Visa Extension

Extending Your Stay as a Visitor or Obtaining a Visitor Record

When you initially arrive in Canada as a visitor, you utilize one of these documents to enter:

  • A visitor visa, also known as a temporary resident visa.
  • An electronic travel authorization (eTA).
  • A valid passport or travel document.

If you wish to prolong your stay in Canada as a visitor, allowing you to remain in the country for a more extended period than initially permitted, you must apply for a visitor record. It is important to clarify that a visitor record is not a visa; instead, it is a document that grants you the privilege to stay in Canada under certain conditions.

What Is a Visitor Record?

A visitor record is a document that permits you to extend your stay in Canada under one of the following categories:

  1. As a visitor.
  2. As a worker authorized to work without a work permit in Canada.
  3. As a student authorized to study without a study permit in Canada.

The visitor record includes a new expiry date, indicating the date by which you must leave Canada.

When to Apply for a Visitor Record

You must apply for a visitor record before your current status expires. If you are uncertain about the expiry date of your current status, you can determine how long you can stay in Canada. It is crucial to initiate the application process for a visitor record well in advance to avoid any disruptions in your stay.

Leaving and Returning to Canada

While a visitor record allows you to stay in Canada for an extended period, it does not guarantee that you can leave and re-enter Canada freely. If you plan to travel outside Canada or the United States, you will need a valid entry document, such as a visitor visa or an eTA, to return to Canada. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the necessary entry requirements before planning your travel.

Who Can Apply for a Visitor Record

A visitor record is intended for individuals who wish to:

  • Extend their stay in Canada as a visitor.
  • Extend their stay as a worker authorized to work without a work permit.
  • Extend their stay as a student authorized to study without a study permit.
  • Change their temporary resident category from a study permit holder or a work permit holder to a visitor.

It doesn’t matter how you initially entered Canada, whether it was with a visitor visa, electronic travel authorization (eTA), or another document. If you intend to extend your stay in Canada under any of the mentioned categories, you will need to apply for a visitor record.

When to Apply

If you wish to extend your stay as a visitor or change your status, such as from an international student or worker to a visitor, it is recommended to apply at least 30 days before your current status expires. The expiry date for your status can be found on various documents, including your passport, study permit, work permit, or your existing visitor record if you’ve already extended your stay.

How to Apply for a Visitor Record

To apply for a visitor record and extend your stay as a visitor, worker authorized to work without a work permit, or student authorized to study without a study permit, you must submit your application online. Applying online offers several advantages, including faster processing times and the ability to track your application’s status. Be prepared with a scanner or camera to create electronic copies of your documents and a valid credit or debit card for payment.

If Your Status Expires

If you apply to extend your stay in Canada before the date you’re supposed to leave, you can legally remain in Canada until a decision is made on your application. This situation is known as “maintained status,” which allows temporary residents to stay in Canada while their application is being processed. It’s important to know what activities you’re allowed to engage in while you wait for your application to be processed, depending on your specific circumstances.

Travelling Outside Canada

While holding a visitor record, you have visitor status in Canada, along with an authorized period for your stay. However, it’s essential to understand that a visitor record does not guarantee that you can leave and then re-enter Canada freely.

  • Visa-Required Travellers: If you’re a visa-required traveller, you need a valid visitor visa each time you want to enter Canada, unless you’re returning directly from a visit to the United States or Saint-Pierre and Miquelon. Be sure to check if you fall into this category and need a visa.

  • Students and Workers: If you’re already in Canada and hold a valid study or work permit, and you wish to leave and return to Canada, you can apply for a new visitor visa from inside Canada under specific conditions.

  • Visa-Exempt Travellers: The required documents for re-entering Canada depend on your mode of travel. Ensure that you meet the entry requirements before your return journey.

  • U.S. Citizens: U.S. citizens typically need a valid passport or travel document to enter Canada, with exceptions for NEXUS and FAST members, who may use their membership cards for specific travel modes.

Frequently Asked Questions

A visitor visa (temporary resident visa) allows you to enter Canada initially, while a visitor record is a document that extends your stay within Canada. In other words, a visitor visa is for entry, and a visitor record is for extending your stay.