Are you a digital nomad interested in living in Canada?
In June 2023, Canada launched its Tech Talent Strategy to attract skilled remote workers who were interested in living in Canada.
This incentive allows digital nomads to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), allowing them to live in the country while working for global employers, and is commonly known as the “Digital Nomad Visa.”
Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to apply for it:
- Check Eligibility
- Gather Required Documents
- Submit Application
- Attend Interview (if required)
- Passport Submission
- Plan Your Relocation
- Stay Updated
- Optional Work Permit Application
Whether you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur, or remote employee, I’ll go over each of these steps in detail, so you know exactly what to prepare for.
The Canada Digital Nomad Visa is a component of Canada’s “Tech Talent Strategy,” which aims to strengthen the nation’s tech sector by attracting skilled talent from across the globe.
At its core, the Tech Talent Strategy is designed to:
- Enhance Canada’s Tech Workforce: By inviting global tech talent, the strategy aims to strengthen Canada’s position as a leader in the technology sector.
- Facilitate Economic Growth: Bringing skilled workers into the country supports innovation and economic development.
- Promote Diversity and Global Collaboration: This initiative creates opportunities for a diverse range of talent and attracts unique perspectives from around the world.
The Digital Nomad Visa itself functions as a Temporary Resident Visa that allows individuals to live and work remotely from Canada for a specified period.
Here’s how it works:
- Canada’s Digital Nomad Visa permits holders to stay in the country for up to six months at a time.
- The Visa is open to individuals who are employed by companies outside of Canada, ensuring that job opportunities aren’t being taken from permanent residents/citizens.
- If Visa holders find the opportunity to work in Canada, there’s a pathway to apply for a temporary work permit, which would extend their stay and potentially open doors to longer-term residency and citizenship opportunities.
Overall, the Canada Digital Nomad Visa is a unique opportunity for digital nomads to experience life in Canada while contributing their skills to the country’s tech landscape.
- Related Reading: Average Cost Of Living In Canada By Province
Canada aims to attract 1.5 million immigrants by 2025 and is well on its way to do so.
Obtaining your Digital Nomad Visa can be a great first step to becoming a long-term Canadian resident.
Alternatively, it’s also a great way to explore and live in a new country that’s friendly to newcomers. Canada is home to some of the world’s most iconic cities and has some truly beautiful parks with breathtaking scenery.
Whatever your reasons for coming to Canada are, here’s a step-by-step guide for those wishing to apply for the Canada Digital Nomad Visa.
This visa is specifically designed for individuals who are employed by companies outside of Canada.
The key eligibility criteria are:
- You must be employed full-time by a non-Canadian company or be self-employed with clients primarily based outside of Canada.
- The nature of your work should allow you to perform it remotely from Canada.
- The Visa is for those who intend to stay in Canada temporarily (up to six months).
Additionally, you’ll need to meet the same eligibility requirements for the Temporary Resident Visa/Visitor Visa, which include:
- A valid passport
- No criminal record or immigration convictions
- Good physical health
- Proof of ties to your home country (such as employment, home, family, financial assets)
Before submitting your Digital Nomad Visa application, you’ll need to gather a few documents to help the process go smoothly.
This document is essential to confirm your employment with a company outside of Canada. It should include details like your position, employment duration, and the nature of your work.
A recent passport-style photo is necessary for identification purposes. This should be a clear, current photograph that adheres to standard passport photo guidelines, helping in the accurate processing of your visa application.
Fingerprints are required for security and verification purposes. They are used to confirm your identity and perform any necessary background checks. This step is standard in many Visa application processes for border security purposes.
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary documents, the next step is to submit your application for the Canada Digital Nomad Visa.
This process typically involves completing an application form with your personal and employment information, as well as the other required documents. To prevent any delays, make sure that all of the information you provide is accurate and up-to-date.
The application can be submitted online through the official Canadian immigration website, where you can create an account and track the status of your application once it’s filed.
After submitting your application, you may be required to attend an interview with an immigration officer.
This step is not always mandatory but may be requested for further clarification or verification of your application details. During the interview, you may be asked to discuss your plans in Canada, your work, and how you intend to support yourself during your stay.
If your application is approved, the final step is to submit your passport for Visa processing. This is typically done by mailing your passport to the Visa office (or a copy, depending on the situation), where the digital nomad visa will be inserted.
Following this, your passport will be mailed back to you with the visa inside. It’s important to follow the specific instructions provided by the visa office.
With your Digital Nomad Visa approved, it’s time to plan your move to Canada!
Start by researching where in Canada you’d like to reside, considering factors like cost of living, climate, and community.
- Related Reading: Safest Places To Live In Canada
Arrange for accommodation, whether it’s a short-term rental or a more permanent residence. Also, consider your healthcare options and any other personal necessities for your stay.
Keep an eye on any updates or changes to the Digital Nomad Visa program or Canadian immigration laws in general.
Regularly check the official IRCC website and sign up for any relevant newsletters or alerts. Staying updated on the latest news ensures that you remain compliant with immigration regulations and can also alert you to any new opportunities or requirements that may come up during your stay in Canada.
If you happen to find a job or career opportunity with a Canadian employer, you’ll have the option to apply for a temporary work permit.
This permit allows you to extend your stay in Canada for up to three additional years and can be a pathway to longer-term residency. The application process involves proving your new employment status and meeting other criteria set by Canadian immigration authorities.
Embracing the digital nomad lifestyle in Canada comes with its set of legal responsibilities. In particular – taxes.
While working for an employer outside Canada, you may still be subject to Canadian tax laws if you establish residential ties during your stay. This could include renting a home, having family in Canada, or staying for an extended period.
If you’re unsure, I recommend consulting with a tax professional to make sure that you’re adhering to all of the applicable laws so you don’t get in trouble.
Taxes aside, you’ll also need to abide by Canadian federal and provincial laws regarding work, residence, and illegal activities. Getting into trouble with the law could result in your Visa getting revoked and may prevent you from visiting the country in the future.
English is the primary language spoken in most Canadian provinces. However, the providence of Quebec stands out as a primarily French-speaking region of the country (although most residents are bilingual).
That being said, Canada is home to a large number of immigrants from around the world. As a result, many languages are spoken across Canada, including:
- English – 87.1% of the population
- French – 29.1% of the population
- Chinese Mandarin – 4.2% of the population
- Spanish – 3.2% of the population
- Punjabi – 2.6% of the population
- Arabic – 2.4% of the population
- Italian – 1.5% of the population
- Indigenous languages – 0.6% of the population
If you live in a foreign country and are given the opportunity to work remotely, Canada is an excellent country to travel to.
From the cultural city of Montreal to the tech hubs of Toronto and Vancouver, you’ll have the opportunity to network with professionals, meet new friends, and possibly find long-term employment.
Looking to live the high life in Canada? Check out my list of the most expensive cities in Canada next!