Temporary Residency

What is temporary residency?

Temporary residency is an immigration status in Canada given by an immigration officer to a foreign national that permits the foreign national to stay in Canada for a limited period of time. When a foreign national has been granted temporary residency status, they become a temporary resident in Canada. This is in contrast to permanent residency, an which permit a foreign national to stay in Canada for an indefinite period of time.

Foreign nationals who have been given temporary resident status must abide by the terms and conditions imposed by Canada’s immigration officers throughout the period of their temporary stay. The terms and conditions that may be imposed by Canada’s immigration officers include:

  • the length of time a person may stay in Canada,
  • to not work unless authorized, and
  • to not study unless authorized.

There are three types or “classes” of temporary residents: visitors, workers and students.

  1. Visitors may be granted temporary residency status for the purpose of conducting business in Canada (B1 visitors) or for the purpose of tourism (B2 visitors).
    • A B1 Business Visitor to Canada is a foreign national who has been granted temporary resident status in the visitor class for the purpose of conducting authorized business activities in Canada that are usually international in nature for which there is neither entry into Canada’s labour market nor wages paid nor commissions earned by the business visitor
    • A B2 Business Visitor to Canada is a foreign national who has been granted temporary resident status in the visitor class for the purpose of staying in Canada for purposes other than work or study that usually involve travel, vacation, visiting friends, visiting family, or some other tourist activity.
  2. Workers may be granted temporary residency status for the purpose of engaging in work in Canada. Work is considered any activity for which wages are paid or commissions are earned in Canada, or where a person’s activities compete or enter Canada’s labour market. If the foreign national is performing an activity that may take away a labour opportunity for a Canadian, that activity is consider work whether or not the foreign national was paid for that work. Volunteer work is still work, even if you are not paid. Working without authorization is prohibited under Canada’s immigration laws. Authorization may be obtained by making an application for a work permit or by limiting activities to those for which work may be done without a work permit as described in Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
  3. Students may be granted temporary residency status for the purpose of engaging in studies in Canada. Interestingly, while Canada no longer defines “studies” or “student” in its Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, Canada controls the admittance of foreign nationals as temporary residents for the purpose of studying in Canada through the issuance of Study Permits. A foreign national may not enter Canada to study without first obtaining a Study Permit. A Study Permit is a written authorization to engage in academic, professional, vocational or other education or training in Canada that is issued by an immigration officer to a foreign national. Therefore, a foreign national who has been authorized to engage in academic, professional, vocational or other education or training in Canada is an international student in Canada who has been authorized to study.

How do I apply for temporary residency?

You must apply to the Government of Canada to acquire temporary residency. Persons who require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) prior to entering Canada make their application for temporary residency prior to coming to Canada. Persons who do not require a TRV prior to entry but wish to fly to Canada and require an electronic travel authorization (eTA) prior to flying to Canada also make an application for temporary residency prior to coming to Canada.   All persons, whether they already possess a TRV or eTA, make an application for temporary residency status upon entry into Canada at a controlled port-of-entry into Canada, such as an airport, seaport or land border. This means that persons who require a TRV or eTA must make at least 2 applications fore temporary residency prior to entry into Canada – first for permission to travel to Canada, and second for permission to enter and remain in Canada. If you have a TRV or eTA, your admission to Canada in temporary residency status is not guaranteed.


Where do I apply for temporary residency?

You can apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) on-line (electronically) to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), in person or by courier to a Visa Application Centre (VAC) located outside of Canada, or, in some cases for persons who are already inside of Canada, to a Case Processing Centre office of IRCC in Canada.

You can apply for an electronic travel authorization (eTA) on-line (electronically) to IRCC through the website of the Government of Canada.

Applications for entry to acquire temporary residency status may be submitted in-person to an officer of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at a port-of-entry into Canada.

You can apply to extend temporary residency status to an IRCC Case Processing Centre (CPC) inside of Canada on-line.

You must submit an application for temporary residency inside of Canada on-line (electronically) to IRCC through the website of the Government of Canada, unless the foreign national’s application falls within one of the eligible exemption categories of persons who can choose to apply on-line or by paper courier.


How long can I stay in Canada as a temporary resident?

A foreign national is permitted to stay in Canada as a temporary resident for as long as they have been granted that term of stay by an immigration officer. It is up to the discretion of any immigration officer to limit, vary or cancel the length of stay of any temporary resident.

A Visitor is typically granted a temporary period of stay upon entry of 6 months. For a visitor to determine the length of the period authorized for their stay, a visitor may consult the stamp in their passport, or the written authorization given tot them called a “Visitor Record”. If a Visitor did not receive an entry stamp nor a Visitor Record upon being granted entry, then the period authorized for their stay is that which they have been verbally granted by the immigration officer. If the immigration officer did not tell a visitor how long they are permitted to stay in Canada, a foreign national’s temporary residency status as a visitor will usually expire the earlier of 6 months from the date of entry or the date of expiry of their passport, with some exceptions.

