Converting a Visitor Visa to a Work Permit in Canada

Converting a Visitor Visa to a Work Permit in Canada

It can be complicated to convert a visitor visa to a work permit in Canada. However, one can make it possible with the right information and preparation. Visitors normally cannot apply for work permits from within Canada. In addition, there is a temporary public policy in effect until February 28, 2025, allowing visitors to apply for work permits while in Canada.

Here, we will delve into the details about: 

  • Explanation of the process
  • Required documents
  • Processing times
  • Costs
  • Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) fee.

Key Terms

  • Visitor Visa

It allows visitors to enter Canada temporarily, usually for up to six months. Visitors may enter Canada for various purposes such as business meetings, vacations, or family visits. They may extend their stay by applying for a visitor record.

  • Work Permit

It legally permits a person to work in Canada. The options could be:

  1. An open work permit (any employer) or 
  2. employer-specific (linked to a specific job and employer).

Key Requirements

To change your visitor visa to a work permit, you must:

  1. Get a Job Offer

Secure a legitimate job offer from a Canadian employer.

  1. Obtain a Positive LMIA

Most employers need a positive LMIA, showing that they are recruiting right and it will not negatively impact the Canadian labor market. Some of the jobs, like caregiving, are exempt from LMIA.

  1. Maintain Legal Status

Keep your legal visitor status in Canada until you get your work permit.

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Get a Job Offer

First, find a Canadian employer willing to hire you. Use job boards, recruitment agencies, and networking. Ensure the job offer clearly outlines the employment terms.

2. LMIA Obtained by Employer

Most employers need an LMIA from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), proving no Canadian is available to fill the position. The employer must pay a non-refundable CAD 1,000 processing fee per position.

3. Submit Your Work Permit Application

After obtaining the LMIA (or if your job is LMIA-exempt), apply for a work permit online via the IRCC secure account. You’ll need the following documents:

  • Job offer letter detailing the position and terms
  • Positive LMIA documents (if applicable)
  • Proof of current visitor status in Canada
  • Completed application forms: IMM 5710 and, if applicable, IMM 5476
  • Current passport with at least one blank page
  • Passport-sized photos
  • Proof of funds (bank statements)
  • Medical exam results (if required)
  • Application fees: CAD 155 for the work permit and CAD 85 for biometrics (if applicable)

For detailed instructions, visit the IRCC website.

Interim Work Authorization

Processing a work permit application takes about 135 days. You can’t work until you receive your permit. However, you can request “Interim Authorization to Work” from IRCC to start working sooner. Get the IRCC web form and fill it out. Finally, wait for the confirmation, which can take up to 30 working days.

Processing Time

According to the latest IRCC updates, the average processing time for work permits in Canada is 92 days.


Converting a visitor visa to a work permit in Canada is manageable if you come with proper preparation. Follow the above-mentioned procedure while maintaining your legal status. Asif Consulting is here to ensure that you have all the required documents. 

For more information, check the full instruction guide on the IRCC website.