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Glossary of immigration terms



Note: The purpose of these definitions is to help people understand the terms used on CIC website. They are not intended to be legal definitions, and should not be treated as such.

Accompanying family member

Related term:
Accompanying dependant

A spouse, common-law partner, dependent child or dependent child of a dependent child (grandchild), who plans to immigrate to Canada with the principal applicant. Accompanying family members are included on the application.


An address is the place where a person is living right now. It can be identified by such things as a street number, street name, apartment number, city, town, province/state and country.

For example: A student from Mexico studying in Canada should enter the address where he or she is living in Canada.

Adequate knowledge of Canada

The Citizenship test will evaluate your knowledge of Canada. During the written exam and the interview, you will be asked questions about:

·         the right to vote and right to run for elected office

·         elections procedures

·         the rights and responsibilities of a citizen

·         Canadian social and cultural history and symbols

·         Canadian political history (including the political system and institutions)

·         Canadian physical and political geography

Adequate knowledge of language

In order to become a Canadian citizen, you must have an adequate knowledge of English or French, Canada’s two official languages. Adequate knowledge of English or French means the ability to speak one of Canada’s official languages well enough to communicate with people. Citizenship applicants must attain Canadian Language Benchmark/Niveau de compétence linguistique canadien 4 to demonstrate adequate knowledge of English or French.



A process whereby a person becomes a member of another family. This process must create a genuine parent-child relationship that permanently severs the legal ties to the child’s biological parents or guardians.


A document becomes an affidavit when a person signs the document, in the presence of an authorized person, after taking an oath that what the document says is true and accurate.

An affidavit is often used in order to verify that a translation of a document accurately reflects what is stated in the original language of the document.


When referring to the age of a permanent or temporary resident in CIC’s statistical information:

·         for permanent residents, their age at landing and

·         for temporary residents, their age at entry or on December 1.


A declaration that a marriage is not valid. Grounds for annulment in Canada include any case when one or both parties were not in a position to legally marry.


A person who submits an application under any of CIC’s business lines.

Application kit

Application for Leave and Judicial Review

An individual who has received a decision from CIC, and who thinks that an error was made in that decision, can generally apply to the Federal Court of Canada and ask that the Court review the decision. Making an application to the Court for a review of the decision is called an Application for Leave and Judicial Review. A review means that the Court will read the decision and decide whether an error was made or not. If the Court decides that CIC made an error, it will usually mean that CIC has to make a new decision.

For more information on this process, see Apply to the Federal Court of Canada for judicial review.

Application package

A package including all forms, supporting documents and information needed to fill out applications for visas, permanent residence and citizenship. It is sometimes referred to as an “application kit.”

Approved in principle

When someone meets the minimum requirements to be a permanent resident, and has received a positive stage one assessment of their application (an “approval in principle” letter). In this situation, they will not become a permanent resident until an officer decides that they meet all remaining requirements and are not inadmissible. These requirements could include certain documentary requirements, such as having a passport issued by your country of citizenship.

Arranged employment

Arranged employment is when you have a permanent job offer from a Canadian employer that has been approved by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. This job offer can improve your chances of having a federal skilled worker application approved.

Assessment tools

Refers to guidelines used by citizenship judges for evaluating a person’s English or French proficiency to help determine if someone meets citizenship language requirements.


Protection that is offered to persons with a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group, as well as those at risk of torture or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

Authorized representative

Related terms:
Immigration representative
Designated representative
Accredited immigration consultant

A person, paid or unpaid, named by an applicant and authorized to:

·         receive information about an application, and

·         act on the applicant’s behalf.

Background check

A procedure to verify the medical, criminal and/or security background of visa applicants to ensure they are admissible to Canada.

Border services officer

Officers of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), a federal government agency, who have the legal authority to decide who can enter and remain in Canada. These officers have many of the same powers as police officers, including the right to conduct searches, make arrests, and seize documents or goods.

Bridge extension

A bridge extension with a maximum validity of 90 days may be issued to applicants when the study permit is due to expire and a diploma or official final transcript of marks are not yet available. The bridge extension is used to obtain a post-graduation work permit while you are waiting to receive your final marks from the educational institution you attended.

British subject status

Related term:
British subject

Before 1947, people born or naturalized in Canada had the status of British subjects. British subject status is relevant in determining Canadian citizenship under the 1947 Canadian Citizenship Act.


A private sector enterprise engaged in the pursuit of profit.

Business class

Related term:
Business immigrant

A category that includes investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed people. A person may become a permanent resident in this category based on his or her ability to economically establish in Canada.

The applicant’s spouse or common-law partner, and the applicant’s dependent children, are also included in this category.

Business experience

Business experience is a term used when applying to immigrate as an entrepreneur to describe:

·         at least two one-year periods of experience in the period from five years before the application date to the day a decision is made on the application.

Experience must have to do with:

·         managing and controlling a percentage of equity in a qualifying business

Or when applying to immigrate as an investor to describe:

·         at least two one-year periods of experience in the period from five years before the application date to the day a decision is made on the application.

Experience must have to do with:

·         managing and controlling a percentage of equity in a qualifying businessor

·         experience managing at least 5 full-time job equivalents per year in a business; or

·         a combination of one year managing and controlling a percentage of equity in a qualifying business and one year of experience managing at least 5 full-time job equivalents in a business.

Business visitor

Related term:
Business traveller

A person who:

·         comes to Canada to take part in international business or trade activities,

·         has no intent to enter the Canadian labour market, and

·         works for and is paid by a company outside Canada or by a foreign government.

Canadian business

An organization that:

·         is incorporated under Canadian or provincial law and has an ongoing operation in Canada, or

·         has an ongoing operation in Canada that can generate revenue, is run for profit, and has a majority of voting or ownership interests held by Canadian citizens, permanent residents or Canadian businesses, or

·         was created by the laws of Canada or a province.

Canadian citizen

A person described as a citizen under the Citizenship Act. This means a person who:

·         is Canadian by birth (either born in Canada or born outside Canada to a Canadian citizen who was themselves either born in Canada or granted citizenship) or

·         has applied for a grant of citizenship and has received Canadian citizenship (naturalization).

Canadian Experience Class

An immigration category that allows temporary foreign workers or recently graduated international students working in Canada to apply for permanent residence.

Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)

The Canadian standard used to describe, measure and recognize English language ability of adult immigrants and prospective immigrants who plan to live and work in Canada. The Niveaux de classification linguistique canadiens (NCLC) is used to assess abilities in the French language.

