The difference between visa and temporary status in Canada
One of the confusing issues for Canadian visitors is the difference between visa and temporary status. Of course, understanding a temporary resident visa is not difficult. You ask IRCC to allow you to travel to Canada, and they may issue you a visa. However, what happens when you enter Canada? Let’s discuss these two concepts in more detail.
- Defining legal status in Canada
- What is a TRV?
- Comparing a visa and temporary status in Canada
- Let us help!
Before discussing visa versus temporary status, let’s explore the concept of status in Canada. Of course, I’m looking at this concept from the immigration lens.
The following people have permanent status in Canada:
- Registered Indians under the Indian Act: This group covers most indigenous people in Canada.
- Canadian citizens: As a citizen, you have the right to remain in Canada. Of course, you may also leave Canada at any time.
- Permanent residents of Canada: Permanent residents may remain in Canada like citizens. However, they must meet the residency obligations and remain admissible.
The following people have legal temporary resident status in Canada. Nonetheless, make sure to review the terms and conditions.
- Work permit holders: If you have a valid work permit, you have temporary status in Canada. However, a work permit with the “does not confer temporary status” message means you have no status. Also, you could lose your temporary status if you receive an enforceable removal order. Lastly, some people, such as refugee claimants, who hold work permits, do not have temporary status in Canada.
- Study permit holders: You have temporary status unless one of the following happens: (1) The study permit expires; (2) It has been more than 90 days since you finished your studies in Canada; (3) Immigration authorities have issued an enforceable removal order against you; (4) Your permit includes a message that loosely says “does not confer temporary status.”
- Visitor Record holders: Of course, the Visitor Record must be valid. Also, an enforceable removal order cancels the validity of the Visitor Record.
- Implicit Visitor Record holders: Sometimes, officers allow you to enter Canada without issuing a Visitor Record. Consequently, you may remain in Canada for up to six months or the date they mention on your passport. Nonetheless, an enforceable removal order cancels your temporary status in Canada.
- Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) holders: A TRP offers you temporary status in Canada. However, you lose the TRP upon the expiry date or when you receive an enforceable removal order.
- Protected persons: An individual who has received protection from IRB or IRCC may remain in Canada. However, they must eventually apply for permanent residence.
If a person does not fall into the previous cases, they do not have legal status in Canada. Here are some examples:
- Someone who has entered Canada irregularly (i.e., not through a port of entry)
- Refugee claimants
- People who have overstayed in Canada (i.e., beyond the validity of their status)
- Persons who have received an enforceable removal order
- Most stateless people (i.e., people who are not the citizen of any country)
Of course, this list is not inclusive.
A Canadian visa allows people to travel to Canada. We call such visas a TRV. Of course, you may receive a TRV for many purposes, such as work, study, or tourism. Moreover, a typical TRV sticker reflects the nature of your visit. Regardless, the purpose of a visa is to allow you to board an airplane and travel to Canada. It is up to a border officer to allow you to enter and remain in Canada. US citizens may travel to Canada without a TRV. Also, some other people may travel to Canada with an eTA and without a visa.
Reviewing the previous sections makes you realize that a visa is for travelling to Canada, and temporary status is for remaining in Canada. Therefore, we can summarize the differences between a Canadian visa and temporary status below:
- You receive a visa before travelling to Canada. However, an officer at the port of entry grants you temporary status.
- You may apply for an extension or change your temporary status inside Canada. Nevertheless, you must meet the requirements.
- An application for a TRV from inside Canada is possible. However, it is not necessary for the extension of your temporary status. Therefore, even if your TRV expires, you may still extend your status without having a valid TRV. Of course, as I mentioned before, you must meet the extension’s requirements.
Contact us if you intend to apply for a visa or extend your temporary status. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session with me. Moreover, for immigration options, please fill out our assessment form.
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Would you please fill out our free assessment form if you wish to visit or move to Canada? 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 immigration advice from a licensed practitioner.
Al Parsai, LLM, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada
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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, 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.
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