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temporary visas

Temporary Visas and Permits

Anyone who is not a citizen or a permanent resident of Canada and who is in Canada legally is called a temporary resident. This includes visitors, students, or workers. To stay in Canada legally as a temporary resident you must have a valid temporary resident visa. Temporary resident visas may be helpful in these circumstances.

  • to allow same-sex partners to be together while applications are being processed
  • to assist some applicants to meet the requirements for permanent resident visas as a skilled worker e.g. working in Canada on a work permit gives an applicant for permanent residence extra points
Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)

People from some countries can enter Canada by arriving at an airport or the border and requesting permission to visit Canada:

  • you must be a genuine visitor
  • you may need to show that you have the ability to return to your own country (a ticket or finances)
  • you may need to show that you are able to support yourself while you are in Canada

People from certain countries must apply for a visa before coming to visit Canada.

In some circumstances you may also need to have a medical exam.

The length of time you may stay in Canada depends on the decision of the officer at the port of entry. If you are not given a specific amount of time, you can stay for up to six months without applying for an extension of your visa.

Find out more about visiting Canada on the CIC web site.

Study Permits

To study in Canada, most people must apply for a study permit before leaving their country. To apply for a study permit you must be accepted by a qualified educational institute, and show that you have sufficient funds to pay the fees and support yourself.

It is possible to take a short study program (six months or as long as the Temporary Resident Visa is valid) without a study permit. However, it is not possible to apply in Canada if you decide to take a longer course.

Applications forms to study in Canada can be found at the CIC web site.

Find out more about studying in Canada on the CIC web site.

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Work Permits

Most people are required to have a work permit in order to work legally in Canada. Usually, a job offer from an employer and the approval of Human Resources Development Canada to be hired for the position are needed to qualify for a work permit.

These are two other ways people may be able to come to Canada to work temporarily:

International Free Trade Agreements may allow people who are citizens of the USA, Mexico or Chile may qualify to work in Canada. To qualify the person must:

Citizens of other countries may qualify under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) which also allows entry for business visitors, intra-company transferees, and professionals without obtaining HRDC approval.

Intra-company transfer may allow senior executives, managers and individuals with specialized knowledge in the company to qualify to come to Canada temporarily.

Find out more about working in Canada on the CIC web site.

Live-in Caregiver Program

This special program gives a qualified person a work permit for one year to work as a caregiver for children or persons who are elderly or disabled.

  • An application must be made outside Canada.
  • The employee must live in the home of the employer.
  • The permit can be renewed.

A person who completes two years of work in the first three years they are in Canada can apply for permanent residence. At this time, they may also name their common-law partner as a dependent on their application.

Find out more about the Live-in Caregiver Program on the CIC web site.

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Extending Your Stay in Canada

It is very important to remain in status while you are in Canada. To stay in status, apply to extend or change your Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) before your current TRV expires.

To apply

  • Find the Guide and Form for Applying to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada on the CIC web site. The same form is used to apply for an extension of visitor status, study permit, or work permit, or to change from one status to another.
  • Request an official fee receipt from the CIC web site.
  • Follow the guide to complete the form, pay the fee and mail the application.

CIC recommends that you send in your application one month before your current TRV expires. In fact, your application will be processed as long as it arrives one business day before your current TRV expires.

If you send in your application and immigration does not respond before your status expires you have "implied status" until they do.

When you apply for an extension or change of status of your TRV:

  • Demonstrate that you are able to support yourself for the duration of your stay.
  • Include a letter of support from your partner.
  • Provide a convincing reason for wanting to extend your stay.
  • Reassure the officer that you have the intention and funds to leave Canada when your temporary status expires.

Remember, visa extensions are always at the discretion of an officer. They can always say no.

Visitor status

  • It is usually fairly easy to extend a visitor visa the first time.
  • Changing from a student or work permit to visitor status is usually fairly easy.
  • If you have already done a visitor or student extension, a second one is harder and subsequent ones are much harder.

Study or Work Permits

  • Generally you cannot change from visitor status to a study or work permit, although there are exceptions.
  • A work permit usually has a limit on how long you may stay in total. Some work permits, such as post-grad and working holiday permits, cannot be extended. You will need to change to visitor status if you want to extend your stay in Canada.

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In Canada applications in process

  • If you have an In Canada Class permanent resident application in process the approval of a change to visitor from student or work permit, or extension of visitor status is almost automatic. Spouses and common-law partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, regardless of their status, will be allowed to remain in Canada while their immigration application is being considered.
  • If you have an H&C application in process in Canada with H&C reasons beyond just your relationship, Immigration will also approve of a change to visitor from student or work permit, or extension of visitor status almost automatically.

Family Class application in process outside Canada

  • If you have an application in process outside of Canada, Immigration may approve your temporary resident visa extension but they are not obligated to do so.

If you have overstayed your visa and are in Canada illegally see Special Circumstances for suggestions.

Temporary Resident Permit (TRP)

A Temporary Resident Permit (formerly called a Minister's Permit) may be granted to a person who is inadmissible to Canada, for example because of health reasons. Partners of Canadians who have a criminal conviction in their home country and do not yet qualify to apply for rehabilitation can apply for a TRP. In some circumstances a TRP may be granted for people who do not meet other immigration requirements. It is recommended that you consult an immigration lawyer or consultant if you think this may apply to you.

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Disclaimer and Copyrights information

This page provides information about ways to stay in Canada temporarily.
Temporary Resident Visas
     > Visitors
     > Study Permits
     > Work Permits
     > Live-in Caregiver Program
Extending Your Stay In Canada
Temporary Resident Permits