Case Processing Centre (CPC)

A CIC office in Canada that receives citizenship and immigration applications. There are CPCs in Sydney (Nova Scotia), Mississauga (Ontario) and Vegreville (Alberta). They are not open to the public.


In Quebec, an educational institution that offers pre-university classes (two years) taken between secondary school and university, or technical career programs (three years) that prepare students to enter the job market.

Centralized Intake Office

A CIC office in Sydney, Nova Scotia. This office receives applications from several permanent immigration programs, like federal skilled workers and immigrant investors.

Office staff check applications to make sure they are complete. They then forward them to the visa office responsible for the applicants’ home country to be processed.

Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ)

Related term:
Certificate of acceptance

A document from Quebec’s Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés culturelles (MICC) that:

·         a temporary worker must apply for the CAQ with MICC before coming to Quebec to work, or

·         a foreign student must apply for the CAQ with MICC before coming to study in Quebec.

Certificate of Canadian citizenship

Related terms:
Citizenship certificate
Proof of citizenship
Citizenship card

A Canadian citizenship certificate is a document that proves that a person is a Canadian citizen.

The citizenship certificate is an 8½ x 11 paper size certificate that contains:

·         your certificate number

·         your Unique Client Identifier

·         your name

·         your date of birth

·         your gender

·         your effective date of Canadian citizenship

Certificate of nomination

Related term:
Nomination certificate

A certificate issued by a province or territory that recommends a foreign national for permanent residence under theProvincial Nominee Program.

Certificate of renunciation

Related term:
Renunciation certificate

A document issued by the Government of Canada that confirms someone is no longer a citizen of Canada because they have willingly given up their Canadian citizenship.

Certified English or French translations

To have a copy certified, an authorized person must compare the original document to the photocopy and must print the following on the photocopy:

·         "I certify that this is a true copy of the original document"

·         the name of the original document

·         the date of the certification

·         his or her name

·         his or her official position or title and

·         his or her signature

Certified photocopy

A photocopy of an original document. It must be readable and certified as a true copy of the original by an authorized person. The person compares the documents and marks on the photocopy:

·         their name and signature

·         their position or title

·         the name of the original document

·         the date they certified the document

·         the phrase “I certify that this is a true copy of the original document.”

Certified translator

A member in good standing of a provincial or territorial organization of translators and interpreters in Canada.


To be a citizen of a country means that a person was either born in that country (in most cases) or has been granted citizenship by that country.


State-recognized nationality and the duties, rights, responsibilities and privileges that come with it.

Citizenship ceremony

Related terms:
Clerk of the ceremony
Presiding officer

The final step in becoming a Canadian citizen. During the citizenship ceremony, candidates for citizenship aged 14 and over must take the oath of citizenship. After taking the oath, new citizens receive their citizenship certificate.

Citizenship Commission

The administrative body that consists of all citizenship judges working across Canada.

Citizenship hearing

An interview with a citizenship judge to assess whether an applicant meets the requirements for a grant of citizenship.

Citizenship judge

An independent, quasi-judicial decision maker who makes legal decisions on adult citizenship applications, administers the oath of Canadian citizenship, and presides over citizenship ceremonies.

Citizenship officer

Related term:
Clerk of the ceremony

A person who is authorized by the Minister under the Citizenship Act to perform the duties of a citizenship officer prescribed by the Citizenship Regulations such as:

·         reviewing applications to see whether a person meets the requirements for Canadian citizenship,

·         planning interviews, tests, hearings and citizenship ceremonies and

·         grant citizenship to applicants.

Citizenship test

A test that applicants aged 18 to 54 must pass to in order to meet the knowledge requirement for Canadian citizenship. The test is usually written, but is sometimes taken orally with a citizenship judge. The test assesses:

·         knowledge of Canada, and

·         knowledge of the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

Client Identification Number

A Client Identification Number (Client ID), also referred to as a Unique Client Identifier Number (UCI), can be found on any official document issued by a Citizenship and Immigration Canada office, Case Processing Centre or a Canadian visa office outside Canada.

A Client ID consists of four numbers, a hyphen (-) and four (4) more numbers (example: 0000-0000).

A person who has never dealt with Citizenship and Immigration Canada before will not have a Client Identification Number.


Related terms:
Community college
Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec

A stage of higher education that comes after high school. Colleges offer one- to three-year diploma programs in academic or technical subjects.

Commitment certificate

A certificate of commitment issued to an applicant by a designated private sector business, confirming their agreement.

Common-law partner

Related term:
Common-law spouse

A person who has been living with another person in a conjugal relationship for at least one year. The term refers to opposite-sex and same-sex relationships.

Community sponsor

An organization that sponsors refugees but has not signed a formal agreement with CIC. A community sponsor would normally sponsor fewer refugees than a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH).

Confirmation of permanent residence (IMM 5292)

An official document issued to a person when they arrive in Canada as a permanent resident. Before June 28, 2002, the document issued was called the Record of Landing (IMM 1000).

See Record of landingPermanent resident card.

Conjugal partner

A person outside Canada who has had a binding relationship with a sponsor for at least one year but could not live with their partner. The term refers to both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships.

Constituent group

Related term:
Sponsorship agreement holder (SAH)

A group authorized in writing by a sponsorship agreement holder (SAH) to sponsor refugees under the SAH’ssponsorship agreement. An example of a Constituent Group is a local congregation or chapter of a national church or organization that is a SAH.


Related term:

A Government of Canada office, located in a major city other than a national capital, which provides services to Canadian citizens abroad. It may or may not provide immigration services.

Contact information

A person’s name, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address and fax number, if any.

Convention refugee

A person who is outside of their home country or country where they normally live and fears returning to that country because of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.


A conviction occurs when a person is found guilty of an offence by a court of law or a tribunal.

Co-op/Internship Work Permit

Foreign students who wish to participate in a co-op or internship program in a Canadian institution must apply for a work permit as well as a study permit. To be eligible for the co-op/internship work permit program, you must meet the following conditions:

·         You must have a valid study permit or apply for the work permit in conjunction with a study permit.

·         Your intended employment must be an essential and integral part of your program of study in Canada.

·         Your employment must be certified as part of your academic program, by a letter from a responsible academic official of the institution.

·         Your co-op or internship employment cannot form more than 50 percent of the total program of study.


A person or organization that partners with a private sponsor to share in the delivery of settlement assistance and support to privately sponsored refugees. Co-sponsors can be family members of the sponsored refugee living in Canada.

Country of citizenship

A country of which a person is a citizen. A person may be a citizen of more than one country.

Country of nationality

Your country of nationality is your country of citizenship.

Country of residence

The country a person is living in. A person’s country of residence may be different from their country or countries of citizenship.

