Expiry of visa versus expiry of status - what is the difference?

Published August 5, 2016

Many individuals visiting Canada become confused about dates on their immigration documents. They see dates on their Canadian visitor visa (also known as a temporary resident visa, or TRV), and a stamp in their passport (stamped by a CBSA border officer) with an entirely different date. 

This confusion can sometimes lead people to overstay in Canada beyond the period legally authorized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 

To better understand the difference, it is first important to note that IRCC divides temporary residents (i.e. visitors) into two categories:

  1. Individuals from visa-exempt countries, and
  2. Individuals from visa-requiring countries

For list of countries and the entry requirements, click here.

As of fall 2016, if you are travelling by air from a visa-exempt country, you will be required to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization, or eTA, prior to entering Canada. If you are from a visa-exempt country travelling by land and water, you will not need an eTA.

However, if you are from a visa-requiring country, you must have a valid TRV to enter Canada. Those from visa-requiring countries must apply for a TRV at the appropriate visa office prior to entering Canada. The purpose of a TRV is to allow you to enter Canada.  

Once issued, a TRV contains various details, including the place the visa was issued, the date the visa was issued, and the expiry date. The expiry date on the TRV is the date by which the visa must be used to seek admission into Canada. If you do not enter Canada before the date of expiry of the TRV, the visa is no longer valid, and you must apply for a new TRV. The date on the TRV is not the duration of authorized stay. 

A visa office may also issue you a multiple entry visa. If you are issued a multiple entry visa, you may enter and leave Canada for six months at a time, without having to apply for a new visa to enter Canada for each visit. A multiple entry visa may be valid for up to 10 years. The date of expiry on this visa is the date of expiry of the multiple entry visa. If the multiple entry visa is expired, you must apply for, and be issued, a new visa in order to enter Canada.

So, what about the date stamp in the passport? 

When a border officer grants entry into Canada, the officer typically stamps the passport to indicate the date by which you must leave Canada. In most cases, the stamp will indicate that you can stay in Canada for six months. However, the officer may allow you to stay longer or less than six months, depending on your reason for your visit.  

For more information, please visit IRCC's policy guidelines, here