Fri | Dec 1, 2023

Immigration Corner | Application to extend time in Canada

Published:Tuesday | November 21, 2023 | 12:05 AM

Dear Miss Powell,

I came across your Facebook page and realised that you answer people’s questions about Canadian immigration. I’m in Canada on a visitor visa to see my husband. He is in Canada on a study permit. The separation has been hard on us, and so I have quit my job to stay with him and help him, as he was struggling without me being by his side to support him. Since being here he has been doing better.

The problem is that it’s coming up to six months, and I don’t want to go back home and leave him. What can I do to stay and continue to help him. I know he can’t sponsor me as he’s a student, but what are our options?


Dear WK,

There are various options for spouses of international students who would like to remain with them in Canada and continue to play a supportive role. You may apply for a spousal work permit, apply to extend your time to remain in Canada as a visitor or as a student beyond the six months that is usually granted upon entering Canada.

The key is that you must apply at least 30 days before the expiry of the visa. If you remain beyond six months before submitting an application and have a valid reason, you will need to do an application to restore your status as a visitor, before you can apply for anything else.The restoration must be submitted within 90 days of losing your status.


To remain in Canada as a visitor or temporary resident permit holder, you cannot work in Canada as a visitor. To extend your time as a visitor you are required to prepare, sign and date an Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Visitor, or Temporary Resident Permit Holder (IMM 5708). Your application must be supported by information such as :

1. Full details of the reason you would like to remain longer.

2. Proof of your identity – such as your passport and stamped pages to show when you entered Canada.

3. Evidence of your financial status. This must show how you will support yourself or be supported in Canada, and how you will pay for transportation to leave Canada. You may provide documents such as a guarantor’s letter, bank statement indicating the account holder’s name and the account number and funds to cover your living expenses.

4. You must also include details about your plans to leave Canada, and provide the date and time of departure and the means of transportation.

The information provided may be verified by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada. You must be truthful and accurate with your application, as any information that contradicts the information you or your husband previously submitted, can be deemed as misrepresentation and you could be faced with a ban from Canada for five years. It is an offence under Section 127 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to knowingly make a false statement on the form.


You may also apply to remain in Canada as a worker. As the spouse of a student already in Canada, you may apply for an open work permit, or if you are able to get a job offer from an employer who has a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment report (LMIA), you may request an employer-specific work permit. If you have a valid job offer, the process would be easier. An LMIA report authorises a Canadian employer to hire an international worker with the government’s authorisation. Once your employer presents you with that report, then you may apply for an employer-specific work permit without having to leave Canada. The key is that you must have the education and work experience to do the required job.


There is the option to remain in Canada a student. The process and documents required will depend on the length of time of the programme or studies. You will need an acceptance letter and proof of the means to pay for and support yourself while also being a student. Based on the information you provided, this may not be most suitable for you, if you plan to continue to be supportive of your husband’s studies, considering that you indicated that he was struggling without your assistance. However, I have provided the information, so that you may use it to guide the discussions with your husband and your immigration lawyer.

If you choose to attend a designated learning institution, you will be permitted to work up to 20 hours per week during the school term and full-time during the holidays, for any employer, without the need for an LMIA report. The rules for working on, or off campus and as a co-op student are different, and so you should also discuss this during your consultation with your lawyer.


Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public in Canada. You may connect with her on Facebook and Instagram. You may also call or WhatsApp 613-695-8777.