A Worker is typically granted a temporary period of stay for the duration of their offer of employment, provided that their offer of employment is for a temporary period usually no longer than 3 years, and provided that their passport would remain valid for the entire duration of their temporary stay. If a passport is set to expire earlier than the term length of the foreign national’s job offer, an immigration officer may give a worker a Work Permit with an expiry date that is set to expire on the same date that the foreign national’s passport is set to expire.

A Student is typically granted a temporary period of stay for the duration of their course or program of study provided that their course or program of study is for a temporary period usually no longer than 4 years, that it is not a prerequisite of their program or course of study that they conclude English or French language training prior to commencing their program or course of study, and provided that their passport would remain valid for the entire duration of their temporary stay. If a passport is set to expire earlier than the term length of the foreign national’s program or course of study, an immigration officer may give a student a Study Permit with an expiry date that is set to expire on the same date that the foreign national’s passport is set to expire.


How long does it take for a Temporary Residency application to be approved?

Processing time for temporary residency applications varies by method of submission – on-line, by courier or in person – by country, and by class or category. Estimated processing times for most categories of on-line or by courier temporary residency applications are provided on-line by the Government of Canada. These estimated processing times represent how long it has taken the Government of Canada 80% of temporary residency applications submitted on-line or by courier. The information is sorted by type or class of application. However, it is important to note that estimated processing times do not necessarily tell you how long it will take for your temporary residency application to be processed. Your application can take shorter or longer than the posted estimated processing time.

Some applications for temporary residency may be selected for priority, urgent or express processing. A temporary residency application processing officer has the discretion to select any application for priority, urgent or express processing. However, exercising this discretion using requires the applicant to provide some compelling reasons for faster than normal processing.

Currently, the Government of Canada does not offer the option for applicants to purchase priority, urgent or express processing.


When should I apply to extend my temporary residency in Canada?

If you are currently in Canada as a temporary resident and you wish to extend the period authorized for your stay, you must submit your temporary residency extension application inside of Canada before your current temporary residency status expires. If you apply to extend your temporary residency after your current temporary residency status has expired, your temporary residency application will be ineligible for an extension. You will also not be authorized to stay in Canada after your temporary residency status has expired, unless you have applied for and been approved restoration of your temporary residency status within 90 days of losing that status.

If you submitted your application to extend your temporary residency inside of Canada prior to the expiry of your temporary residency, and your temporary residency has since expired, you may be eligible to continue to remain in Canada in “implied status”. You may only continue to temporarily reside under the terms and conditions of your prior temporary residency status. In other words, your temporary residency conditions and restrictions continue while you are in implied status, even if you have applied to change those conditions. For example, if you were authorized to be in Canada as a Visitor and you wish to work or study, you are not permitted to work for your new employer until your new Work Permit has been issued. However, you may work or study until you have been issued your new Work Permit or Study Permit. The only condition that is extended beyond the expiry of your temporary resident status as a visitor is the condition limiting the period of time authorized for your stay in Canada.


How much does it cost to apply for temporary residency?

The cost of a temporary residency application varies by type or class of status or visa.

The below list describes some common government application fees :

  • A tourist visitor visa costs $100.00 CAD per applicant. Discounts or capped fees may be available for certain eligible groups or families.
  • A business visitor visa costs $100.00 CAD per applicant. Discounts or capped fees may be available for certain eligible groups.
  • An application to extend your stay in Canada as a visitor costs $100.00 CAD per applicant. Discounts or capped fees may be available for certain eligible groups.
  • A student visa, Study Permit or Study Permit extension costs $150.00 CAD per applicant.
  • A work visa, Work Permit or Work Permit extension costs $155.00 CAD per applicant. Discounts or capped fees may be available for certain eligible groups of workers coming to work for the same employer.

There may also be government application fees for certain incidental temporary residency application services, such as biometrics, employer compliance, or temporary foreign worker labour market impact assessments. Further, some applicants may be expected to pay fees for required documentation or examinations, such as immigration medical examinations, police criminal records reports, or other records or reports.

Some visa application types are exempt from fees.


Am I eligible for temporary residency for Canada?

In order to determine your eligibility, immigration officers or visa officers may examine a number of factors to assess the likelihood that you will comply with the terms and conditions of your temporary stay, and whether you are eligible for the type or class of status or visa for which you have applied. This may include assessing whether you are likely to leave Canada by the end of the temporary period authorized for your stay, whether you have sufficient funds to support your stay or afford a ticket to leave Canada, whether you have strong ties to your country of origin or permanent residence, including your current employment, job prospects and family ties, and whether you have a legitimate temporary purpose or intent, such as to tour, conduct business, engage in short term work, studies or other permitted activities in Canada. Other factors may also be considered by the visa officer.

Almost anyone can apply for temporary residency status or a temporary resident visa for Canada. However, there are some exceptions, including persons who have been statutorily barred from applying, such as persons who recently made a refugee claim and are either awaiting a decision or were recently refused, persons who are required by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) to apply for and obtain Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) before applying for a visa, persons who have been found to have misrepresented on a prior application in the past 5 years, or, in the case of persons applying for temporary residency status in the worker class or student class, persons who have worked or studies without authorization in the past 6 months.