Cours de langue pour les immigrants au Canada (CLIC)

Free French language training programs for adult newcomers to Canada. They are funded by the federal government and delivered by school boards, colleges and local organizations that provide services to newcomers.

Criminal inadmissibility

When a person is not allowed to enter or stay in Canada because they have committed or been convicted of a crime for which they have not received a record suspension (formerly known as a pardon) or been rehabilitated under theImmigration and Refugee Protection Act. The crime could have been committed and/or the conviction rendered in or outside Canada.

Criminal rehabilitation

Related term:
Overcoming criminal inadmissibility

This term refers to an application process that allows a person who has committed or been convicted of a crime outside Canada to enter or stay in Canada. “Rehabilitation”, in this context, under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, means that the person is no longer considered inadmissible to Canada for a particular criminal offence.

A person can apply for rehabilitation if at least five years have passed since the act was committed and all criminal sentences have been completed. In order to be approved for rehabilitation the applicant must show that they lead a stable life and are not likely to commit more crimes.

See Criminal inadmissibilityDeemed rehabilitationRecord suspensionRehabilitation.

Decision letter

An official letter sent by CIC advising you of the decision on your case and what you must do next.

Deemed rehabilitation

A person who has been convicted of a crime outside Canada may become admissible or be deemed rehabilitated after 5 or 10 years has passed, except in cases of serious criminality. No application is required to be considered for deemed rehabilitation. Whether someone qualifies for deemed rehabilitation depends on their individual circumstances.

Departure order

A removal order issued by either a Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) officer or the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) an independent administrative tribunal responsible for deciding immigration and refugee matters.

Departure orders are issued against people who have violated Canada’s immigration law. The person named on a departure order must leave Canada within 30 days. If they do not, the departure order becomes a deportation order.

See Removals on CBSA website.


A spouse, common-law partner or dependent child of a permanent resident or principal applicant.

Dependent child

A child who meets certain conditions, including age and marital status. A dependent child can be either a biological child or an adopted child.

Deportation order

A removal order issued by either a CBSA officer or the IRB.

It requires the person to leave Canada due to serious offences or serious violations of Canada’s immigration law. A person deported from Canada may not return without written permission from the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

See Removals on CBSA website.

Designated angel investor group

A private business that is a member of the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) and which has been designated by the Minister.

Designated venture capital fund

A private business that is a member of the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) and that has been designated by the Minister.

Direct route to citizenship

A process for a child born and adopted abroad by Canadian parents to be granted citizenship without having to immigrate to Canada first.

Discover Canada

Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship is the only official study guide for the citizenship knowledge test. An applicant should study from this guide to prepare for the citizenship test. If an applicant uses any other material to prepare for the citizenship test, they do so at their own risk.


Divorced means that a court has granted a divorce and that a marriage has ended. The two people are no longer married.

Dual or multiple citizenship

When a person is a legal citizen of two or more countries at the same time. Dual or multiple citizenship is permitted under Canada’s citizenship laws. Some other countries do not allow it.

Economic Class

Related term:
Economic immigrant

A category of immigrants selected for their skills and ability to contribute to Canada’s economy. Economic Class immigrants include skilled workers, provincial and territorial nominees, business immigrants, Quebec skilled workers and Canadian Experience Class members, and their spouses and dependants.

Educational credential

Any diploma, degree, or trade or apprenticeship credential issued for completing a program of study or training at a recognized educational or training institution.

Educational institution

Related term:
Post Secondary School

An organization offering academic, technical or vocational programs of study, such as a university or college.

Elementary school

Related terms:
Primary school
Grade school
Public school
Middle school

An institution that provides educational programs for children, starting between the ages of four and six. Years of instruction usually include kindergarten (the lowest level) and grades 1 through 6 (if the area has middle schools) or grades 1 through 8.


To be eligible for something means to be qualified to participate or be chosen.


Related term:

A Government of Canada office located in the capital city of a non-Commonwealth country. It generally offers the full range of consular and trade services. It may or may not provide immigration services.

Example: the Embassy of Canada in France, Paris

See High commissionConsulateVisa office

Emergency services

Public support available immediately if there is a dangerous situation caused by fire, a health crisis or criminal activity. These services may include police, fire department and/or ambulance services, and/or a local emergency hotline.

English as a second language (ESL)

Related terms:
English language services for adults
English language training
English as an additional language program

A program used to teach English to non-native speakers. ESL is usually taught in a setting where English is the dominant language.

Enhanced language training (ELT)

A program that provides adult newcomers with advanced, job-specific language training in English or French. ELTalso uses mentoring, job placements and other ways to help newcomers find work.


An immigrant admitted to Canada who:

·         has business experienceand

·         has a legally obtained net worth of at least C$300,000.

As a condition of maintaining permanent resident status as an entrepreneur, the person also agrees to:

·         control at least one-third of the equity in a qualifying Canadian business,

·         actively manage the business, and

·         create at least one full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Excessive demand

When a person’s existing medical condition could place a demand on health or social services that would likely:

·         cost more to treat than the cost of caring for an average Canadian or

·         interfere with timely services to Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Exchange student

An exchange student is a student who studies in another country by switching places with a student from that country for a short period of time.

Exclusion order

A removal order issued by either a Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) officer or the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).

Usually, a person removed due to an exclusion order cannot return to Canada for one year without written permission. People issued exclusion orders for misrepresentation cannot return for two years without written permission.

See Removals on CBSA website


A facilitator is a financial institution that:

·         is approved by CIC;

·         is a member of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC);

·         helps immigrant investors make and redeem their investments.

False representation

Family Class

An immigration category that includes any family members sponsored to come to Canada by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Family members

An applicant’s closest relatives, in the context of an application to CIC. It is defined as a spouse or common-law partner, dependent children, and their dependent children.

Federal skilled worker

An immigrant selected as a permanent resident based on their education, work experience, knowledge of English and/or French, and other criteria that have been shown to help people succeed in the Canadian labour market. Spouses and children are included on the application.

Quebec selects its own skilled workers, under the Quebec skilled worker Class (QSW).

Financial support

Financial support means that your sponsor provides money to help you pay for food, living expenses, etc.

Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR)

Foreign credential recognition is the process of verifying that the education and job experience obtained in another country are equal to the standards established for Canadian professionals. Credential recognition for regulated occupations is mainly a provincial responsibility that has been delegated in legislation to regulatory bodies.

Foreign national

A person who is not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.

Foreign student

Related term:
International student

A temporary resident who is legally authorized to study in Canada on a temporary basis. With a few exceptions, foreign students must get a study permit if they are taking a course of studies that will last for more than six months.

