Are you planning to extend your stay in Canada as a visitor? Whether you’re exploring the breathtaking landscapes, visiting family and friends, or simply enjoying the Canadian experience, it’s essential to know how to extend your visitor visa stay.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process step by step.
Who Can Apply to Extend a Visitor Visa?
- Extending Your Stay: If you’re in Canada on a visitor visa and want to stay longer, you can apply for an extension.
- Changing Your Permit Type: If you originally entered Canada with a study or work permit and now wish to switch to being a visitor, you can also apply for a visitor record.
It’s crucial to note that no matter how you initially entered Canada, whether it was with a visitor visa, an electronic travel authorization (eTA), or any other document, a visitor record is required for an extended stay.
However, it’s important to understand that a visitor record doesn’t allow you to work or study in Canada.
When Should You Apply?
- Submit Your Application Early: To ensure a smooth transition and avoid any disruptions, it’s recommended to submit your application at least 30 days before your current status expires.
- Last-Minute Applications: While you can technically submit an online application even just one day before your 6-month stay expires, this isn’t advisable. Last-minute submissions may not leave enough time for processing.
Finding Your Expiry Date
To apply for an extension, you need to know when your current status expires. Here’s how to find this information:
- Stamp in Your Passport: Check the stamp in your passport; this date indicates when your visitor status expires. Be sure not to confuse it with the date printed on your visitor visa. If there’s no stamp in your passport, your visitor status typically expires six months from the date you entered Canada.
- Permit Documents: Look at your study permit, work permit, or visitor record if you’ve previously extended your stay. These documents also indicate your status expiry date.
How to Apply for a Visitor Record
Now, let’s dive into the process of applying for a visitor record. We’ll break it down into simple steps.
Step 1: Gather the Required Forms
The first thing you need to do is refer to the IRCC instruction guide. To begin, you’ll need specific forms. Here’s what you need:
- Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay, or Remain in Canada as a Visitor or Temporary Resident Permit Holder ━ (Form IMM 5708)
- Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union ━ (Form IMM 636.51): If applicable, you’ll need this form to declare a common-law union.
- Use of Representative ━ (Form IMM 5476): If you’re using a representative to help with your application, include this form.
Remember, you can’t simply click on these forms; you’ll need to download them and use a PDF editor to fill them out.
Step 2: Prepare Your Answers for the Online Tool
Before you submit your application, you’ll need to answer a few questions online. These answers will help create a personalized document checklist for you:
- Select “Visit” for the question, “What would you like to do in Canada?”
- Choose “Canada” for your current country/territory of residence.
Step 3: Create Your Account
Now, it’s time to create your account on the GCKey platform. If you already have an account, you can simply sign in to:
- Pay Your Application Fees: The application fee for a visitor record is $100, and you’ll need a debit or credit card to make this payment.
- Submit Your Application: Once your forms are ready, submit your application online through your GCKey account.
- Check Your Application Status: You can also use your account to keep track of your application’s progress.
In cases where applying online isn’t feasible, such as due to a disability or technical issues, a paper application can be submitted instead.
What to Expect After Applying
After you’ve submitted your application, there are a few important steps to follow:
- Book Your Biometrics Collection Appointment: It’s essential to schedule this appointment as soon as possible to prevent processing delays.
- Contact IRCC If Processing Takes Longer: If your application’s processing time exceeds expectations, you can get in touch with IRCC using the Web form.
As of the latest information from IRCC, the processing time for a visitor record is currently 151 days for online applications and 106 days for paper-based applications. Keep these timelines in mind when planning your stay.
Before we conclude, here are a couple of critical reminders:
- Your Visitor Record Is Not a Visa: It’s essential to understand that the date indicated on your visitor record is the date by which you are required to leave Canada. It does not serve as a visa.
- Re-Entry to Canada: If you plan to leave Canada and return, you’ll need a valid entry document, such as a visitor visa or eTA, along with your valid passport or travel document.
Timely action and attention to detail are key to ensuring a smooth extension of your stay, allowing you to continue enjoying all that Canada has to offer.
Safe travels, and enjoy your extended stay in this beautiful country!