Can I travel to Canada with my work permit?

travel to Canada with a work permit

James is a Belizean who recently extended his work permit in Canada. Nonetheless, he doesn’t hold a valid TRV (visit visa). James must travel to his home country to attend to an urgent matter. However, he wonders if he can use his work permit to travel back to Canada.

What is a work permit?

A work permit is a document that allows you to remain in Canada and work. The following picture shows a heavily redacted work permit sample.

A work permit is not a visa, though. A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) allows you to travel to Canada. However, it does not allow you to remain in Canada. A Border Services Officer decides if you can stay in Canada. Of course, if you show up at the port of entry with a valid TRV and work permit, then the officers will likely allow you to stay in Canada until the validity of a work permit. You may also like to know when officers issue TRVs for workers, they use the W-1 category code in most cases.

Travelling to Canada with a work permit

If you look at the bottom line of a typical work permit document, you will notice the following message:

This does not authorize re-entry.

Of course, the actual phrase could be different. Regardless, a work permit is not for travelling to Canada but for staying and working in Canada.

Are there exceptional situations where I can travel to Canada with a valid work permit?

Assuming your work permit is valid, you may travel to Canada without having a TRV in the following circumstances:

This list is not comprehensive, and other exceptions could exist.

As a work permit holder, can I apply for a visa while I’m in Canada?

The simple answer is yes. I have another article that explains how to apply for a TRV as a work permit holder.

Let us help!

If you are a work permit holder who needs to apply for a TRV, fill out the following form. Of course, you may book a consultation session with me. If you are a licensed practitioner, consider booking a mentorship session with me. Moreover, other people may fill out our assessment form.

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    Al Parsai, LLM, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    Al Parsai

    Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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