Are you currently living in Canada temporarily? Decided that you would like to stay longer?
There are many ways in which you can continue your stay in Canada temporarily or permanently. There are visa pathways available to visitors, Working Holiday visa holders, and temporary workers. We will break down below how to extend your stay in Canada.
It’s important to note that some pathways will require you to apply from your home country, while others you can apply for from Canada. It’s also important to note the deadlines for submitting your documentation and how long prior to the expiration of your visa you’re allowed to apply for a new one.
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Canada Visa Types
There are many pathways you can take to extend your stay in Canada. However, we’re going to focus on some of the main programs you can apply for:
Canada Visitor Visa
A Canada visitor visa (also known as TRV), allows you to stay in the country for a set period, typically between 6 months and 10 years. You can use the visitor visa to travel all over Canada, visit friends and family, and even enquire about job opportunities. However, you can’t work using this visa and you can’t participate in business-related activities (for this, you can apply for a business visitor visa).
There are two types of Canadian visitor visas: single-entry and multiple-entry.
Single-entry is less common and it allows you to enter Canada just once. The multiple-entry visa is usually valid for up to 10 years, and it allows you to enter Canada multiple times during those 10 years, for 6 months at a time.
Please note that certain nationalities are exempt from applying for a tourist visa, and are required to apply for an ETA online.
The IEC Visa, or International Experience Canada program, encourages young individuals from neighboring countries to come to Canada to live and work for a certain period of time. This is an extremely popular program with limited quotas, so it’s recommended to apply as early as possible.
Applicants must comply with the specific conditions of the various IEC programs. Each program is aimed at certain individuals and can lead to professional development, career opportunities, access to research and tech innovations, and more.
The most common IEC visa you should know about is the Working Holiday Visa.
To apply for this IEC visa, no work experience is required. However, there are other eligibility requirements. Becoming eligible to apply for this visa depends on several factors: your age, nationality, health, criminal record, and whether you have any dependents. Depending on your status, you may be completely ineligible, eligible for 1 IEC visa, or eligible to apply twice.
Canadian Work Visa
A Canadian work visa can be granted for 3 years or more. Depending on the conditions of your work visa, you may live, work, and travel anywhere in Canada. You may sponsor your relatives to live with you as well.
There are two programs through which you can apply for a Canadian work visa: the Express Entry Program and the Provincial Nominee Program.
The Express Entry Program includes three work visas: Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
In your case, as someone who is already in Canada and wishes to stay, you can apply for the Canadian Experience Class. If you have experience in skill type 0, A, or B occupations in Canada, you may qualify for this visa and apply through the Express Entry system. The skill type list is known as the Canada National Occupation Classification List. However, you should consult with an immigration professional about qualifying for the other Express Entry visas.
The Provincial Nominee Program is similar to Express Entry, with the exception of several conditions:
You must obtain a provincial nomination to get your visa
You must commit to working in the province that nominated you for at least 1 year
You can read more about the Provincial Nominee Program here.
If eligible for these programs, you will be able to obtain permanent residency in Canada and stay for as long as you would like. You will also have access to social benefits, Medicare, protection under Canadian law, visa-free access to over a dozen countries, and more.
When can I apply for visa extension?
As mentioned earlier, there are different conditions for applying for a visa extension. Sometimes you may apply for visa extension within Canada, and sometimes you must return to your home country beforehand. This is what you will be required to do for each of the visas above:
Canada Visitor Visa – Visitor Record
If you are currently in Canada using a single-entry visitor visa, and you would like to extend your stay beyond the 6 months limit, you will need to apply for a visitor visa extension called Visitor Record. You must apply for a visitor visa record for Canada at least 30 days before your Canada visitor visa expires.
A Visitor Record allows you to prolong your stay in Canada, providing you with a new expiration date. This document is added to your visitor visa or ETA, and is not to be considered a replacement. You may easily apply for this extension online while in Canada.
If you are currently in Canada using a Working Holiday Visa, it is possible to change the conditions of your work permit or apply for a second IEC visa while in Canada. You must apply at least 30 days before your work permit expires. Mind you, getting a new IEC visa or changing your work permit may take longer and there is no guarantee of success.
If you would like to apply for a second Working Holiday Visa, you must comply with the following requirements:
Have 2 passports from countries that have an IEC agreement with Canada
Be 18 – 35 years old
If you want to change your work permit, you can apply for an LMIA employer-specific work permit that allows you to extend your stay temporarily. You will need to meet certain conditions, such as:
Providing the name of your Canadian employer
Providing the amount of time you can work
Providing the location of your workplace (if applicable)
You can also apply for one of the other IEC visa programs known as the Young Professionals and the International Co-op Program.
Canadian Work Visa
If you want to switch to a permanent work visa, you can apply for a regular Canadian work visa through Express Entry or the Provincial Nominee Program. You can also apply through the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, where thousands of Canadian employers participate to hire foreign nationals for work.
Assuming you made some work connections during your stay in Canada, you can also check if your employer will sponsor you.
Again, you must apply for your new work visa at least 30 days before your previous visa expires. Keep in mind that processing times for your visa may take longer than 30 days and you will need to return home, apply for or extend your visitor visa.
Can I work while waiting for visa extension?
Depending on the conditions of your visa, you may work until your visa expires or you are granted a new visa (if you are granted a new visa before the previous one expires). You may work using an IEC visa, or a Canadian work permit, but you are not permitted to work using a visitor visa. This can lead to serious consequences.
Apply for visa extension within Canada
Whether you need to extend your stay in Canada, or you need to apply for a completely new visa, we can assist you in facilitating the application process and achieving your goals.
At Great North Visa, you will consult with certified professionals who are familiar with Canada’s work policies and regulations. We can provide you with a visa eligibility evaluation, document collection services, 24/6 support, legal assistance, and more.
Tap the button below to book a free consultation with our team today.