An electronic travel authorization, or eTA, makes it easier for you to travel to Canada. However, it doesn’t grant you indefinite permission to stay in the country. If you find yourself in Canada after your permission to stay has expired, you may be able to get an extension if you act promptly.
How long can I stay in Canada on an eTA?
Most travellers who enter Canada using eTAs are visitors from visa-exempt countries. As nationals of visa-exempt countries, they are typically allowed to stay in Canada for up to six months. However, this can vary depending on the individual. A border services officer may limit the amount of time you can spend in Canada when you enter the country. For instance, if you are re-entering Canada after only a short absence, the border services officer may choose not to extend you another six months. If your stay in Canada is limited to less than the usual six months, you’ll be notified, either by having the end date of your stay added to your passport or by a separate document.
What happens if I exceed my stay in Canada?
Wherever possible, you should avoid exceeding the time allotted for your stay in Canada. Leaving on time is the easiest way to make sure that your future trips to the country go smoothly, and the fact that you were able to get an eTA suggests that you should be able to get one in the future or even travel again on the same one. Making a second trip at a later time may be less convenient than just staying longer, but it will help preserve your ability to travel to Canada.
However, sometimes you may be unable to leave the country on your scheduled date. Perhaps an illness or injury prevents you from travelling, or an accident causes you to miss your flight. There are multiple reasons for being unable to leave Canada on your scheduled departure date. However, they all have one thing in common: the longer you wait to deal with them, the more likely there are to be consequences for you.
What can I do if I overstay on my Canada eTA?
What exactly you can do next depends on the circumstances of your overstay. No matter what, you should contact an immigration lawyer as soon as possible; they will be able to advise you on how to proceed. If you’ve overstayed your time in Canada by less than 90 days, you may be able to apply to have your visitor status restored. You’ll need to complete a form IMM 5708. When filling out the form, choose the “restore my status as a visitor” option in section 3. You’ll then need to explain the circumstances that led to you overstaying your permission to be in Canada; this explanation will help determine whether you’ll be permitted to extend your stay. You’ll also have to pay the restoration fee using a credit or debit card.
Even if you complete a form IMM 5708 within 90 days of exceeding your stay, there’s no guarantee that your application will be approved. You should never count on being able to extend your stay after overstaying; extensions are typically reserved for genuine emergencies. If your application is rejected, you’ll be required to leave Canada and are likely to suffer long-term limits to your ability to travel to the country.
If you know in advance that you’re not going to be able to leave Canada on your scheduled departure date, you have a better option available to you. You can apply in advance to have your stay extended, which may allow you to remain in the country legally. You’ll need to apply online for a visitor record, and you should do so at least 30 days before the end of your stay if possible. A late application means that you may not receive a response before your permitted stay ends.
What are the consequences for overstaying in Canada on an eTA?
If you spend too long in Canada, there may be consequences that will affect your future ability to travel to the country. Normally, an eTA lasts for five years and is good for multiple visits to Canada. However, if you overstay, your eTA will be revoked and you will not be able to use it again. Additionally, you will no longer be able to apply for an eTA, meaning that you will need to apply for a visa to enter Canada even if you would normally not be required to. Applying for a visa won’t be easy; would-be visitors who have previously overstayed are likely to have their visa applications denied.
Given these serious consequences, it’s best not to stay in Canada longer than the length of time you’re permitted to visit. If circumstances change, a timely application to extend your stay is much more likely to be effective than waiting until after your stay is over to apply for an extension. However, if you do have to apply to have your visitor status restored after overstaying, the highest chance of success comes from applying as soon as possible with the help of an experienced immigration lawyer.