Foreign worker

A temporary resident who is legally allowed to work in Canada on a temporary basis.

French as a second language (FSL)

A program used to teach French to non-native speakers. FSL is usually taught in a setting where French is the dominant language.

Full-time equivalent studies

Education completed on a part-time or accelerated basis that is equivalent to a full-time program of study.

Full-time job equivalent

Defined as 1,950 hours of paid employment per year.

Full-time study

Related term:
Full-time student

Study schedule with a minimum number of hours (15 hours) of instruction per week during the academic year, including any period of training in the workplace that is part of the student’s studies. Students should ask their school what the full-time requirements are.

Full time study status

Full time study status is determined by your educational institution (school). It is usually based on the number of classroom hours per week.

General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)

Related term:
International agreement

An international agreement that provides the basis for giving some foreign business people easier access to Canada. Many countries that are members of the World Trade Organization have signed the agreement.

Three kinds of business people are covered:

·         business visitors,

·         professionals and

·         employees transferred within a company to work in Canada.

Given name(s)

A given name(s) is the name(s) given to a person at birth and by which that person is most commonly referred to. A person’s given name(s) includes his or her first name and middle name. For example: If a person’s name is Mark Paul Jenkins, his given names are Mark Paul.

A person may have one or more given names.

Government-assisted refugee

A person who is outside Canada and has been determined to be a Convention refugee and who receives financial and other support from the Government of Canada or Province of Quebec for up to one year after their arrival in Canada.

GARs are selected from applicants referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other referral organizations.

Grant of citizenship

Group of five

A group of five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents, each of whom is at least 18 years of age, who agree to work together to sponsor a refugee.


A guarantor is a person who can confirm your identity and the information you have provided. If you do not have a guarantor who has known you for at least two (2) years, you must complete a Statutory Declaration in Lieu of Guarantor.

Health card

A document that allows a person to receive public health care in a Canadian province or territory. Newcomers can apply for a health card when they arrive in Canada.

Health insurance

A Canadian provincial or territorial government program that pays for essential health services provided by doctors, hospitals and certain non-physician practitioners. Newcomers must apply to their provincial or territorial health insurance plan to get coverage and a health card.

High commission

Related term:

A Government of Canada office, is the same as an embassy, but is located in the capital city of a Commonwealth country.

Example: High Commission of Canada to the United Kingdom in London

See EmbassyVisa officeConsulate.

Humanitarian and compassionate application (H & C)

People who would not normally be eligible to become permanent residents of Canada may be able to apply on humanitarian and compassionate (H & C) grounds.

(H & C) grounds apply to people with exceptional cases. Factors that are looked at include:

·         how settled the person is in Canada,

·         general family ties to Canada,

·         the best interests of any children involved, and

·         the degree of hardship that the applicant would experience if the request is not granted and they must leave Canada in order to apply for permanent residence.

(H & C) decision makers will not look at the risk factors that are looked at in an in-Canada refugee protection claim or a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA). These factors which are outside the scope of an (H & C) application include persecution, danger of torture or risk to life or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

Identity card

A card used to prove who someone is. It can be issued by a government or by a recognized international agency, such as the United Nations.

Immigration consultant

Related terms:
Immigration representative
Designated representative

A person who provides support, advice or help, for a fee or other consideration, to someone who wants to immigrate to Canada. Canada’s immigration law defines representatives and the terms of their services. This person does not work for the Canadian government.

Immigration document

An official document issued by a CIC or Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) office, Case Processing Centre (CPC) or Canadian visa office outside Canada, such as one of the following:

·         Immigrant visa and record of landing (IMM 1000),

·         Confirmation of permanent residence (IMM 5292),

·         Permanent resident card,

·         visitor record,

·         work permit,

·         study permit or

·         temporary resident permit.

Immigration officer

A Government of Canada employee who is in charge of deciding who can enter and remain in Canada. They check documents and interview applicants to make sure their applications are accurate.

Immigration status

A non-citizen’s position in a country—for example, permanent resident or visitor.

Implied status

If a visitor, student or temporary worker applies to extend their status, prior to the expiry of that status, they may legally remain in Canada until a decision is made on the application. In this situation, the person has implied status.

In good standing

Refers to a representative who:

·         is licensed and insured,

·         is qualified to help you through the legal process, and

·         meets the standards of learning, competence and professional conduct.

In process

When an application that has been sent to CIC has been opened, checked for completeness, and an employee has begun to process it (enter into the computer system, etc.).


Related term:
Inadmissible person

When a person is not allowed to enter or stay in Canada. Reasons can include security concerns, criminal offences, human rights violations, health or financial reasons, and failure to comply with Canada’s immigration laws.

Indictable offence

See Offence.

Individual rehabilitation

Instruction guide

Instruction guides are documents that provide:

·         information a person must know about an application before sending it to CIC and

·         help with filling out forms and required supporting documents.

These guides are posted on the CIC website.

Intercountry adoption

Related term:
International adoption

A legal adoption of a child residing in another country that complies with the laws of both the sending and receiving countries.

International Experience Canada (IEC)

Related terms:
International youth program
Working Holiday Program

A youth exchange program allowing Canadians, 18 to 35, to live and work in other countries, generally for up to one year at a time. The reciprocity of the program allows for youth from these same countries to live and work in Canada for up to one year.

International medical graduate

A person who has graduated from a medical school not accredited in Canada (by the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools) or in the U.S. (by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education). This term includes graduates of a U.S. school of osteopathic medicine accredited by the American Osteopathic Association.

International student


Supervised work or school-related training that may be either paid or unpaid. Internship positions can be found with some businesses, government departments and non-profit organizations. Internships can help newcomers gain Canadian work experience.

Intra-company transferee

Related terms:
General Agreement on Trade in Services
North American Free Trade Agreement

A qualified employee who is transferred within a company to work in Canada on a temporary basis.


A term used to describe an immigrant admitted to Canada who:

·         has business experience

·         has a legally obtained net worth of at least C$1,600,000, and

·         has made an investment of C$800,000

Labour market opinion (LMO)

Labour Market Opinion (LMO) is a document that an employer in Canada must usually get before hiring a foreign worker.

A positive LMO will show that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker can do the job. A positive LMO is sometimes called a Confirmation letter.

Your proposed employer must contact Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). HRSDC will provide details on the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) application process.


Related term:
Interview for final determination

The final interview with an immigration officer at either a port of entry or a local CIC office within Canada, during which an applicant becomes a permanent resident. This happens when the person signs the confirmation of permanent residence.

