Can I stay in Canada?

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Can I remain in CanadaFluck is a citizen of Laos. As a temporary foreign worker, he holds a work permit that is valid for the next two years. However, Fluck doesn’t know whether the work permit allows him to stay in Canada for the next two years, or he has to leave every six months. Therefore, he asks a friend, “Can I stay in Canada?” 

People fall under three different groups concerning Canada:

Depending on the group you fall into, your rights and privileges to stay in Canada are different.

Can I stay in Canada as a Canadian citizen?

If you are a Canadian citizen, you have the right to remain in Canada for as long as you want. Of course, you could locate this right under subsection 6(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Mobility of citizens: Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.

What about registered Indians?

The simple answer to this question is yes. Unfortunately, the Constitution Act, 1982, falls short of mentioning this right. However, subsection 19(1) of IRPA expands the right to remain in Canada to registered Indians.

Every Canadian citizen within the meaning of the Citizenship Act and every person registered as an Indian under the Indian Act has the right to enter and remain in Canada in accordance with this Act, and an officer shall allow the person to enter Canada if satisfied following an examination on their entry that the person is a citizen or registered Indian.

Note that the term “registered Indian” refers to certain indigenous people of Canada. Of course, at Parsai Immigration Services, we acknowledge the land we are meeting on is the traditional territory of many nations.

Can I remain in Canada as a permanent resident?

Unlike the citizens, the right to remain in Canada for permanent residents is not unqualified. However, subsection 27(1) of IRPA defines this right.

A permanent resident of Canada has the right to enter and remain in Canada, subject to the provisions of this Act.

Of course, you could lose this right by not meeting the residency obligations or becoming inadmissible to Canada.

What about foreign nationals?

When it comes to foreign nationals, the right to remain in Canada becomes tricky. Therefore, we are probably better off using the term “privilege” than “right” for this group.

Staying in Canada as a visitor

You could be a visitor for any of the following purposes:

  • Tourism
  • Visiting family or friends
  • Attending seminars, conferences and alike
  • Studying in Canada for fewer than six months
  • Staying short-term to receive medical treatment
  • Participating in cultural or athletic events as a spectator
  • Working in Canada under the authority of section 186 of the Immigration Regulations (i.e. working without the need to a work permit)

Of course, this list is not comprehensive but gives you an idea of who is a visitor in Canada. Regardless, depending on your nationality, the purpose of visit or the documents you hold, you may or may not need a visit visa to travel to Canada. When you reach Canada, a Border Services Officer reviews your papers and decides if you can enter Canada. Simultaneously, the BSO decides for how long you may remain in Canada.

  • If they do not stamp your passport, you may stay up to six months from the date of entry.
  • A stamp without an expiry date also means you could remain in Canada for up to six months.
  • Sometimes they mention an expiry date on your passport. Of course, you need to leave Canada on or before that date.
  • If they intend to deviate from the six-month stay significantly, they issue a Visitor Record. This one-page document clearly says when you need to leave Canada and any conditions attached to your visit. However, a Visitor Record is not a removal order; even if it reads, you have to report your departure.

Staying in Canada as an international student

As an international student, you hold a study permit.  You may remain in Canada as long as your study permit is valid. Of course, subsection 222(1) of the Immigration Regulations explains a study permit becomes invalid if any of the following happens.

    1. Ninety days after the day on which the permit holder completes their studies.
    2. The day on which a removal order made against the permit holder becomes enforceable.
    3. The day on which the permit expires.

Therefore, as long as your study permit is valid, you do not need to leave Canada, even if you stay for more than six months in Canada.

Remaining in Canada as a temporary foreign worker

As a temporary foreign worker, you hold a work permit. You may stay in Canada as long as your work permit is valid. Of course, you may not remain in Canada if your work permit expires or you receive an enforceable removal order.

Can a foreign national lose their privilege to remain in Canada?

As a foreign national, you could lose the privilege of staying in Canada under any of the following circumstances:

  • The expiry date of your stay
  • Receiving an enforceable removal order

Can I extend my status in Canada?

Under certain circumstances, you could extend your status in Canada or change it. Read the following article for more information:

You may find the following article useful:

If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review it for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal advice from a licenced practitioner.

Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada


This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, please do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

The characters and places in the articles:
All the characters and locations in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Therefore, any resemblance in names, dates, and places is coincidental.

Important Notes:
For our official addresses, trust this website only. We currently do not have anywhere in this world. Therefore, anyone who claims to be our agent is committing fraud. Also, note that we do not issue any work permits or study permits or similar documents. The government of Canada has the sole authority to issue such material.

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Al Parsai

This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.