Canada: Canada clarifies travel rule for residents with ‘implied status’

Authorities have clarified that visa-required nationals who have “implied status” based on a pending application to extend their period of authorized stay in Canada may leave the country for the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon without having to obtain a new visa upon return.

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What does the change mean? This option has been available for some time, but Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada recently clarified its policy guidance on the matter. Visa-required residents with implied status who travel to any countries other than the U.S. and St. Pierre and Miquelon still must apply for visas or be in possession of a valid multiple-entry visa before returning to Canada.

  • Implementation time frame: IRCC updated its instructions on June 13.
  • Visas/permits affected: Temporary Resident visas (TRVs).
  • Who is affected: Visa-required residents on implied status while an application to extend their period of authorized stay in Canada is pending.
  • Impact on processing times: Under the policy, affected travelers to the U.S. or St. Pierre and Miquelon save the time it takes to apply for and obtain a visa.

Background: Temporary residents who leave Canada while their extension application is pending generally retain their resident status under "implied status," though entry rules vary depending on whether they are nationals of a visa-exempt or visa-required country. Visa-exempt nationals or those in possession of a valid multiple-entry visa can re-enter Canada without obtaining a new visa; visa-required nationals generally cannot. De Brito v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), a 2003 court decision, however, interpreted immigration regulations to provide an exception to visa-required nationals who traveled solely to the U.S. or St. Pierre and Miquelon. In such instances, authorities have made clear, travelers can re-enter Canada without obtaining a new visa.

The exception only applies to travel to the U.S. or St. Pierre and Miquelon. Those planning travel to other countries should either wait for their work or study permit extensions and, subsequently, new visas to be approved or should plan on applying for a new visa before returning to Canada. They are also reminded that, regardless of whether they are visa-exempt or visa-required nationals, they are not permitted to work or study upon returning until they obtain a new work or study permit. Those who are eligible to do so can apply for work or study permits at points of entry.

BAL Analysis: The change clarifies the travel rules for visa-required temporary residents while awaiting an extension of their permit. The IRCC highly recommends that they be prepared to show documentary proof of their pending application at the point of entry upon returning to Canada. Visa-required temporary residents who have implied status should avoid trips outside of Canada to countries other than the U.S. or St. Pierre and Miquelon or plan to apply for a visa before returning to Canada.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Canada. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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