Canada for Digital Nomads: Visa Options and How to Apply

Canada is a great country for digital nomads who value a high quality of life, a diverse culture, and a vibrant tech sector. From the stunning landscapes of Banff to the multicultural vibe of Toronto and the innovative spirit of Montreal, there’s plenty to see and do.

But what kind of visa do you need to legally stay and work in Canada? The answer is Canada’s Digital Nomad Scheme, a new initiative that the Canadian government announced in July 2023 to attract international talent, especially in the tech sector.

This article will explain everything you need to know about Canada’s Digital Nomad Scheme, including the eligibility criteria, the application process, and the benefits of choosing this option. As a bonus, we will also give you some helpful tips for paying taxes as a digital nomad in Canada, depending on your residency status and income sources.

Read on to find out how you can make Canada your home or destination for your remote work journey!

Our content is based on research from official sources and intended for informational purposes only. We do not provide visa application services. For dedicated visa assistance, please consult a specialized provider.

Does Canada Have a Digital Nomad Visa?

Canada doesn't currently offer a specific visa for digital nomads. Digital nomads can reside in the country visa-free or with a standard tourist visa for a maximum of 6 months, provided they are not working for a Canadian company or client.

However, the Canadian government has just announced some new initiatives to attract international talent, especially in the tech sector. One of them is a Digital Nomad Scheme that will allow workers employed by foreign companies to live and work in Canada for up to 6 months. If they secure employment during their stay, they may extend their residency by applying for a temporary work permit or potentially achieving permanent residency.

The specific details of Canada's Digital Nomad Scheme are still under development. As we continue to monitor the progress of this initiative, we will provide timely updates with the latest information as it becomes publicly accessible.

Benefits of Canada's Digital Nomad Scheme for Digital Nomads

Canada's digital nomad scheme offers numerous advantages for digital nomads:

  1. You can enjoy Canada's high quality of life, such as its natural beauty, cultural diversity, social security, health care system, and education opportunities
  2. You can explore different regions of Canada and experience its varied climate, geography, and culture
  3. You can network with local professionals and entrepreneurs in the tech sector and other industries and potentially find new opportunities or collaborations
  4. You can extend your stay in Canada if you receive a job offer from a Canadian employer and apply for a temporary work permit or even permanent residence.
Image of the Niagara Falls

Who Can Apply for Canada's Digital Nomad Scheme?

The eligibility criteria for Canada’s digital nomad scheme are not yet fully defined, as the government is still collaborating with public and private partners to determine the best policies. However, based on currently available information, the following conditions could potentially apply:

  • You might need to have a foreign employer who allows you to work remotely from anywhere in the world.
  • You might need to hold a valid passport along with a visitor visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), depending on your country of citizenship.
  • You might need sufficient funds to support yourself and your family during your stay in Canada.
  • You might need to have health insurance covering any potential medical emergencies or illnesses for yourself and any dependents in Canada.
  • You will have to comply with all Canadian laws and respect the terms and conditions of your visitor status.

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How to Apply for Canada's Digital Nomad Scheme

The full details of the application process for Canada's digital nomad scheme are not yet finalized. However, according to the currently accessible information, the following steps might be involved:

Image of a cliff in Canada

STEP 1: Determine Visa Requirement

Start by checking whether you need a visitor visa or an eTA to enter Canada based on your country of citizenship. You can find this information on the official website of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada.

STEP 2: Submit Your Application

Once you've determined the type of entry document needed, apply online or at a visa application center. Remember to pay the necessary fees and provide all the required supporting documents, like your passport, proof of finances, health insurance, and a letter from your foreign employer.

STEP 3: Await Decision

After your application is complete, wait for the authorities to process it. Depending on your specific circumstances and the usual processing times, this may take several weeks or months. You can check the status of your application online or by contacting the visa office where you applied.

STEP 4: Receive Confirmation

If your application is approved, you'll receive a confirmation letter. It will include details like your visa or eTA number and expiration date. Make sure to print this letter to bring with you when you travel to Canada.

STEP 5: Arrival in Canada

Upon your arrival in Canada, present your passport, confirmation letter, and any other required documents to the border services officer. Be ready to answer any questions about your trip, including your purpose of visit, length of stay, and plans during your stay in Canada.

