Can I Travel To The US or Canada On A Visit Visa and Find A Way To Get Legal Residence?

Amy Smith / 4 min read
If you are deciding to emigrate to the US, Canada or Australia, you may not want to wait as long as to secure residence before you get there. This is where a visitor’s visa comes in and you can spend time in the country of your choice while dealing with filing for residency. This is the process for each of these countries and what not to do!
If you are deciding to emigrate to the US, Canada or Australia, you may not want to wait as long as to secure residence before you get there. This is where a visitor’s visa comes in and you can spend time in the country of your choice while dealing with filing for residency. This is the process for each of these countries and what not to do!

Canada
You can visit Canada under a temporary resident’s visa or a tourist’s/visitor’s visa to get a feel of the country and apply for permanent residence. However, you must always maintain a temporary resident’s visa and if it expires, you must leave the country and continue your application externally.  You can also apply internally if you are: 

  • A protected person/refugee
  • A skilled immigrant going through express entry
  • A partner or spouse of a permanent Canadian resident who is sponsoring you
  • A live-in caregiver
US

However, in the US you cannot use a visitor’s visa to gain entry for permanent residence in most cases. This is because at the time of your visa application you agree that you are visiting for a short period of time and then returning home, negating this by filing for residency can be seen as fraudulent and hurt your chances in the future. You can apply to extend your stay while you are in the country and change your visa status but this can be tricky and often, the best option is to go home and apply for residency externally! On the other hand, if you can prove it was not your intention and a spontaneous occurrence (e.g. marrying a US citizen) you may be able to apply internally but that is at the discretion of the immigration office. 

Australia
You will need to select the correct visitor’s visa when first entering Australia and this can include sponsored or business applications. The longer visitor’s visas are valid for up to 12 months and in that time you can upgrade to a working visa or sponsored business visa from inside the country. If you can satisfy the specifications on a permanent residency visa then you can also apply for this while in the country as long as you are holding the right visa for your current situation at the time of application. 

What Won’t Work
Overstaying Your Visa i.e. not renewing your visa even though you don’t have legal residential status. 
Operating under the wrong visa, i.e. having a visitor’s visa and working. 
Leaving and coming back without the right visa
Ultimately, you are at the discretion of the immigration offices in these countries and it is important that you adhere to the rules of the visas you are operating under. Failure to do so will hurt your chances to emigrate permanently to the country now and in the future!

Tags: Visiting Canada to work, Visiting US to work. How to get legal while visiting Canada or the United States. Legal on visit visa. 
Migration Brokers Visit Visa. Canada Immigration.

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