UK / British Immigration to Canada - Explained

UK British Immigration to Canada

A vibrant economy, rich history, and diverse culture, these are just a few reasons driving UK citizens to Canada. Whether you’re looking for a temporary escape or you want to become a permanent resident of Canada, it’s important to understand the immigration options available for you.

Applying for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

If you are a British resident, you do not need a visa to visit Canada for a short period of time. You can stay for up to 6 months at a time without having to apply for a visa. However, you still need to apply for Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to board your flight to Canada. Keep in mind that you don’t need an eTA if you are entering Canada by land or sea (such as driving to Canada or taking a train, bus or cruise ship). Temporary travel is a great option for British residents who may wish to explore the country, look for a job or see what options are available.

How to apply for an eTA

eTA applications are done online. Most applicants get their approval within minutes via email. Some requests may take several days to process especially if supporting documents are needed. It’s advised to apply for an eTA well before making travel plans.

The eTA application form is in English and French. You will need the following to complete the form:

  • A valid passport from a visa-exempt country

  • A valid email address

  • $7 CAD fee which can only be paid using one of the acceptable payment methods

Use the online form to apply for the eTA. Note that this form cannot be saved, therefore, ensure that you have all the information ready before you begin. Once you complete the form, pay the $7 CAD. You will receive an email after submitting your application. It’s either the eTA application is approved, or you will receive an email within 72 hours requesting you to submit supporting documents.

Important reminders when applying for eTA:

  • You can only fill one application at a time. If you want to apply for a family of 4, you’ll need to submit 4 forms.

  • Print your receipt immediately because you can’t do it later.

  • All communication is via email only. Check junk mail if you don’t see a response in your inbox.

All eTA applications are made on this link.

Work permits

In order to work in Canada, you’ll need to obtain a temporary work permit which is typically valid for 1 to 3 years. To qualify for a work permit, you need a job offer from a Canadian employer, and the Canadian employer will have to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before they can offer British resident employment in Canada. This process can take about 3 months to complete.

Study permits

If you wish to study in Canada, you must apply for a study permit after receiving an admission letter from a Canadian school. The study permit will be valid for the duration of your school program, typically for 1 to 4 years. Students can work part-time during their studies and upon completion may apply for a post-graduate work permit.

Family Class Sponsorship Program

If you have a spouse or partner who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, then you can be sponsored for Canadian permanent residence on this basis. The major categories are the spousal sponsorship program and the common-law partner program. Under the spousal sponsorship category, you must be legally married. To qualify as a common-law partner, you must have resided with your Canadian partner for at least one year continuously. The sponsorship application can be processed either outside of or within Canada and will take about six months to one year to process. Once permanent residence is granted, the UK citizen can live in Canada indefinitely, work and study, and access social services. After living in Canada for at least three years you can then qualify for Canadian citizenship.

Skilled Workers and the Express Entry Program

If you are a skilled worker or professional currently working in the UK or any other country, you may qualify to immigrate permanently to Canada through the Express Entry program. To qualify, you must meet the minimum requirements under the Express Entry program. This system enables immigrants who can contribute to Canada’s economy to obtain permanent residency within one year. You will have to complete an Express Entry profile where you submit details about your work experience, age, education, and language ability. Your profile will be assessed, and points awarded based on the information you provided. If you score well enough, you will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence through the skilled worker program.

The Canadian Experience Class Program

If you have worked in Canada for at least one year, you may become a permanent resident through the Canadian Experience Class program. All Canada Experience Class applications are now processed under the Express Entry immigration selection system. There are two main advantages of the CEC:

  • Candidates who qualify for this immigration program have accumulated at least one-year Canadian work experience, which gives them an advantage against other candidates in the pool.

  • CEC applications do not require proof of settlement funds unlike other programs in Express Entry such as the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) and Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC).

Keep in mind that even if you are eligible to apply under the Canadian Experience Class, it is not a guarantee that you will be invited to do so when you complete your Express Entry profile. However, you can take steps to improve your chances of being invited to apply for permanent residency under the CEC program.

It is important to choose an immigration program that best applies to your unique situation. Please contact our office for further information should you wish our assistance to apply under any of the described programs.