Have you overstayed your temporary student or work visa and are wondering what steps you can take next? While remaining in Canada on an expired visa is not recommended, there are things you can do to have your temporary status restored, provided you act quickly.
Here’s everything you need to know about status restoration, including eligibility, the application process, the expected timeline, and important information on continuing to work or study while you wait.
What Happens When My Temporary Status Expires?
When your temporary resident status expires, and you have not already applied for an extension, all activities allowed under your visa must cease immediately. You cannot continue to work or study on an expired visa; continuing to do so violates Canadian immigration laws and could have serious consequences, including eliminating your ability to become a permanent resident in the future.
Further, all benefits tied to your temporary permits expire with your permit. This includes access to provincially funded healthcare, your Social Insurance Number, and your temporary resident status.
Temporary residents who apply for an extension before their current permit expires may be able to continue with regular activities under Maintained Status, formerly implied status.
Who Can Apply for Restoration of Status?
To avoid any disruption to your studies or ability to work, you must apply for an extension of your permit 3 to 4 months before it expires. However, if your temporary permit has expired, you may be eligible to apply for restoration of status. You have up to 90 days post expiration to apply for restoration of status, provided your situation hasn’t changed and you have not violated any other conditions of your permit.
You may only apply for a restoration of status for the same permit as the one you held previously. If you were in Canada on a student permit, you must apply for a student permit; if you were on a work permit, you must apply for a work permit. The only condition you may be allowed to modify is your program of study (student) or your employer (worker).
How do I Apply for Restoration of Status?
You can apply for a restoration of status online or work with an immigration consultant. There is a $200 fee for restoration of status in addition to the cost of the permit extension. When submitting your application, you will be asked to provide a detailed explanation for why you remained in Canada after your permit expired and information about what you have been doing since.
You can only apply for restoration of status from within Canada, and you must remain in Canada until a decision is reached. If your permit expires while you are out of the country, you will have to apply for a new permit.
Applications must be submitted no later than 90 days after your permit has expired, and acceptance is not guaranteed. It is very important that you do not continue to work or study on an expired permit, as this may affect your chances of receiving a restoration of status.
How Long Will It Take to Have My Status Restored?
Applications for restoration of status are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and are ineligible for accelerated processing. In some instances, it may take several months to receive a response, and during that time, you are not allowed to continue to study or work, although you are allowed to stay in Canada.
It is crucial that you fill out the restoration of status application form carefully and completely. If there are any issues with your application, it will either be rejected or sent back as “incomplete.” Applicants who receive an incomplete have to opportunity to correct their submission. However, their previous application is regarded as never submitted, and the revised application must still be delivered within the original 90-day deadline.
Because applications for restoration of status are extremely time-sensitive, many applicants choose to work with an immigration consultant to ensure their applications are submitted on time and without missing information or errors.
Alternatively, some temporary residents choose to return to their native country and reapply for their student or work permit from there.