Visitor Visa Extension
Canadian Visitor Visas
Before we discuss extensions, it's essential to understand the basics of a Canadian Visitor Visa, officially known as a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). This visa is issued to individuals who wish to visit Canada for a short period, typically up to six months. It's important for visitors to adhere to the conditions of their visa and maintain legal status while in Canada.
Concept of Visitor Visa Extension
A visitor visa extension in Canada refers to the formal process whereby a person with a valid Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) applies to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to extend their permitted stay in the country beyond the original expiry date of their visa. If this extension is granted, the individual receives a Visitor Record, which outlines the new terms of their stay, including the extended duration they are allowed to remain in Canada.
Eligibility Criteria for Visitor Visa Extension
Valid Visitor Status: The applicant must apply for an extension before their current visitor visa expires. If the visa expires before applying, the individual may lose their legal status in Canada.
Reason for Extension: Applicants must provide a legitimate reason for their extended stay. Reasons might include tourism activities, family visits, or unexpected changes in travel plans.
Financial Self-Sufficiency: The applicant must prove that they have enough financial resources to support themselves during the extended stay. This is to ensure that visitors do not become a financial burden on Canadian resources.
Adherence to Initial Entry Conditions: The applicant must not have violated any conditions of their initial visa, such as engaging in unauthorized work or study.
Criminal Inadmissibility: Those with a criminal record may face challenges in getting a visa extension. They must not pose a security risk to Canada.
The Application Process
1. Form IMM 5708: This is the primary application form for extending a visitor visa. It requires detailed information about the applicant’s status, reasons for extending their stay, and personal and financial information.
2. Supporting Documents: These may include a copy of the passport, current visitor visa, bank statements or financial proofs, and a letter explaining the reason for the extension.
3. Online vs. Paper Application: While online applications are typically processed faster, applicants can choose to submit their applications on paper, depending on their preference or access to online resources.
You can submit a paper application in any of these situations:
a. you can’t apply online because of a disability
b. there’s a problem with the online application
5. Application Fee: There is a non-refundable fee associated with the visa extension application, which must be paid online during the application process.
6. Timing and Implied Status: Applying at least 30 days before the current visa’s expiration is advised. If the visa expires while the decision on the extension application is pending, the applicant is usually granted "implied status," allowing them to legally remain in Canada until a decision is made.
Processing Times and Decision Factors
Processing times for visa extensions can vary significantly based on individual circumstances and operational capacities of IRCC.
Factors influencing the decision include the applicant's travel history, the validity of the reasons for extension, and their ties to their home country.
Typically, visitor visa extensions are issued within 45 - 98 days of submitting the application.
Consequences of Overstaying
Overstaying a visa in Canada is a serious matter with significant consequences. It refers to remaining in Canada beyond the authorized period of stay indicated by a visa, a Visitor Record, or a stamped date in a passport. Understanding these consequences is crucial for anyone on a temporary visa in Canada.
Loss of Legal Status
Expiration of Legal Status: Once the authorized period of stay expires, the individual immediately loses their legal status in Canada. This means they no longer have the right to remain in the country legally.
Barred from Applying for Extension: After overstaying, an individual typically cannot apply for an extension of their stay, as they would have been required to do so before their status expired.
Impact on Future Immigration Applications
Record of Overstay: Overstaying is recorded in the Canadian immigration system. This record can negatively impact future applications for Canadian visas, including visitor visas, study permits, or work permits.
Difficulty in Obtaining Future Visas: Having a history of overstaying can lead to future visa applications being scrutinized more closely or denied, as it raises concerns about compliance with Canadian immigration laws.
Risk of Being Deemed Inadmissible: In severe cases, or in cases of repeated overstays, an individual may be deemed inadmissible to Canada for a period, which means they cannot enter the country for a specified time.
Consequences of Being in Canada Without Legal Status
Ineligibility for Services: Individuals without legal status are not eligible for various services, including healthcare and other social benefits.
Employment and Education Restrictions: Overstayers cannot legally work or study in Canada, as they would lack the necessary permits.
Risk of Detention and Removal: If discovered, overstayers can be detained by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and face removal proceedings.
Limited Rights and Recourses: While in Canada without legal status, individuals have limited legal rights and recourses, making them vulnerable in various situations.
Voluntary Departure vs. Removal
Voluntary Departure: Individuals who overstay are advised to leave Canada voluntarily before being ordered to do so. Voluntary departure may be viewed more favorably in future immigration applications.
Removal Order: If an individual does not leave voluntarily and is apprehended, they may be issued a removal order. The type of removal order (departure, exclusion, or deportation order) depends on the circumstances and can have long-term effects on the individual’s ability to return to Canada.
In certain cases, individuals who have overstayed may seek advice on regularizing their status, often through legal channels. This might involve applying for a different type of visa or addressing the reasons for overstaying, such as humanitarian and compassionate grounds. However, these cases are complex and often require the assistance of an immigration consultant or lawyer.
Options for Regularizing Status
Restoration of Status:
Canada offers an option called "restoration of status" for those who have lost their status but still remain in the country.
Applicants must apply within 90 days of losing their status and explain the reasons for their situation.
They must meet the requirements of the status they wish to restore (e.g., student, worker) and pay the restoration and processing fees.
Applying for a Different Type of Visa:
In some cases, individuals might be eligible to apply for a different type of visa or permit. For example, a visitor might switch to a study or work permit if they meet the necessary criteria.
Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds:
This is a special provision under Canadian immigration law allowing individuals who would not normally be eligible to apply for permanent residence to do so based on humanitarian and compassionate considerations.
Factors considered include how settled the person is in Canada, general family ties to Canada, the best interests of any children involved, and any hardships that would be faced if the individual were forced to leave Canada.
Have more questions? Want help in applying? Book a Professional Consultation now.