How to extend your stay in Canada

Updated: Oct 23, 2020 | Tags: Visitor Record, Canada eTA, Canada Visa

When you arrive in Canada as a visitor for the first time, you will need to show one of the following documents before you are allowed to enter: a valid travel document or passport and a visitor visa or temporary resident visa, or an eTA (electronic travel authorization). Should you wish to remain in Canada as a visitor longer than initially authorized, you will have to submit an application for a visitor record. Please note that this is not a visa.

How to extend your stay in Canada
How to extend your stay in Canada

What is a visitor record?

A visitor record grants you 'visitor' status in Canada and makes it possible for you to remain in the country longer. It does not mean you are allowed to leave Canada and enter again at a later stage. If you intend to leave Canada or the US and come back again later, you will require a valid entry document such as an eTA or visitor visa. A visitor record is authorized by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

When should I submit an application for a visitor record?

You should submit an application for a visitor record at least 30 days before the expiration date of your present status. If you are uncertain when that is, contact the nearest office of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Who can apply for a visitor record?

A visitor record is intended to be used by individuals who wish to stay in Canada longer than initially authorized or change the type of permit they have from either a work permit or a study permit to a visitor record. Whether you entered Canada with an eTA (electronic travel authorization), visitor visa or some other document is irrelevant. If you wish to stay longer in Canada as a visitor, you will have to get a visitor record.

When should I apply for a visitor record?

Should you wish to extend the duration of your stay in Canada as a visitor, or change your status. For example, this can be changing from a worker to an international student, you will have to apply 30 days or longer before the expiration date of your current status.

You will find the expiration date for your current status on your work permit, study permit or visitor record if you already successfully applied for one in the past. Otherwise, your expiration date for your current status in Canada will be on the stamp CBSA made in your passport. Please note that this is not the same as the date mentioned on your visitor visa. If there is no stamp in your passport, the expiration date is six months after the day on which you crossed the border into Canada

What’s the process of applying for Canadian visitor record?

You can apply online, or if for some reason that is not possible, you can submit a paper application. If you submit an online application, IRCC will receive it upon your submission as there are no third-parties involved. This will speed up the processing of your application. If you have already submitted a paper application, however, there is no need to submit an online application.

The benefits of applying online are that you don't have to pay any courier fees. Your application is instantly routed to the relevant department at IRCC or CBSA. This could mean that your application will be processed more quickly. Also, with an online application, it is easy to check whether everything is complete before your submission. You will get an online account where you can check the status of your application at any given time. Lastly, if additional documents are required by IRCC or you can upload these documents digitally to their website where you check your status (

How do I apply for a Canadian visitor record?

Step 1: Double-check that you have everything you need

To apply online, you need a valid debit or credit card as well as a camera or scanner to make digital copies of your documents

Step 2: Study the instruction guide

Even if you want to submit an online application, you should study the instructions before completing the application. This guide explains in detail what you should enter in each field of the online form. Passport holders from Venezuela may be required to complete additional steps when filling out the application.

Step 3: Getting your answers ready for the online tool

Before you will be able to submit your forms, you will first have to answer a number of questions. The answers you give will be used by the system to build a document checklist that has been personalized for your particular circumstances. When applying for a visitor record, you will be required to provide answers to the following questions in the online tool:

  1. "What would you like to do in Canada?". Here you should select the "Visit" option.
  2. "What is your current country/territory of residence" you should select the "Canada" option.

Step 4: Sign in to your online account or create one

In order to apply for an extension to your stay in Canada, you need an online account. You can use this account to submit an application, pay the relevant fees as well as check the status of your application at any time.

What happens after I submit my application?

After submitting the application, you will get an estimated processing time. This will depend on If application was completed properly as well as was the right type of application for your circumstances. Additional factors are related to how fast IRCC or CBSA expects to process existing applications in their queues and verify the information on your application. Your response speed to any requests for additional documents from CBSA or IRCC will also help facilitate faster processing of your visitor record request.

What if I don't hear anything after I have applied?

Once the estimated processing time has passed, you may enquire via the following web form. For the "type of application/enquiry" you should choose one of the two options for temporary residence applications (online or paper).

What happens if my status expires before I receive a reply?

If you submit an application for an extension to your stay in Canada before the date on which you are supposed to depart from the country, you are legally entitled to stay in Canada until a final decision has been reached about the application. In a situation like that, you will have what is known as 'implied status'.

What about traveling outside Canada?

A visitor record states that you have been granted 'visitor' status in Canada. It also says when you have to leave the country again. It does not in any way give you an automatic right to leave Canada and re-enter again at a later stage. If you intend to journey outside Canada or the US, you will have to meet certain entry requirements in order to be allowed back in Canada.


The way to extend your stay in Canada is to obtain a visitor record. This applies to travelers who initially entered Canada on a visitor visa or an eTA. IRCC and CBSA process visitor record applications online, thereby allowing travelers to remain in Canada while their request is being processed. The flexibility of obtaining a visitor record means travelers who are eTA eligible can complete both the eTA and the visitor record applications online.