Your gateway to Canada


Immigration Newsweek

By Attorney Henry Moyal


Summer is now upon us and this time of year brings thousands of tourists to Canada. We are therefore devoting this article to the flood of inquiries that relate to all matters pertaining to visiting Canada and subsequent to entry.

Q. How can I visit Canada? Where can I obtain a visitor visa?

A. Each applicant must determine firstly whether they require a visa to enter Canada or not. In other words do you need to apply directly at the Canadian Embassy or Consulate to enter Canada or can you just hop on a plane and enter. Citizens of the USA do not need a visa and may enter at a port of entry. Citizens of the Philippines do require a visa prior to arrival and therefore a formal application must first be made at a Canadian consulate or embassy outside of Canada. In the USA, Canadian consulates are situated in Buffalo, Detroit, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Note that if a person is a Philippine Citizen but is a greencard holder in the USA, they do not require a visa.

Q. How long can I stay in Canada?

A. The visa officer at the border or airport will determine the length of time permitted but most of the time the permitted duration upon entry is six months.

Q. Can I stay longer than six months in Canada or can I stay longer than the time initially given at the port of entry?

A. Yes, a person must apply for an extension of his/her visitor status prior to its expiry. This can be done from inside of Canada.

Q. What is required to extend visitor status?

A. The government processing fee is $75 per extension and must be accompanied by a formal application and supporting documents pertaining to the request to extend stay.

Q. What if I forgot to extend my status?

A. It is possible to “ restore” status if a person’s visitor status has already expired. However, the restoration application must be filed within 90 days of original expiry.

Q. Can I get married in Canada as a visitor?

A. Assuming you are free to marry (ie. divorced, widow, single), yes, visitors can marry.

Q. Can I obtain a divorce if I am a visitor?

A. Yes, however under family law you must have been in Canada for at least one year at least.

Q. Can I work while I am a visitor?

A. No. To work a person must hold a work permit.

Q. Can I convert my visitor status to a worker or immigrant while in Canada?

A,. Yes, it is possible but it will depend under which category a person applies under. For example, a visitor who marries a Canadian resident is able to remain in Canada and obtain an immigrant visa while in Canada. A visitor who wishes to work must have a Canadian employer and then a formal work permit application can be filed in USA.

Attorney Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed Immigration Lawyer in Toronto, Ontario. The above article is general advice only and not intended to act as a legal document. Send questions in confidence to Balita or to Attorney Moyal by fax, mail or email