While visiting Canada, it is normal to have a change of circumstance, for instance you could find love, graduate from a university with an intent to work or a tourist turn asylum seeker. Whatever the reason, a change in circumstance always necessitates a change in visa status, this in turn could lead to a quest for an extension of visitor visa in Canada. It is possible to change your visa status while in the country and you do not need to return to your home country to get this done. It is worth stressing that these changes in visa status have to be applied for before expiration of your present status.
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It is also worth pointing out that the method of visa status change covered in this article does not explain how to obtain an initial temporal resident visa which has to be applied for from outside Canada, neither does it cover applying for an electronic travel authorization which is done online but requires a different set of protocol than those covered here.
Extension Of Visitor Visa In Canada
As a visitor to Canada on a tourist visa, you can apply for a status extension. The permit gotten when this is granted is called a visitor’s record. Obtaining a visitor’s record is the easiest way to extend your stay in Canada, in some cases it confers on the applicant a change of visa status, this depends on the nature of application tendered.
You do not need to leave the country before you apply for an extension of visitor visa in Canada or a visitor’s record, you can do this from within the country. However, an application has to have been submitted 30 days before the expiration of your temporary resident status. If the mandatory 30 days has passed, then this becomes invalid and must not be pursued. The expiry date of a visitor’s record is stenciled on this document.
In Canada, when submitting an application to change status or extend stay, in addition to other documents tendered, you are mandated to submit stamped pages of your passport clearly revealing information on your recent entry into the country.
Fingerprint & Photo Biometric Requirement
From the 3th of December 2019, biometric capture is required when tendering visa applications from within Canada. Although a key component of the status change process, it is done once every decade and when your fingerprint and photo gets captured, you only get to repeat the process after 10 years has elapsed.
If your data was captured before your current visa (no matter the kind) was issued, you are exempt from repeating the process and can proceed with your status change application with out worrying as to whether this could act against you or not.
However, if your current visa has been active for 10 years and beyond, with you seeking to extend stay or change your visa status while in Canada, then you will need to book for a biometric capture, as it is a key component of your application process.
Who Is Eligible For An Extension Of Visitor Visa In Canada?
A visitor is a temporal resident who has legal authorization to cross the border, in this case into Canada for several reasons ranging from vacationing to studies. They are under fixed restrictions by virtue of the period of time allowed to stay in the country as well as subject to other stringent conditions.
As long as the status of your residency is still valid, meaning the visa granting you permission to enter Canada is still active, you can tender an application to extend stay or change visa status. It is important to ensure that such applications be submitted on or before the 30 days leading to the expiration of your current visa status in Canada.
If this protocol is observed, your stay in the country is legalized with temporary resident status benefits accruing to the bearer as before, even though the visa might have expired. This continues until the application process is finished and a response given to the applicant.
The whole time your application is being processed, your passport has to be valid and up to date. If your passport expires while the process of application for extension or change of status is taking place, you would need to leave the country to get your passport renewed. Also, your application for visa extension or change of status will consequently be denied. So, care has to be taken in this regard.
Eligibility Of Members From A Single Family
Whether spouse, legal partner or dependents in this case children, nuclear family members seeking to apply for an extension of visitor visa in Canada need to get a permit, thus they must apply to get individual permits issued. There is no one size fits all, so one permit does not cover the whole household.
Each person, from the father, mother and children have to submit individual applications together with supporting documents and necessary individual fees associated with the case category. There is no guarantee that these applications will yield favorable results.
Eligibility Of Parents and Grandparents
Temporary resident status already afforded parents and grandparents already in Canada can be changed by virtue of extension application through the case processing center. Of course, this has to be filed on time to avoid any risk of forceful removal.
Eligibility After Residency Status Expiration
In event that your status in Canada expires, no matter the visa category you entered the country with, application for an extension of visitor visa in Canada is tantamount to a forceful removal from the country. As you cease to be eligible for this option.
Instead, if staying on in Canada is your intent after document expiration, then the next alternative is submitting an application for status restoration, this has to be done within 90 days of your loss of status. If this isn’t done, then you must voluntarily return to your home country before deportation proceedings is activated.
Application Processing Time
Applications for status extension or change of status could last well over a year in processing as the volume of applications processed by the case processing center annually is usually very huge. After review, if the status of your application reads as “incomplete”, it means it was rejected and seen to have never been submitted in the first instance.
At this stage maintaining your status or even getting it changed or extended becomes impossible. Particularly if the form submitted was for restoration of status. If your temporary resident status in Canada hasn’t expired yet, you can put in another application.
When your application is complete, as mentioned earlier, you get legal residency on a provisional status to stay on in Canada at least till feedback on your application process comes out. The result ranges from a visitor’s record to either one of work or study permit, which in themselves signifies a change of status.
Local Canada Immigration Center
You could also get refused status change, in which case you would have to leave Canada or stay on as an illegal immigrant or re-apply if your current status hasn’t expired yet. Sometimes your application could be referred to a local Canada immigration center for further evaluation. If this happens, you will be contacted for additional documentation to clear up what might be holding up your application. You could also be invited for an interview. When an application is referred to the local Canada immigration center, it usually takes upwards of 3 months for applicants to be invited for an interview.