STEP 6: Abide by Visitor Record

If you're admitted into Canada, you'll receive a visitor record that outlines the length of your permitted stay and any conditions of your visitor status. Make sure to respect these conditions and leave Canada before your visitor status expires.

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Documents Required for Applying for Canada's Digital Nomad Scheme

The documents required to apply for Canada’s digital nomad scheme may vary depending on your situation and the type of visa or permit you need. However, some of the standard documents are:

  • A valid passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned stay in Canada
  • A completed visa application form that you can fill out online or at a visa application center
  • A letter from your foreign employer that confirms your employment status, salary, and permission to work remotely from Canada
  • A proof of funds that shows you have enough money to support yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada
  • Health insurance that covers you and your family members for any medical emergencies or illnesses while in Canada

You may also need other supporting documents, such as:

  • A visitor visa or an eTA, depending on your country of citizenship
  • Biometric information, such as fingerprints and photos, if required
  • A police certificate, if required to prove your criminal record or lack thereof
  • A medical exam, if required to prove your health condition or lack thereof
Image of a Canadian city

How Much Does Canada's Digital Nomad Scheme Cost?

The visa cost is still unclear as the digital nomad scheme is yet to be launched. However, you can expect this to change depending on your situation and the type of visa or permit you need. Typical expenses for such visas in Canada might include:

  1. A visa application fee, which could range between $100 to $500 CAD, is contingent on your nationality and the type of visa you're applying for.
  2. A biometric fee, costing $85 CAD per individual or $170 CAD per family, if providing your biometric data is required.
  3. A health insurance fee, whose price will depend on the extent of coverage and the term of your insurance plan. Various plans and their costs can be compared online or through consultation with an insurance agent.

Timeline for Applying For Canada's Digital Nomad Scheme

The timeframe for applying under Canada's digital nomad scheme can vary, depending on your personal circumstances and the type of visa or permit required. However, two factors can influence this timeline:

  • The processing time of your visa or permit application may take a few weeks or months, depending on your country of origin, the type of visa you are applying for, and the volume of applications. You can check the estimated processing time online or by contacting the visa office where you applied.
  • The availability of biometric services in your location if you need to provide your biometric information. You can schedule your appointment using the eService Canada Appointment Booking Tool.
Don't go to a Service Canada office unless you have a scheduled appointment!

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What If I’m Not Eligible For Canada's Digital Nomad Scheme?

If you're not eligible for Canada's digital nomad scheme, there are still other pathways to consider for remote work in Canada, including:

  1. The Startup Visa Program: This option enables you to immigrate to Canada as an entrepreneur with the skills and potential to establish innovative businesses that generate employment for Canadians, provided you have a qualifying business idea and backing from an approved organization.
  2. The Innovation Stream: This is a forthcoming immigration pathway for skilled workers in select high-demand occupations or those destined to work with firms that advance Canada's innovation objectives. This is set to launch by the end of 2023.
  3. The Open Work-Permit Stream: This is another upcoming immigration pathway designed for 10,000 U.S. H-1B visa holders seeking to work in Canada, becoming available from July 16, 2023.

Paying Taxes as a Digital Nomad in Canada

As a digital nomad working remotely in Canada, you may have to file taxes either in your home country or Canada, depending on your residency status, income sources, and the tax treaties between the two countries. You can determine your residency status by considering factors such as your ties to Canada, your purpose and duration of travel, and your ties to the foreign country.

If you're a deemed non-resident of Canada, you must file taxes in your home country. Canada does not require taxes for people who do not live, take up residence, and are not physically in the country for 183 days in one year. If your stay in Canada exceeds 183 days, you'll be required to pay Canadian taxes.

If you're a deemed resident of Canada, you're obligated to report your worldwide income to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and pay taxes accordingly. You might be able to claim a foreign tax credit or exemption for income earned abroad, depending on the tax treaty between Canada and your host country.

Given the complexity and potential variation in tax obligations as a digital nomad in Canada, it's recommended that you seek advice from a professional tax consultant prior to deciding to work remotely from Canada. It's also important to monitor your income and expenses and ensure your tax returns are submitted promptly.

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