The validity of your Canadian visitor visa will depend on the type of Canadian visitor visa you hold and your objective of being in the country. A visitor visa, also known as a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), is an immigration document that provides foreign nationals the needed permission to enter Canada.
Unless you are from a visa-exempt country, you will be expected to obtain a visitor visa to enter Canada, whether you are coming as a student, temporary worker, or just to visit.
There are two types of Canadian visitor visas: single entry visas and multiple entry visas. A single entry visa gives foreign nationals the required permission to enter Canada for one-time only. A multiple entry visa allows the holder to enter and leave Canada as many times as possible as long as the visa is valid.
You are not expected to choose the type of Canadian visitor visa to apply for, instead, you are automatically considered for multiple entry visas and are only issued single-entry visas under certain circumstances. With a multiple entry visitor visa, the holder is allowed to travel to Canada for six months at a time as many times as they want, as long as the visa remains valid.
Have in mind that this type of Canadian visitor visa can stay valid for up to 10 years, but most often the exact validity period will depend on the visa officer issuing it. If you have some other status document, like a study permit or a work permit, and are not otherwise visa-exempt, you will automatically be provided with a visitor visa that allows you to enter Canada to use your permit.
However, if you choose to temporarily leave Canada within the duration of your studies or temporary work, you will not be required to apply for a new visitor visa to re-enter Canada as long as your permit and visa are both still valid.
If you wish to stay longer as a visitor, you can then file or submit an In-Canada Extension of your Visitor status. Foreign nationals who are visa-exempt and those who are not exempt are required to apply for this extension. Howbeit, you must submit this application before the expiry of your visitor status.
For your extension application to be considered and subsequently approved, you will need to show the IRCC reasons why you intend to stay longer, how you reckon you will financially support yourself in Canada, and also when you plan to leave the country.
If you are visiting a friend or a family member in Canada, it is advisable to include in your extension application documentation concerning the individual you are visiting e.g. financial statements, ownership documentation, and employment information.
Once your extension application gets approved, you will receive a Visitor Record, which will come with an expiration date. Note that this Visitor Record does not allow re-entry into Canada because it only offers you visitor status while you are physically in Canada. However, if your extension application was not successful, you will get a refusal letter that will come with the date you will be expected to leave the country.
How to Apply For Canadian Visitor Visa Extension
According to reports, there are two ways you can apply for your Canadian visitor visa extension: online and on paper.
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To apply online, you will be expected to use the account you already have with the IRCC website. You only have to visit IRCC’s website to note all the necessary instructions for extending your Canadian visitor visa. You will also have to scan your documents and create electronic copies of them. This you will then submit using the online application tool.
In addition, you will need a valid credit/debit card to pay your fees. When filling out your form and the question “What would you like to do in Canada?” pops up, always remember to select “Visit.” Then, on “What is your current country/territory of residence?” answer “Canada.” Ensure you carefully complete the rest of the application as instructed and submit it when you are done.
To submit your paper application in person, you will first have to download the application package available on IRCC’s website. This application package will include document checklists, application forms, and application guidelines. Ensure to carefully go through the application guidelines, make available all the necessary documents, and pay the fees.
In addition, you will be expected to also print the application forms that are on the application package and sign and date them where necessary. You will also have to attach all the needed documents and pay all the fees required with your completed application. Then, simply package and mail this application to the address stated on the application package.
Forms and Documents You Will Need to Apply for Canadian Visitor Visa Extension
To apply for a Canadian visitor visa extension, there are certain statutory documents and forms you will be expected to fill out and submit.
- Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Visitor or Temporary Resident Permit Holder (IMM 5708)
- Use of a Representative (IMM 5476)
- Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual (IMM 5475)
- Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union (IMM 5409) (If applicable)
- Payment receipts
- Photocopies of passport pages. They are expected to include: your name and birth date, the passport number, the expiration date, the stamp of your most recent entry into Canada, and all other marked pages
- If you did not enter with a passport: Photocopies of your other travel or identity documents. This may include an alien registration card, birth certificate, citizenship certificate, etc.
- If applicable: Photocopy of your current immigration document.
- If applicable: Marriage certificate.
- Proof of sufficient financial means.
Regardless of the type of Canadian visitor visa you hold and how long it is valid, note that you are not permitted to stay in the country for more than 6 months at a time. It simply means that after 6 months you are expected to return to your home country, and stay for some time before returning to Canada again for 6 months.
If you want to stay longer than 6 months in Canada with a visitor visa, you will have to apply for a visitor visa extension, also called a Visitor Record. You are allowed to apply as many times as you wish.