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What’s the difference between a visitor visa and a visitor record?

A visitor visa (also known as a temporary resident visa) is an official document citizens from visa-required countries need to get to travel to and enter Canada as a visitor for up to 6 months.

  • We stick the visitor visa in your passport.
    • It shows that you meet the requirements to enter Canada.
  • It includes the date by which you must arrive in Canada.
    • The date is not an expiry date for your stay in Canada.
  • If you apply for a study or work permit for the first time, you’ll automatically get a visitor visa when we approve your application.

A visitor record is a document that a border services officer may issue to you to extend or restrict your stay in Canada. If you want to stay in Canada for more than 6 months, you have to tell the border services officer.

You may also get a visitor record after we approve your application to extend your stay or restore your status. A visitor record is issued either by the Canada Border Services Agency or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

  • You need to apply for a visitor record when:
    • you first arrive at the port of entry and you know you want to stay longer than 6 months; or
    • you’re in Canada and decide you want to stay longer.
      • You must apply at least 30 days before your authorized stay in Canada expires.
  • It’s an independent document (not placed in your passport).
  • It includes an expiry date for your stay in Canada.
    • That’s the date by which you must leave Canada.

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