Language assessment

An evaluation of a person’s reading, writing, listening and speaking abilities in English or French.

Language requirement

Related terms:
Adequate Language

Some types of applications require you to have a certain level of skill in either English or French. The level of language ability required is different, depending on the type of application being submitted.

Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC)

Free English language training programs for adult newcomers to Canada. They are funded by the federal government and delivered by school boards, colleges and local organizations that provide services to newcomers.

Letter of introduction

A document sent from a visa office to confirm approval of:

·         a study permit, or

·         a work permit, or

·         extended stay for a parent or grandparent from a country that does not require visas (the Super Visa program).

Applicants must present the letter when they arrive in Canada.

Letter of invitation

A letter from a person in Canada on behalf of a friend or family member who wants to visit. This may be helpful if the visitor is from a country where visas are required to travel to and enter Canada.

The letter should explain how they plan to help the visitor and whether they have the financial means to support the person during a longer visit.

Letter of support

A letter of support is given to the applicant by the designated angel investor group or venture capital fund. It is proof that they will support your business idea.

Level of education

A selection factor under the Federal Skilled Worker Program for which points are awarded. It is based on the certificate, diploma or degree obtained, and the number of years of schooling.

Level of study

There are five levels of study for foreign students in Canada. They are:

·         Universities: Offer degree-granting programs at the undergraduate (bachelor’s) graduate (master’s), and postgraduate (doctoral, post-doctoral) levels, and may also offer programs leading to certificates or diplomas in various academic disciplines.

·         Colleges: Offer academic or professional training programs leading to diplomas or certificates (includesCEGEPs in Quebec, which is generally mandatory before attending university).

·         Trade: Non-university educational institutions in Canada that offer vocational trades and/or technical programs (such as vocational institutions, or private career colleges).

·         Other post-secondary: Post-secondary studies that are not undertaken at university, college or trade school. This includes studies at language institutions and private institutions, and in university qualifying programs.

·         Secondary or less: Includes primary and secondary schools in Canada.

·         Other: Studies that cannot be classified at any of the above levels of study.

Live-in caregiver

Related term:

A person who is qualified to provide care for children, elderly people or people with disabilities in private homes without supervision. A live-in caregiver must live in the private home of their employer while they work in Canada.

Local CIC office

Related term:
Local office

A CIC service location in Canada. This term does not include ports of entry or CPCs.

Low-income cut-off (LICO)

Related term:
Minimum necessary income

Income levels set out by the Government of Canada where a family spends a higher percentage on necessities than other families. A family must be above the cut-off in order to

·         sponsor a family member to immigrate to Canada, or

·         host parents or grandparents for an extended stay.


Married means that two people have had a ceremony that legally binds them to each other. This marriage must be recognized under the laws of the country where it was performed and under Canadian law.

Medical examination

Related terms:
Medical exam
Immigration medical exam

A physical examination (that could also include laboratory/radiology tests depending on age) performed by a CICappointed medical doctor that all immigrants and some visitors must go through before they are allowed into Canada. An applicant must be in good health and have no conditions or illnesses that:

·         would pose a danger to Canadians or

·         be very expensive to treat in Canada.

Medical inadmissibility

When a person is not allowed to enter Canada for health-related reasons. For instance, the person might:

·         pose a danger to public health,

·         pose a danger to public safety or

·         place excessive demand on health or social services.

Member of the Convention Refugees Abroad Class

Related term:
Convention refugee

A person who has been determined to be a Convention refugee by a visa officer outside Canada.

Member of the Country of Asylum Class

A person who is outside their home country or the country where they normally live and is seriously affected by civil war, armed conflict, or a massive violation of human rights.

Middle school

Related terms:
Grade school
Public school
Secondary school

An institution that provides educational programs for grades 7 and 8, in between elementary school and high school.

Minimum necessary income

Related term:
Low-income cut-off

The amount of income a family must earn in order to

·         sponsor a family member to immigrate to Canada, or

·         host parents or grandparents for an extended stay.

Minor child

A minor child is a child who is under the age of 18 years in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan. In all the other provinces it is the age of 19 years.


When a person makes false statements, submits false information, or submits false or altered documents when dealing with CIC. This is a crime. Documents can include:

·         passports and travel documents,

·         visas,

·         diplomas, degrees, and apprenticeship or trade papers,

·         birth, marriage, final divorce, annulment, separation or death certificates, or

·         police certificates.

Lying on an application or in an interview with a CIC officer is also an offence under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Misrepresentation renders a person inadmissible to Canada for a period of 2 years.

Multiple-entry visa

Related terms:
Tourist visa
Visitor visa

A visa that allows someone to leave and re-enter Canada more than once during a defined period of time.

National Occupational Classification (NOC)

The National Occupation Classification (NOC) is a list of all the occupations in the Canadian labor market. It describes each job according to skill type and skill level. The NOC is used to collect and organize job statistics and to provide labour market information. It is also used as a basis for certain immigration requirements.

Native language

Your native language is the original language that was taught to you as a child and spoken in your household while growing up. It is also known as your mother tongue or first language.


Related term:
Grant of citizenship

The formal process by which a person who is not a Canadian citizen can become a Canadian citizen. The person must usually become a permanent resident first.

Non-accompanying family members

Related term:
Non-accompanying dependant

Family members who are dependent on the principal applicant but who are not immigrating to Canada. They include a spouse or common-law partner, dependent children, and the children of a dependent child.

These people must be listed on the principal applicant’s application for permanent residence. They should have a medical exam so they can remain eligible for sponsorship at a later date.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Related term:
Intra-company transferee

An agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico. Under it, citizens of each country can enter the other more easily for business.

NAFTA applies to four types of business people:

·         business visitors,

·         professionals,

·         people transferred within a company to work in Canada, and

·         traders and investors.

Oath of citizenship

A declaration that a person will:

·         be loyal to the Queen,

·         obey Canada’s laws and customs, and

·         fulfill the duties of a Canadian citizen.

In order to become citizens, people aged 14 or over must take the oath. Reciting the oath is the final requirement for Canadian citizenship.

See Citizenship ceremonyCitizenship judge.


Related term:

An offence is any violation of a Canadian law or act, whether or not it occurs in Canada. It can include anything from trespassing or damaging property to immigration fraud or violent crime. There are two main types:

·         Summary offences — These are less serious. The maximum penalty for a summary offence is usually a $5,000 fine and/or six months in jail.

·         Indictable offences — These are more serious and include theft over $5,000, break and enter, aggravated sexual assault and murder. Maximum penalties vary and include life in prison. Some have minimum penalties.

