• Tetiana Karbovanets, RCIC

How to extend your status in Canada

Since the pandemic started more and more people in Canada find themselves in the situation when they need to extend their stay in Canada.

If you are visiting your family in Canada, the general rule is – you should leave the country not later than 6 months after you arrived. But what if your flight was cancelled and you had to change your plans? There’s no reason to panic- you can easily apply for the extension of your status. The application package consists of a single form to fill out and a fairly small amount of supporting documents to submit. The package is submitted online and there is a $100 CAD fee to be paid for each applicant.

Once you submitted your application, you can remain in Canada legally under a so-called “implied status” until the decision on your application is made.

Having an implied status means that the visitor, worker or student continues to maintain their legal immigration status in Canada until a decision is made on their application to extend their stay. This allows the applicant to legally reside in Canada even though his or her permit has expired, regardless of how long it takes to process their application.

After you made your application don’t expect to receive any legal document or permission showing your current status. All you will have as a proof is the acknowledgement of receipt from IRCC that they received your application for your status extension.

It usually takes quite a while for your visitor extension application to be processed (2-3 months), and it’s possible that you might need to travel out of the country during that time. It’s ok to leave the country, but you have to keep in mind that you will need to have a valid visa in your passport in order to be able to return to Canada unless you are from a visa-exempt country. Having a valid status in Canada is not the same as having a valid visa. Even after your application was approved, it does not give you the right to enter Canada if your visa validity expired.

But what to do if you missed the deadline and your status already expired? There’s no need to worry, as you might still be eligible for restoration of status. In normal circumstances, you would generally have 90 days to apply to restore your status in Canada after its expiration. In light of the current circumstances related to COVID measures, IRCC introduced a policy extending eligibility period for restoration till December 31, 2020. Thus even you found yourself overstaying in Canada, you might still be able to restore your legal status in the country.

In any case, it is important to make sure that you are not overstaying in Canada, and your documents have not expired. Once you ran out of status, you may be deported from Canada, which will make you inadmissible and will ban you from the possibility of visiting the country for life.

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