Author: Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB
Last Updated On: July 4, 2022

Category codes on a Canadian visa counterfoil – GCMS and CAPIS codes on visa stickers

If you are from a visa-required country, then you need a visa counterfoil to travel to Canada. Of course,  you are exempt if you are a dual citizen of Canada or a permanent resident. Otherwise, you need a visa even when you travel to Canada to work or study. Have you ever wondered what the category codes on a Canadian visa counterfoil are? For example, what is the difference between S-1 and SX-1? Let’s find out.

What is a visa counterfoil?

If an immigration officer approves your travel to Canada, they affix a special sticker to one of your passport pages. IRCC calls these stickers visa counterfoil. The following altered image shows a sample visa counterfoil.

Category codes and other elements of a Canadian visa counterfoil

A visa counterfoil has many elements. Most of them are easy to understand. However, the category codes on Canadian visa counterfoils could be confusing.

When do I receive a visa counterfoil?

Unless you are from a visa-exempt country, you could receive a counterfoil for any of the following reasons:

There could be other circumstances where you need a visa counterfoil. However, if you do not hold a valid passport, the officer may issue you a Single Journey Travel Document.

Category codes on a Canadian visa counterfoil and their meaning

The following table shows the existing category codes and their meaning.

Category Code Description
B-1 Business Visitor
C-1 Courtesy
D-1 Diplomat
F-1 Facilitation Visa
IM-1 Immigrant (single-entry visa for PR)
0-1 Official
P A-1 Permit Holder
PAX-1 National Interest TRP
PC-1 Permit Holder with Valid TRP
PG-1 Parents or Grandparents Super Visa
R-1 Passed-Residency Obligation
RA-1 Presence at Appeal
RC-1 Passed H&C – PR Travel Document
RX-1 Attending a PR hearing while you were present in Canada in the past 365 days.
S-1 A student with Study Permit
SW-1 An international student with Study & Work Permit
SX-1 A student exempt from the requirement to obtain a Study Permit
V-1 Visitor
VH-1 Visitor in Transit for not more than 48 hours
W-1 A worker with Work Permit
WX-1 A worker exempt from the requirement to obtain a Work Permit

Of course, this table is not official and subject to change.

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    Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

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    Al Parsai, LL.M, RCIC-IRB

    Al Parsai is a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University (Osgood Hall Law School). A respected member of CICC, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.