Extending visitor visa

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Pheonix

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Extending visitor visa
« on: June 13, 2016, 06:17:06 PM »
Hello,

I am a US citizen visiting Canada. My visa expires July 16th. I was debating whether to apply for an extension or leave the country and come back later. If I took the extension route, once I get my answer (assuming it's positive), will I have to leave the country and re-enter (called "landing," I think)? Or is this not necessary and I can just stay until the extension permits? 

Also, any idea as to how long it might be for me to get an answer, or does it vary greatly?

Thanks so much for any help you can offer!

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Riley Haas

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Re: Extending visitor visa
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2016, 10:03:43 AM »
Hi,
Have you applied for permanent residence? Is that what you mean by your answer?

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Pheonix

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Re: Extending visitor visa
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2016, 03:48:45 PM »
Hi Riley,

No. I flew in via Toronto airport January 17th as a visitor. Stamp on my passport says this expires July 16th. I need to stay in the country until August 16th. I thought to either apply for an extension of my visitor status or go to US for a bit and come back. I wondered if after I get my approval to stay until August (or longer), if I would need to leave the country and come back in... to kind of 'activate' that extension -- just as the landing process goes for new PRs. Is that clear?

Thank you, again.

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Riley Haas

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Re: Extending visitor visa
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2016, 03:55:19 PM »
Hi again,
You should be able to leave and re-enter without too many problems. You should leave before the stamp expires, though.

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Pheonix

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Re: Extending visitor visa
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2016, 05:14:53 PM »
Right. I know I could leave and come back. My question is a bit different though. If I get the extension, is it required to border hop anyway? If it is, I won't bother with paying for an application and I'll just go to the US briefly and come back. I don't want to have to do both (apply AND re-enter). I know this is required of a permanent resident after they get accepted. I wasn't sure if it was needed for an extension of a visitor visa.

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Riley Haas

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Re: Extending visitor visa
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2016, 05:26:46 PM »
Well, you're in a unique situation given that you are an American and don't require a visitor visa. So for you to have a new stamp, you would just exist the country and re-enter, whereas others would have to apply for the extension. I'm not sure you need to apply for the extension because you were just given an entry stamp and never actually applied for a visitor visa. Does that make sense?

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Pheonix

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Re: Extending visitor visa
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2016, 03:58:02 PM »
Ahh, I see what you mean. That's true. But it implies no American citizens can apply for extensions since they're visa-exempt. If I wanted to not go all the way to the border and back, maybe I'd have to get an official visitor visa, then apply for extension. I just thought there would be a way to extend my stay here by applying online, instead of having to go to the border and facing a possible denial to entry (sometimes these border scenarios are really subjective and dependent on the person you're dealing with).

Unfortunately, I've never found a clear law/rule that determines how much time in Canada is "too much." At the border, they could feel that since I've already been here 6 months that it caps it for the year. Or maybe they'll be upset about the bad lunch they've had that day and give me hard time (I kid). I don't know. I guess I'll find out in a couple of weeks!

Thank you, Riley, for your input. Much appreciated.

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Riley Haas

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Re: Extending visitor visa
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2016, 04:00:47 PM »
Hi again,
This is brand new: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-canadians-must-careful-how-long-spend-usa-colin-r-?published=t and this is the first time I've heard anything about it, but it's definitely relevant to your situation.

I spoke to one of our consultant's in the interim and he says you can apply for the visitor extension. It's the same application as it would be for someone who required a visa. Sorry for any confusion!

Riley

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Pheonix

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Re: Extending visitor visa
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2016, 06:41:51 PM »
Thanks for getting back to me. I checked out that source you linked to. I'm not sure that it's super accurate. After looking into it, I found this website: http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/regu/sor-2002-227/latest/sor-2002-227.html#sec183_smooth. Updated March 11 of this year. It states the law as a visitor being allowed in Canada for "six months or any other period that is fixed by an officer" upon entry. Lots of misinformation on the internet.

I still don't know if I have to leave the country once my extension is granted, but that website just says, "...the period [of stay] is extended until the end of the new period authorized for their stay, if the application is allowed." Nothing about "activating" the extended visa by landing in the country or anything further. However, our car needs service in the US (we just found out today), so it looks as if we're border hopping again.  :o

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Riley Haas

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Re: Extending visitor visa
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2016, 12:22:14 PM »
Well, it's always at the discretion at the officer, as you point out. If the lawyer I cited is wrong that there's a formula, it's still worth thinking about how many days you spend here. Whether or not there's a formula, the officer will/should be looking at how long you've stayed in Canada recently.

My understanding is that you do not have to exit and leave. The "landing" thing is to be issued the document. If you send in your passport to an office as part of the extension application, you won't have to go to the border.  I honestly don't know whether or not you need your passport re-stamped to stay longer though. When you file the application, you will find out. (If you need to go to the border, they'll tell you.)

 

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