Once clarity is obtained either by an interview or via further submission of additional documents, application processing is finalized. The local center reaches out to the applicant by email to inform he/her of their decision.
Consequences Of Operating Without A Permit
It is worth highlighting that if the validity period of your visa has expired or for some strange reason permit conditions were violated or certain activities were ventured into without a permit such as working or studying without due permits. The immigration and refugee protection act is seen to have been breached and in the eyes of the law, you are seen to have committed an offence.
When this occurs, you are given a date in court for fair hearing where you have a chance to defend your actions. This could lead to forceful removal from Canada by way of immediate deportation. However, if by some stroke of genius, you win the case. You will be allowed to stay on, but would have to file for necessary permits.
Legal Canadian Status
Who Gets Awarded Temporary Resident Status
Apart from Canadian citizens or permanent residents, any other category of people given a visa to enter Canada for a limited period is a temporary resident. It is believed that as an individual on a temporary resident status, you will be returning to your country on or before the expiration of your visa. Most however, choose to apply for a change in visa status, particularly if the standards in their country is not tenable.
Needing a Temporary Resident Visa To Enter Canada
When you submit an application for a change in staying condition or extending your visa duration, this will not affect your short-lived resident status. Although, you have to ensure your temporary resident visa is within the authorized limit and stays valid. This of course is a must if you plan on re-entering Canada.
It must be stressed that whenever you travel outside Canada, an application must be tendered to a Canadian visa office overseas in order to obtain a temporary resident visa, which is necessary for re-entry.
Needing An Electronic Travel Authorization To Enter Canada
It must be pointed out that renewing a permit, whether for studies or work does not have any effect on an electronic travel authorization. Validity of an etravel authorization should be checked regularly so as to avoid penalties that might be incurred for traveling with expired travel documents.
Upon entering Canada and after successfully processing your permit (either to work or study), application for an electronic travel authorization can be done online
Temporary Residents With No Passports
Bearers of temporary resident status who were authorized to enter the country without a passport must be mindful that their status in Canada only last 6 months from date of entry. This of course doesn’t apply to recipients of visa extension such as those issued a visitor record or permit either for studies or work. The expiration date of this document can be found on it.
Information Needed For Extension Of Visitor Visa In Canada
- Detailed reason as to why you are applying for a status extension
- Proof that you are who you say you are (identity)
- Current Canadian status proof
- Financial statement showing proof of self-sufficiency while in Canada. This will contain:
- A letter from a guarantor.
- statement from your bank showing account holder’s name and account number.
- Details on intended exit plan out of Canada, this should highlight date and time as well as intended means of transportation when leaving.
Extending Your Stay Through a Status Restoration
As stated earlier in the eligibility for residency status expiration section, status restoration as an employee, tourist or student is possible within a 90-day period of violating the laid down rule. However, this violation is restricted to people who stayed longer than the timeframe allowed by their visa.
A period that should be less than or no longer than 90 days. This rule affects people who changed work, by moving to another company usually one located in another city, before submitting an application for a work permit.
It also affects students who changed their majors as well as academic institutions of study, county or city of study and other factors that drastically affects their study schedule. All of which happened without consequent change in terms of the permit issued for the purpose of studying, particularly if the original term of study was highlighted during permit application.
To ensure that you remain eligible for status restoration, meeting the requirement put in place at the start of your stay, with no defaulting on set conditions is a must. If you desire to receive a new work or scholastic permit, thus restoring your resident status on a temporary basis;
- you must put in an application within the statutory allowed period of loss of status,
- you will need to disclose details of facts and specifics regarding the offence committed,
- you will have to make it a continuous effort to maintain the initial requirement for your stay,
- as well as adhere to terms highlighted in your permit,
- finally pay a mandatory $200 process restoration fee
Designated personnel will assess each application for status restoration. If granted, then the request for a work/study permit will be further processed. If your application is unclear, more documentation will be demanded before a decision is taken. It’s worthy of note that each application applies per head even though a whole family applies for status restoration.
Working and studying in Canada is illegal until restoration of status has been favorably proceeded.
Consequences Of Forgery Or Falsification
All documents enclosed in your application is geared at enhancing your validity towards staying in Canada. You mustn’t falsify your documents, because all paperwork provided will be verified. If falsification is dictated, it will be perceived as misleading and would signify the end of document processing for this applicant. Section 127 in the immigration and refugee protection act holds that it’s an offence to falsify documents during this application process.
Extending your stay in Canada or changing a visa status whether from a tourist to a work visa is possible. To extend your period of stay, you simply need to get a visitor record which ensures your time in Canada gets extended.
In event that an application for change in status is submitted late, but within the 90-day period allowed, a visitor record or any other form of visa extension method becomes useless and instead a restoration of status has to be filed. If this gets denied, you have to leave the country or stay on as an illegal immigrant.