from a Canadian employer.

Can Visitors Work in Canada?

Visitors to Canada are generally only permitted to work with a valid work permit. However, certain exemptions and programs may allow limited work or volunteer opportunities.

How much time does it take to get a work permit in Canada?

The processing time for a work permit in Canada varies depending on factors such as the type of work permit and the volume of applications. It is advisable to check the latest processing times on the IRCC website.

Can I stay in Canada as a visitor while waiting for a work permit?

Individuals awaiting a decision on their work permit application may remain in Canada as visitors, provided they maintain valid status and comply with immigration laws.

Can I convert my visitor visa to a study visa in Canada?

Yes, if individuals meet the eligibility requirements and receive acceptance from a designated learning institution, they can convert a visitor visa to a study permit in Canada. 

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