Off-Campus Work Permit Program

The Off-Campus Work Permit Program allows certain foreign students to work off campus while completing their studies. To qualify, you must be a full-time student enrolled at a participating publicly funded post-secondary educational institution or in an approved program at an eligible privately funded post-secondary institution. SeeOff-campus work permits for a list of participating institutions in the Off-Campus Work Permit Program.

One-year window provision

This allows resettled refugees in Canada to be reunited with immediate family members that are still overseas. Immediate family members are spouses, common-law partners and dependent children. To be eligible for this provision, an application must be made within one year of the resettled refugee arriving in Canada.


The actual paper version of a document, not a photocopy or an electronic copy.

Panel physician

A medical doctor appointed by CIC to perform immigration medical examinations.

Pass mark (skilled worker)

The minimum number of points an applicant must get in order to qualify for selection for programs with a points grid. The pass mark is different depending on the program.

See Points


An official travel document that identifies the person who holds it and shows their citizenship. A passport gives the holder the right to leave and return to the country that issued it. A passport is the only reliable travel document that all countries accept.

Permanent resident

Related terms:
Landed immigrant

A person who has legally immigrated to Canada but is not yet a Canadian citizen.

For a more detailed definition, see the legal definition of permanent resident.

Permanent resident card

Related terms:
Maple leaf card
PR card

A wallet-sized plastic document issued to all new permanent residents (and to existing permanent residents, when requested) to confirm their status in Canada. The card includes identifying details and the signature of the person it was issued to.

Permanent resident status

The position of a person who has legally immigrated to Canada but is not yet a Canadian citizen.

Permanent resident visa

A document issued by a CIC visa office overseas to a foreign national. It allows that person to travel to Canada to become a permanent resident.

Personal net worth

Related terms:
Net worth
Net assets

The fair market value of all assets of an applicant and their spouse or common-law partner, minus the fair market value of all their liabilities. Generally, this figure does not include personal assets, such as jewellery and automobiles.

Physical presence in Canada

Physical presence in Canada is the amount of time you have lived in Canada within the relevant four-year period, minus time spent serving a sentence, and minus the days you have been physically absent from Canada. If you have fewer than three years (1,095 days) of physical presence but at least three years of basic residence less time served, the citizenship judge will evaluate the nature of your residence in Canada. However, your application will take longer to process and may be refused.


The scoring system used to assess federal skilled workers and Business Class immigrants. Points are assigned for six different factors: education, proficiency in English and/or French, work experience, age, arranged employment in Canada, and adaptability. A person must have a minimum number of points to qualify in each category.

See Pass mark

Police certificate

Related terms:
Police clearance certificate
Certificate of good conduct
Judicial record extract

An official copy of a person’s criminal record, or a declaration that they do not have a criminal record. Police authorities or government departments issue such certificates. Authorities use them to confirm whether visa applicants are criminally inadmissible.

Port of entry

A place where a person may seek entry into Canada, such as at an airport, land or marine border crossing.

Post-graduation work permit

A document issued by CIC to eligible foreign students who have:

·         graduated from an approved program of study at an eligible post-secondary institution in Canada that is participating in the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program

·         applied to CIC within 90 days of completing all degree or program requirements.

It allows the bearer to work legally in Canada after completing studies.

Post-secondary institution

Related term:
Higher education

A stage of higher education that comes after high school. Refers to a college, university or technical school offering programs of study.

Pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA)

A thorough process that evaluates whether a person would face persecution, torture, risk to life or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment, if returned to his or her country of origin.

Principal applicant

When a family applies together, one member must be the main or “principal” applicant. For example, a mother applying for permanent residence with her three children would be the principal applicant. When parents are included in an application, dependent children cannot be principal applicants.

Prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR)

This is a process that is used across Canada by schools, colleges, universities, employers and governments to formally recognize a person’s skills that they have acquired outside of formal education settings. This process allows people to have these skills assessed and possibly recognized in the form of academic credits. For more information on prior learning assessment and recognition, see the Canadian Association of Prior Learning Assessment (Pan-Canadian)

Privately sponsored refugee

Related terms:
Community Sponsor
Group of Five
Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH)

A person outside Canada who has been determined to be a Convention refugee or member of the Country of Asylum class and who receives financial and other support from a private sponsor for one year after their arrival in Canada. Private sponsors are Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs), Groups of Five or Community Sponsors.


If you are on probation, you have been convicted of a crime or offence and have been released without having to go to a penitentiary, jail, reformatory or prison. Typically a person on probation must live under certain conditions set by the court, for example, a curfew or not allowed to take alcohol.


Permanent residents who have committed crimes in Canada may not be eligible to become Canadian citizens for a period of time. People may be considered under a prohibition and cannot get citizenship if they:

·         are currently serving a sentence,

·         have been convicted of a serious crime in the last three years,

·         are currently charged with a serious crime,

·         are under a removal order (been asked by Canadian officials to leave Canada),

·         are under investigation for, are charged with, or have been convicted of a war crime or a crime against humanity, or

·         had Canadian citizenship taken away in the last five years.

Proof of citizenship

Related terms:
Citizenship card
Citizenship status
Clarification of status
Confirmation of status
Citizenship certificate

A document issued by the Government of Canada that confirms a person’s status as a Canadian citizen.

Protected person

A person who has been determined to be a Convention refugee or person in similar circumstances by a Canadian visa officer outside Canada, a person whom the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada has determined to be a Convention refugee or in need of protection in Canada, or a person who has had a positive pre-removal risk assessment (in most cases).

Protected person status document

An official document issued by CIC that confirms a person’s status in Canada as a protected person.

Protected temporary resident

A person admitted to Canada on a temporary resident permit because a Canadian visa officer abroad has determined that they face an immediate threat to their life, liberty or physical safety.

Provincial Nominee Program

A program that allows provinces and territories to nominate candidates for immigration to Canada.

Provincial or territorial nominee

Someone who is nominated for immigration to Canada by a provincial or territorial government that has a Provincial Nominee Program. Nominees have the skills, education and work experience needed to make an immediate economic contribution to the province or territory that nominates them.

Qualifying Canadian business

For the purposes of determining whether an entrepreneur has managed and controlled a qualifying Canadian business, a qualifying Canadian business is one in which the percentage of the business controlled by the entrepreneur meets at least 2 of the following thresholds in one year:

·         full-time job equivalents are equal to or greater than two,

·         total annual sales are equal to or greater than $250,000,

·         net income in the year is equal to or greater than $25,000, and

·         net assets at the end of the year is equal to or greater than $125,000.

