If you have travelled to Canada with the eTA, there is a possibility to extend the maximum duration of your six-month stay. You can do so by applying for a visitor record. This is a document that gives you the status of a visitor, allowing you to stay in the country for a longer period of time.
When do I have to apply for a visitor record?
If you travel to Canada with an eTA, you can stay in the country for up to six consecutive months. If you want to stay in Canada for a longer period of time, you have to apply for a visitor record before these six months have passed. The expiry date of your current maximum duration of stay is the exit date that was stamped in your passport upon arrival. If you have not received a stamp upon arrival in Canada, you have to leave the country at least six months after you arrive.
An application for a visitor record has to be submitted at least 30 days before the current maximum duration of stay with the eTA expires. If you already know you want to stay in Canada longer than six months prior to your trip, it is recommended that you apply for a visa.
Who can apply for the visitor record?
A visitor record can be applied for to extend the stay in Canada. To do so, it does not matter if you came to Canada on a visitor visa, an eTA, or another document. To extend the stay, a visitor record is always required. A student visa or work permit can also be changed into a visitor record, which can be necessary, for example, if you want to stay in Canada after completing your studies or work.
How to apply for the visitor record
A visitor record should basically be applied for online. One of the advantages of this online application procedure is that your application goes directly to the immigration service to be processed. You can only submit a physical application if you are unable to fill in the online form due to a disability or when there are technical errors in the application form. To help you submit an application as smoothly as possible, the online application process is described below.
What do I need?
- A camera or scanning device that allows you to take clear photographs or scans of your passport and other required documents.
- A valid credit card or international debit card (Mastercard or Visa).
- An account on the website of the Canadian immigration service to submit and pay for the application. This account can be easily created.
What do I have to do?
- Before you start your application, carefully read the instructions on how to fill in the form correctly. These can be found on the website of the Canadian immigration service. These instructions will tell you everything you need to submit your application as smoothly as possible.
- You have to answer a number of questions. To apply for the visitor record, you select the answer “Visit” to the question about what you are going to do in Canada. For the question “What is your current country or territory of residence”, you should select “Canada”, because the visitor record can only be applied for in Canada.
- Check whether you need to provide biometric data. If this is the case, you have to make a physical appointment at a designated location. This is not required if the Canadian immigration service already has your biometric data and these have been taken in the last 10 years.
After submitting the application
Your application is processed by the Canadian immigration service. The average processing time that is indicated on the website of the immigration service, depends on multiple factors. If the average delivery time indicated on the website when you submitted your application has passed, you can contact the Canadian immigration service with an online form. It is also possible to check the status of your application online.
If your application for a visitor record has not been processed by the time your actual maximum duration of stay has expired, you will conditionally retain your residence status. This means that you can legally stay in Canada until a decision has been made about your visitor record.
Can I enter and exit Canada with a visitor record?
If you have received a visitor record and leave Canada afterwards, you cannot use this visit record to enter the country a second time. For a new trip to Canada, you always require a valid eTA or visa. A visitor record is not a travel authorisation; it only serves to extend your current stay and give you the status of a visitor. Once you leave Canada, you always have to check whether your eTA or visa is still valid for your next trip.