Canadian Temporary Resident Status
Written by Henry J. Chang
Updated April 30, 2011
According to Section 29 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act ("IRPA"), a temporary resident (which includes a visitor, student, and temporary worker) is authorized to enter and remain in Canada on a temporary basis as a visitor or as a holder of a temporary resident permit (described below), subject to the other provisions of the IRPA. A temporary resident must comply with any conditions imposed under the regulations and with any requirements under the IRPA, must leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for their stay and may reenter Canada only if their authorization provides for reentry.
As stated above, the term "temporary resident" not only includes visitors but also temporary workers and students as well. However, in most cases, these temporary workers and students must also obtain work permits or study permits prior to engaging in work or study. These permits allow the person to work or study while in Canada, but do not themselves grant admission or status. A discussion of work permits and student permits is outside the scope of this article.
Temporary Resident Permits for Persons Who Are Inadmissible or Otherwise Ineligible
There are situations where a foreign national is not entitled to enter as a temporary resident because he or she is inadmissible or otherwise fails to meet the requirements of the IRPA. In such situations, it is still possible to enter Canada as a temporary resident provided that the foreign national is issed a temporary resident permit (formerly known as a "Minister's Permit").
According to Subsection 24(1) of the IRPA, a foreign national who is inadmissible or does not meet the requirements of the IRPA may still become a temporary resident if the officer believes that it is justified under the circumstances and issues a temporary resident permit, which may be cancelled at any time.
According to Section 63 of the IRPR, a temporary resident permit is valid until any one of the following events occurs:
Requirement of a Temporary Resident Visa
Unless exempt from visa requirements, Section 7 of the IRPR states that a foreign national may not enter Canada to remain on a temporary basis without first obtaining a temporary resident visa (i.e. a visa stamp placed into the foreign national's passport of travel document). According to Section 179 of the IRPR, a temporary resident visa will be issued to a foreign national if, following an examination, it is established that the foreign national:
- A permit is cancelled under Subsection 24(l) of the IRPA;
- The permit holder leaves Canada without obtaining prior authorization to reenter Canada;
- The period of validity specified on the permit expires; or
- A period of three years elapses from its date of validity.
Exemptions from Temporary Resident Visa Requirements
Exemptions Based on Nationality
According to Subsection 190(1) of the IRPR, the following foreign nationals do not require a temporary resident visa to enter Canada:
- Has applied in accordance with the IRPR for a temporary resident visa as a member of the visitor, worker, or student class;
- Will leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for their stay;
- Holds a passport of other document that they may use to enter the country that issued it or another country;
- Meets the requirements applicable to that class;
- Is not inadmissible; and
- Meets the medical examination requirements contained in Section 30 of the IRPR.
Exemptions Based on Documents
According to Subsection 190(2) of the IRPR, The following foreign nationals do not require a temporary resident visa to enter Canada:
- Citizens of Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel (National Passport holders only), Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Republic of Korea, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Slovenia, or Switzerland, and Western Samoa;
- British citizens and British Overseas Citizens who are re-admissible to the United Kingdom;
- Citizens of British dependent territories who derive their citizenship through birth, descent, registration or naturalization in one of the British dependent territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena or the Turks and Caicos Islands; and
- Nationals of the United States or persons lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence.
Exemptions Based on Nationality and Documents
According to Subsection 190(2.1) of the IRPR, a foreign national who is a citizen of Lithuania or Poland does not require a temporary resident visa if they hold a machine readable passport that contains a contactless integrated circuit chip and that is issued by Lithuania or Poland.
Exemptions Based on Purpose of Entry
In addition, Subsection 190(3) of the IRPR provides for exemptions from the temporary resident visa requirement based on the purpose of entry. A foreign national does not require a temporary resident visa if they are seeking to enter and remain in Canada solely:
- Persons holding a passport that contains a diplomatic acceptance, a consular acceptance, or an official acceptance issued by the Chief of Protocol for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on behalf of the Government of Canada and are a properly accredited diplomat, consular officer, representative, or official of a country other than Canada, of the United Nations or any of its agencies, or of any international organization of which Canada is a member;
- Persons holding passports or travel documents issued by the Holy See;
- Persons holding a national Israeli passport;
- Persons holding a valid and subsisting Special Administrative Region passport issued by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China; or
- Persons who hold a British National (Overseas) Passport issued by the Government of the United Kingdom to persons born, naturalized, or registered in Hong Kong; and
- Persons who hold an ordinary passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan that includes the personal identification number of the individual.
As stated above, the requirement of medical examinations appears in Section 30 of the IRPR. This requirement is summarized below.
Six Months or Less
Foreign nationals intending to remain in Canada for six months or less as temporary residents are generally not required to have a medical examination.
