What is the Definition of the W-1 Visa in Canada?

Citizens of most countries need a document called a visa to travel to Canada, whether it's for business, work or pleasure. A visa provides certain information to the immigration officers at the port of entry, including the traveler's status. A Canadian visa with the code W-1 identifies the traveler as a worker.

Visa Vs. Work Permit

A visa is a document many travelers must have to fly to or transit through a Canadian airport. U.S. citizens do not need a visa to enter Canada for stays up to 180 days, but they do need a passport valid on the date of entry. It's important to understand the difference between a visa and a work permit. They are two separate documents, used for different purposes. A visa is a travel document that allows you to enter a country, while a work permit is a status document granting the right to work. You may need a work permit to work in Canada if you do not have Canadian citizenship. Jobs that don't require a work permit include public speaker, news reporter, civil aviation inspector, emergency service provider, performing artist and farm worker.

To get a Canadian work permit you must meet certain requirements. For example, you must prove you will leave Canada when your work permit expires; have no criminal record; be in good health and pass a medical exam, if required; and not have worked in Canada for one or more periods that total four years within the past four years.

Temporary Resident Visa

Unless you're traveling to Canada as a worker from a visa-exempt country like the U.S., you must apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). A Canadian Immigration Visa Office outside Canada issues the TRV to show that the traveler has satisfied the requirements for admission to Canada as a visitor. A TRV may be for a single entry or multiple entries, and travelers are generally admitted for an initial period of six months with the option to apply for an extension from within Canada.

Read More: How to Get a Visa to Canada With Sponsorship From a Canadian Resident

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Canada work visas are issued under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The TFWP was formed to help Canadian employers recruit foreign workers in response to labor market shortages in four categories: High-skilled workers, low-skilled workers, the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Live-In Caregiver Program.

Federal Skilled Workers Program

The Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP) is a points-based Canadian immigration program established to offer a long-term Canadian work visa, or Permanent Resident Visa to Canada, to foreigners in a wide range of high-demand managerial, professional and technical roles that often require a college or university education or other advanced training. Occupations include occupational therapists, pharmacists, dentists, nutritionists and civil engineers. The most qualified FSWP candidates can apply through the Express Entry system, which speeds up the process of getting permanent Canadian residency.


  • There is no specific document as a W-1 visa, but if you have the W-1 code on your Canadian visa document, this means you are entering the country as a worker. A V-1 code identifies you as a visitor.

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