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Visitors in Canada - COVID-19 & Extensions

Are you currently a visitor in Canada? Confused about what you have to do if you cannot return to your home country due to limited flights, canceled flights or border restrictions?


Lately there have been a lot of people in a similar situation questioning what their next steps should be. IRCC has published instructions that mention that they understand that COVID-19 may result in some people not being able to leave, that some documents may not be readily available, and specifically, they request that the applicant submits a letter indicating which documents cannot be obtained and why, together with their application. If given sufficient explanation for the omission, 90 days will be available for the applicant to collect all necessary information for their visitor record extension and to submit further documents via the online webform.


In order to apply for a visitor record extension, you still have to pay the government fees as applicable. You still have to apply for an extension if your status is about to expire. If you overstay too long even in these circumstances, you will become illegal in Canada. Proof of financial means to stay in Canada is still necessary. The law has not changed and the process to apply for an extension has not changed other then to mandate online application only, there is no government fee waver. If the applicant is subject to biometrics or immigration medical exams, they will still have to submit those with the possibility for a time extension where necessary due to the pandemic. In other words, nothing has changed in terms of the process, you simply have an extension of time to provide further documents if they are not available at the time of submission. Furthermore, flagpoling to get a permit on the border with USA is not possible. An online application must be submitted.


A visitor to Canada usually has 6 months stay from the date of entry unless a border officer writes a different date on their stamp or issues a document with different information. In some circumstances, visitors do have less than 6 months stay at a time. The entry visa or eTA is irrelevant to the length of legal stay as it is an entry document only, not a permission to stay. Multiple-entry visitor visas issued abroad allow the visitor an opportunity to come in and out of Canada, not to stay in the country for 5-10 years, for example, unless they apply for an extension of stay inside Canada. Such an extension document is called a visitor record.


To summarize:

Government fee for visitor extension - $100 CAD

Biometrics fee, if applicable - $85

Visa validity inside Canada - up to 6 month

Restoration of status period - 90 days

Restoration of status government fee - $200

Provide additional documents - 90 days (or as specified by IRCC from time to time)

Medical exam may be necessary for stays of over 6 months

Visa extension will not be issued beyond the validity of a passport

COVID-19 does not mean that there is lawlessness or that normal conditions of stay as specified in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act or Regulations do not apply.



Visitor Record Extensions


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8944 182 St NW Unit 226

 Edmonton AB T5T 2E3 Canada

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