More Than Six Months
A medical examination is required for foreign nationals who:
- Subject to an agreement between Canada and one or more foreign countries respecting the obligation to hold such a visa:
- To work as a member of a crew of a means of transportation, other than a vessel bound for Canada or in Canada; or
- To transit through Canada after working, or to work, as a member of a crew of a means of transportation other than a vessel, if they possess a ticket for departure from Canada within 24 hours after their arrival in Canada;
- To transit through Canada as a passenger on a flight stopping in Canada for the sole purpose of refuelling and:
- They are in possession of a visa to enter the United States and their flight is bound for that country, or
- They were lawfully admitted to the United States and their flight originated in that country;
- To transit through Canada as a passenger on a flight if the foreign national:
- Is transported by a commercial transporter and there is a memorandum or understanding in effect between the Minister of Immigration and the commercial transporter concerning the transit of passengers through Canada without a Canadian visa;
- Holds a passport or travel document that was issued by the country of which the foreign national is a citizen or national and that country is listed in the memorandum of understanding; and
- Is in possession of any visa required to enter the country of destination;
- To carry out official duties as a member of the armed forces or a country that is a designated state for the purposes of the Visiting Forces Act, unless they have been designated under that Act as a civilian component of those armed forces;
- To come to Canada from the United States for an interview with a United States consular officer concerning a United States immigrant visa, if they establish that they will be re-admitted to the United States;
- To reenter Canada following a visit solely to the United States or St. Pierre or Miquelon, if they:
- Held a study permit or work permit that was issued before they left Canada on such a visit or were authorized to enter and remain in Canada as a temporary resident; and
- Return to Canada by the end of the period initially authorized for their stay and any extension to it;
- To conduct inspections of the flight operation procedures or cabin safety of a commercial air carrier operating international flights, if they are a civil aviation inspector of a national aeronautical authority and possess valid documentation to that effect;
- To participate as an accredited representative or as an adviser to an aviation accident or incident investigation conducted under the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act, if they possess valid documentation to that effect; or
- As a member of a crew and who is carried to Canada by a vessel if they are seeking:
- To enter Canada as a member of the crew of the vessel; and
- To remain in Canada solely as a member of the crew of that vessel or any other vessel.
Occupations Where the Protection of Public Health is Essential
Regardless of the intended period of stay in Canada, a foreign national who is seeking to work in Canada in an occupation in which the protection of public health is essential will require a medical examination. These occupations include:
- Are seeking entry into Canada or applying for a renewal or their work or study permit or authorization to remain in Canada as a temporary resident for a period in excess of six consecutive months, including an actual or proposed period of absence from Canada of less than 14 days, and
- Has resided or sojourned for six or more consecutive months in a designated country/territory (an area that has been determined to have a higher incidence of serious communicable disease than Canada) during the one year immediately preceding the date of seeking entry to Canada.
Designated Medical Practitioner
Where a medical examination is required, it must be performed by a Designated Medical Practitioner.
Admission as a Temporary Resident
According to Section 180 of the IRPR, a foreign national is not authorized to enter and remain in Canada as a temporary resident unless, following an examination, it is established that the foreign national and his or her accompanying family members: (a) met the requirements for issuance of their temporary resident visa at the time it was issued, and (b) continue to meet these requirements at the time of the examination on entry into Canada.
Maintenance of Status as a Temporary Resident
According to Section 183 of the IRPR, the following conditions are imposed on all temporary residents:
- Those which bring the incumbent into close contact (more than three hours per day and/or risk of exchange of body fluids) with people, namely:
- Workers in the health sciences field, including staff and employees, clinical laboratory workers, patient attendants in nursing and geriatric homes, medical students admitted to Canada to attend university, medical electives and physicians on short-term locums;
- Teachers of primary or secondary schools or other teachers of small children;
- Workers who give in home care to children, the elderly and the disabled; and
- Day nursery employees.
- Agricultural workers from designated countries/territories.
Initial Period of Stay
The authorized period of stay of a temporary resident is six months or any other lesser period that is fixed by an officer on the basis of:
- To leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for their stay;
- To not work, unless authorized to do so; and
- To not study, unless authorized to do so.
Extensions of Stay
According to Section 181 of the IRPR, a foreign national may apply for an extension of their authorization to remain in Canada as a temporary resident if: (a) the extension application is made on or before the end of the period authorized for their stay, and (b) they have complied with all the conditions imposed on their entry into Canada. The officer will extend the foreign national's authorization to remain in Canada as a temporary resident if, following an examination, it is established that the foreign national continues to meet the requirements of Section 179 of the IRPR (discussed above).
According to Section 183 of the IRPR, if the temporary resident has applied for an extension of the period authorized for his or her stay and a decision has not been made on the application by the end of the prior authorized period, the authorized period is deemed extended until:
- The temporary resident's means of support in Canada;
- The period for which the temporary resident applies to stay; and
- The expiry of the temporary resident's passport or other travel document.
If the period authorized for the stay of a temporary resident is extended, the temporary resident retains their status, subject to any other conditions imposed, during the extended period.
Restoration of Temporary Resident Status
Where a visitor, worker, or student loses temporary resident status for failing to comply with a conditions imposed upon his or her status, the foreign national may, within 90 days, file an application for restoration of such status. An officer shall restore that status if, following an examination, it is established that the visitor, worker, or student meets the initial requirements for their stay and has not failed to comply with any other conditions imposed. However, restoration is permitted only in cases where the temporary resident failed to comply with:
- If the application is refused, the day on which the decision is made; or
- If the application is approved, the end of the new period authorized for his or her stay.
Dual Intent for Temporary Residents
According to Section 22 of the IRPA, an intention by a foreign national to become a permanent resident does not preclude them from becoming a temporary resident if the officer is satisfied that he or she will leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for his or her stay.
- The period of authorized stay;
- In the case of a temporary worker: (i) the type of work, (ii) the employer, or (iii) the location of work;
- In the case of a student, (i) the type of studies or course, (ii) the educational institution, (iii) the location of the studies, or (iv) the times or periods of the studies.