Qualifying business

For the purposes of meeting business experience requirements as an entrepreneur or investor applicant, a qualifying business is one in which the percentage of the business controlled by the applicant meets at least 2 of the following thresholds in one year:

·         full time job equivalents are equal to or greater than two,

·         total annual sales are equal to or greater than $500,000,

·         net income in the year is equal to or greater than $50,000, and

·         net assets at the end of the year is equal to or greater than $125,000.

Reaffirmation ceremony

A formal event where Canadian citizens express their commitment to Canada by repeating the oath of citizenship.

Recall of citizenship certificate

The process by which a person may be required to surrender their certificate if there is reason to believe that the person may not be entitled to the certificate or has violated any of the provision of the Act.

Record of landing (IMM 1000)

An official document once issued to a person when they arrived in Canada as a permanent resident. Canada stopped issuing records of landing on June 28, 2002.

Record suspension

A record suspension (formerly a pardon) allows people who were convicted of a criminal offence, but have completed their sentence and demonstrated they are law-abiding citizens for a prescribed number of years, to have their criminal record kept separate and apart from other criminal records.

Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program

The Government of Canada’s program under which refugees from abroad, who meet Canada’s refugee resettlement criteria, are selected and admitted to Canada.

Refugee claimant

A person who has applied for refugee protection status while in Canada and is waiting for a decision on his/her claim from the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

Refugee dependant

A family member of a refugee in Canada, whose application for permanent residence is processed at the same time as the principal applicant’s.

Refugee landed in Canada

A permanent resident who applied for and received permanent resident status in Canada after their refugee claim was accepted.

Refugee protection status

When a person, inland or overseas is determined to be a Convention refugee or protected person, they are said to have refugee protection status in Canada. Refugee protection is given to a person in accordance with theImmigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Refugee travel document

A document for people in Canada with protected-person status to use for travel outside Canada. This includes refugees and people who have received a positive Pre-Removal Risk Assessment.

It can be used to travel anywhere except the country the person is a citizen of or the country of claimed persecution.


A process by which a person can overcome criminal inadmissibility.

Relationship of convenience

Related term:
Marriages of convenience

A marriage, common-law relationship, conjugal partnership or adoption that is not genuine, or was entered into for status or privilege in Canada. People in these relationships are not members of the family class.


A person who is related to another person by blood or adoption.

Relevant experience

When applying to immigrate as a self-employed person, relevant experience means:

·         at least two one-year periods of experience in the period from five years before the application date to the day a decision is made on the application.

Experience must be in one of these areas:

·         self-employment in cultural activities or athletics,

·         participating in cultural activities or athletics at the world-class level or

·         farm management.

Removal order

When an immigration official orders a person to leave Canada. There are three types of removal orders (departure, exclusion and deportation) and each one has different consequences.

Renunciation of citizenship

Related term:
Renunciation document

The process by which a citizen willingly gives up officially his or her Canadian citizenship. Once a citizenship judge approves an application for renunciation, a renunciation certificate is issued.


A person who has the permission of someone wanting to immigrate to Canada to conduct business with CIC on their behalf. The representative can be paid or unpaid. When someone appoints a representative, they may also authorizeCIC to share information from their case file with this person. Canada’s immigration law covers representatives and defines the terms of their services.

Residence requirement

The amount of time a permanent resident must live in Canada to be eligible for a grant of Canadian citizenship.

Adults must have lived in Canada for at least three years (1,095 days) in the past four years preceding immediately the date of application. It does not apply to children under 18 years old.

Resumption of citizenship

The process by which a former citizen may resume his or her Canadian citizenship back after one year of residence in Canada as a permanent resident preceding immediately the date of application. They must become a permanent resident first.


Retired means you have willingly stopped working. This is usually because of age.

Revocation of citizenship

Related terms:
Loss of citizenship
Cease to be a citizen

The process by which the Government of Canada may revoke a person’s Canadian citizenship. Reasons for revocation include :

·         false representation,

·         commits fraud, or

·         knowingly conceals any material circumstances

Right of permanent residence fee

A charge paid by a principal applicant (with some exceptions), and a spouse or common-law partner travelling with them, before the applicant can become a permanent resident of Canada.

Safe third country

A safe third country is a country, other than Canada and the country of alleged persecution, where an individual may make a claim for refugee protection. In Canada, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act outlines the criteria for designating a country as a safe third country.

Satisfactory academic standing

Satisfactory academic standing means getting a certain mark or grade point average in a program of study, or completing certain program requirements. Different programs of study will have different standards of what is considered “satisfactory”. Check with your educational institution.

Secondary school

Related terms:
High school
Middle school

An institution that provides an education to students who have completed elementary school. These schools usually include grades 9 through 12 (although, in some areas, they start with grade 7). In the province of Quebec, secondary grades are called grades 1 through 5.

Self-employed person

An immigrant admitted to Canada because they have relevant experience in working for himself or herself. The person must intend and be able to become self-employed in Canada in the arts, athletics or farm management.

Self-supporting refugee

An applicant accepted as a Convention refugee abroad, or as a member of the Country of Asylum Class, who has sufficient financial resources to support themselves in Canada.


Separated means that two people are married but no longer living together, and they do not wish to live together again. They may be waiting for a divorce or have not yet decided to divorce.

Serious criminality

A category of criminal inadmissibility that applies to people who have committed or been convicted of an offence, inside or outside Canada, punishable by a sentence of at least 10 years in Canada, or convicted of an offence in Canada for which the person received a sentence of more than six months. Referred to in Canada as an indictable offence.

Service provider organization (SPO)

Related terms:
Immigrant settlement agency
Immigrant service provider
Settlement agency
Immigrant-serving agency
Immigrant-serving organization
Settlement assistance organization
Immigrant settlement association

A service provider organization (SPO) is an agency that provides services for newcomers to Canada.

Service provider organizations offer programs that can give newcomers resources and training to live and work in Canada. Their programs can help refugees who often have a difficult time with day-to-day tasks like finding an apartment, taking public transportation, or making a doctor’s appointment.

These organizations can also help refugees complete forms, get permanent resident cards, health insurance, social insurance numbers, etc. They also offer interpretation and translation services to help with such special needs as giving medical backgrounds to doctors.

Visit CIC’s website for more information on the many services provided by SPOs.

Settlement funds

This term can refer to one of two things.

1.    Sufficient and available funds that economic immigrants must prove they have to settle in Canada. The funds must be:

o    available,

o    transferable and

o    not committed to debts or other obligations.

These funds will cover fees, relocation costs and costs to settle.

2.    Funds allocated by the Government of Canada to pay for measures to develop welcoming and inclusive communities, or to help newcomers settle into their new communities.