What documents do I need to apply for temporary residency for Canada?

Generally, all applicants require a valid passport or travel document that will be valid for the entire period of the intended temporary stay in Canada or any extension to it. Other required documentation will be dependent on the type or class of temporary residency for which you are applying, your country of origin or permanent residence, or the local visa office or VAC requirements. Supporting documentation may include: letters of invitation from Canadian citizens, businesses or institutions, proof of financial ability to support your stay and its purpose, such as bank account balance records, proof of employment, proof of a job offer, proof of studies, proof of acceptance or admittance into a program of study, education records, work history records, national identification cards, proof of property ownership in your country of origin or permanent residence, proof of family or other close relations in your country of origin or permanent residence, or other proof that you will comply with the temporary terms and conditions of your stay and the meet eligibility parameters of your type or class of temporary residency.

Additionally, applicants may also be required to provide biometrics, including fingerprinting and retinal eye scans, medical examination reports or police records checks.

Other documents may also be requested by the immigration or visa officer.

The list of documentation noted here is not intended to be exhaustive. It is recommended that you consult the document checklist for the visa office and with an immigration lawyer to determine what documents you may need to apply for temporary residency for Canada.

Failure to provide all required documentation or information may result in the refusal of your visa application, a finding of not being truthful or forthright, a finding of misrepresentation, or another negative finding that may limit your ability to apply for or obtain temporary residency for Canada in the future.  


I was refused a temporary residency application for Canada. Can I appeal the decision or apply again?

It is recommended that you consult with an immigration lawyer if you have been refused or denied an application for temporary residency to Canada.

Appealing a refusal: An application for temporary residency made outside of Canada can be appealed or contested in at least two ways: by submitting a request for reconsideration to the visa office, or by initiating an Application for Leave and for Judicial Review (JR) in the Federal Court of Canada (FCC).  

Reconsideration request: A request for reconsideration must usually be made directly to the temporary residency processing office which refused the application or to Case Management Branch and must be made shortly after you receive the refusal decision. Delays in submitting a request for reconsideration may result in the request being ignored or the documentation upon which the decision was based being archived or destroyed. Furthermore, requests for reconsideration made after a long passage of time may result in the presumption of a change in circumstances and the information or documentation which was submitted may no longer be considered reliable or indicative of a person’s eligibility for their type or class of temporary residency.

Application for Leave and for Judicial Review: If the refusal decision was made outside of Canada, an Application for JR must usually be made within 60 days of receipt of the decision. If the refusal decision was made inside of Canada, an Application for JR must usually be made within 15 days of receipt of the decision.

Re-applying for temporary residency: Persons who have been refused an application for temporary residency can also typically apply again with new or additional documentation or information at any time. There is typically no waiting period required by law.  

However, there are some exceptions. Persons who have been found to have misrepresented are barred from applying for a visa for 5 years. Persons who have been found to have committed certain violations of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) may be required to apply for and obtain Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) before they may be permitted to apply for a visa to Canada. Persons who have been found criminally inadmissible to Canada may have to apply for and obtain Criminal Rehabilitation before they may be permitted to apply for a visa to Canada. Persons who have engaged in unauthorized work or study in Canada may be ineligible from applying for temporary residency in the worker or student class until a period of 6 months has passed since they have ceased their unauthorized work or study in Canada.


Do I need temporary residency if I have a Temporary Resident Visa for Canada?

A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) does not confer temporary residency status in Canada. In most cases, the period, terms and conditions of a foreign national’s temporary residency status is initially determined at a port-of-entry into Canada by an immigration officer of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Extensions to temporary residency status are determined by an immigration officer of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) located at in a Case Processing Centre in Canada. In both cases, foreign nationals must make an application for temporary resident status, either verbally as in the case of an application made upon entry to a CBSA officer or in writing on-line (electronically) or by paper to a Case Processing Officer of IRCC as in the case of an application for an extension to your temporary residency status.

Additionally, if you have written authorization of temporary residency in Canada, such as a Visitor Record, Work Permit, Study Permit or Temporary Resident Permit, you are not necessarily authorized to travel to Canada. A Visitor Record, Work Permit, Study Permit, or Temporary Resident Permit is not valid for travel to Canada. In most cases, persons who needed a visa to initially travel to Canada must also have a valid Temporary Resident Visa to return to Canada.

Some exceptions include American citizens, persons who are exempt from the requirement of obtaining a visa and, if they intend to travel by air, possess a valid electronic travel authorization (eTA), or persons who have valid temporary status in Canada and have travelled solely to the United States from Canada and are returning to Canada within the period initially authorized for their stay.


Can you conduct a temporary residency assessment for me?

Mandelbaum Immigration Lawyers can conduct a temporary residency assessment for you. Simply provide us with your name, email address and phone number by filling out our comment card, or by emailing us at info@dmandelbaum.com, and our office will contact you to arrange a consultation with a lawyer.