Single-entry visa

Related terms:
Tourist visa
Visitor visa

A visa that allows someone to enter Canada only once.

Skill level

To be eligible for the Federal Skilled Worker Class and Canadian Experience Class, foreign workers must have work experience at specified skill levels. Skill levels for occupations come from the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. They are classified by type of work and training required to be proficient.

Skilled worker


A Canadian citizen or permanent resident who is 18 years of age or older, and who legally supports a member of the Family Class to become a permanent resident of Canada.

Sponsored person

A foreign national who has applied for permanent residence under the Family Class, has an approved Canadian sponsor and meets the requirements of the Family Class.

Sponsorship agreement

A signed contract between a sponsored immigrant and his or her sponsor, outlining the obligations and commitments of both parties. The agreement is required before the sponsored person can immigrate to Canada.

Sponsorship agreement-holder (SAH)

An incorporated organization that signs an agreement with CIC to sponsor refugees abroad.

A SAH can authorize other groups in the community to sponsor refugees under its agreement. These groups are known as “constituent groups.”

Sponsorship requirements

Requirements a person must meet to sponsor a family member to come to Canada as a permanent resident.


A legal marriage partner. This term includes both opposite- and same-sex relationships but does not include common-law partnerships.

Start-up visa

Permanent residence visa given to a person or group of persons who applied under the Start-up Business Class and received a commitment from a designated angel investor group or venture capital fund, and who intend to operate a new business in Canada.

Study permit

A document issued by CIC that authorizes a foreign national to study at an educational institution in Canada for the duration of the program of study. It sets out conditions for the student such as:

·         whether their travel within Canada is restricted and

·         when they have to leave.

Support services

Services that help newcomers to fully participate in CIC-funded settlement programs. Support services can include onsite child care, transportation support, translation and interpretation services, support for disabilities and short-term crisis counselling.


Your surname is your family name. When filling out applications, type your surname as it appears on your passport, travel or identity document or any letters you got from the visa office or case processing centre where you sent your application (even if the name is misspelled). Do not use initials.

If you do not have a surname on your passport, travel or identity document, enter all your given name(s) in the surname field and leave the given name field blank.

Temporary resident

Related terms:

Status of a foreign national who is in Canada legally for a short period. Temporary residents include students, temporary foreign workers and visitors, such as tourists.

Temporary resident documents

Documents issued to allow a person to visit, work in or study in Canada for a specific period. Temporary resident documents have an expiry date.

Examples of temporary resident documents are study permits, work permits and visitor records.

Temporary resident permit

A permit that may be granted in exceptional circumstances to a person who does not meet the requirements of Canada’s immigration law to enter or remain temporarily in Canada.

Temporary resident visa

Related term:
Tourist visa

An official counterfoil document issued by a visa office abroad that is placed in a person’s passport to show that he or she has met the requirements for admission to Canada as a temporary resident (a visitor, student or worker). A counterfoil is a specially designed sticker on which missions abroad print visa information.

Informally known as a visitor or tourist visa, the TRV may be issued for single or multiple entries to Canada.

See Multiple-entry visaSingle-entry visaVisitor visa.

Transit visa

A temporary resident visa issued to people travelling through Canada to another country. There is no fee if the traveller will be in Canada for less than 48 hours. To obtain this visa, travellers must provide proof of their travel plans from their transportation company or travel agent.

Travel document

An identity document issued by a government or an international organization (such as the United Nations). It contains a person’s photograph and personal information, and allows that person to travel between countries.

See Passport.


Tuition is the cost or fee for instruction at a private institution (school), university, or college.

U.S. passport card

A wallet-sized travel document that U.S. citizens can use to enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports of entry.


Unemployed means that you do not have a job at this time but that you are actively seeking one.


A stage of higher education that comes after high school. Universities issue three types of degrees: bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate. People must usually complete high school to qualify for university. In Canada, “college” does not refer to a university.

In Quebec, students attend a CEGEP (college) between high school and university.

Urgent Protection Program (UPP)

The Urgent Protection Program (UPP) allows Canada to respond to urgent requests from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to resettle refugees who face immediate threats to their life, liberty or physical safety.


For a document—legal, not expired, and accepted by CIC.

Verification of Status Document

A document that includes a person’s immigration information such as the date and place that you where you came to Canada.

It can be used to prove your immigration status. It cannot be used for travel and is not an identity document.


An official counterfoil document issued by a visa office abroad that is placed in a person’s passport to show that he or she has met the requirements for admission to Canada as a temporary resident (a visitor, student or worker). A counterfoil is a specially designed sticker on which missions abroad print visa information.

Canadian visas include:

·         temporary resident visas (sometimes called visitor visas) and

·         permanent resident visas.

At missions abroad, controlled documents are comprised of counterfoils and seals, which are issued together as a visa. Counterfoils are the documents on which missions print visa information. Seals are documents that are affixed over counterfoils when they are placed in an applicant’s passport to prevent tampering.

Visa application centre

Visa application centres (VACs) provide administrative support services to applicants related to the submission of their application. The primary role of VACs is to receive visa applications, ensure they are complete, and to securely transmit these to the respective visa offices for processing.

VACs are useful in countries or regions where there are few or no visa offices. They play no role in the decision-making process and are expressly forbidden to provide any visa-related advice to applicants. All decisions on applications are made by visa officers at the visa office. VACs also do not represent the Government of Canada.

Visa office

Related terms:
Canadian visa office

A Government of Canada office at a Canadian embassy, high commission or consulate outside Canada at which applications for visas and permits for foreign nationals are processed and visas are issued.

Visa officer

A person designated by the Minister to assess and make decisions on temporary or permanent residence applications presented by foreign nationals.

Visitor visa

Related term:
Tourist visa

Informal term for a temporary resident visa.


A person who, of his or her own free will, contributes time, resources, energy and/or talent to an organization without being paid.

War crime

Examples of a war crime or a crime against humanity could include execution-type murders, destroying people’s property, forcing people out of their homes and/or country, genocide (the killing of a group of people based on their ethnicity, race, religion, cultural backgrounds) and human rights violations.


Widowed means that a person’s spouse has died and that person has not remarried or entered into a common-law relationship.

Work permit

A document issued by CIC that authorizes a person to work legally in Canada. It sets out conditions for the worker such as:

·         the type of work they can do,

·         the employer they can work for,

·         where they can work, and

·         how long they can work.

Working holiday visa/Working Holiday Program

Years of schooling

Number of years spent in school. Used for statistical purposes, as well as to determine education points in the Federal Skilled Worker selection grid.