Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) 101: What you need to know if you want to visit Canada

Julia Hornstein
Published: August 21, 2023

Canada welcomes millions of temporary residents each year. Unless an individual is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident or from a visa-exempt country, an individual who wants to enter Canada for a temporary purpose must apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).

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A temporary purpose includes tourists, temporary foreign workers (individuals with work permits) and international students (individuals with study permits).

The TRV is issued by a Canadian Immigration Visa Office and demonstrates that the holder has satisfied the requirements for admission to Canada as a visitor.

It is important to note that a TRV does not guarantee entry to Canada, nor does it grant temporary resident status in Canada.

What are the requirements for the TRV?

An application for a TRV consists of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) forms. In addition to these forms, applicants must:

  • Pay the applicable processing and biometric collection fee
  • Submit the necessary supporting documents to accompany the application

The documents that may be required for the application include:

  • Photos of your passport
  • Proof of financial support
  • Photocopy of your return ticket or travel itinerary (if applicable)

Required documents may vary depending on the visa office responsible for your country or region.

How long is the TRV valid for?

If there is no stamp, date or document in your passport that indicates an expiry date, your status as a temporary resident will expire six months from the day you arrive in Canada.

What is the multiple entry visa vs the single-entry visa?

The multiple entry visa allows the holder to enter Canada from any country as often as necessary during the visa’s period of validity. It is issued with long-term validity to facilitate entry to Canada for legitimate travellers. This is the standard type of TRV.

The multiple entry visa has a maximum validity date of up to 10 years or 1 month before the expiry date on the travel document.

The single-entry visa is considered when an applicant is participating in a one-time special event in Canada for a short duration. Since the standard is the multiple-entry visa, any single-entry visa issuance requires the officer to provide an explanation for it.

How can you extend your stay?

You may apply online or use a paper application to extend your status as a temporary resident. It is recommended to submit your application for an extended stay in Canada at least 30 days before your status expires.

If your temporary resident status expires after you submit your application for an extension but before you receive a decision on the application, you may remain in Canada under maintained status, which lasts until a decision is made on your application.

Can you study in Canada on a TRV?

In general, international students require a study permit to pursue an educational program in Canada. However, if your program in Canada is less than six months in duration, you do not require a study permit.

If you would like to pursue a program that is longer than six months in duration, you will need to apply to a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada. Once you are admitted in the program, you will have to apply for a study permit.

Can you work in Canada on a TRV?

As a general rule, a foreign national must obtain a work permit in order to work in Canada.

If you have valid temporary resident status, you can apply for a work permit. It is likely that you will have to extend your stay in Canada while you wait for a decision on the work permit application. In other words, you may be in Canada under maintained status as you wait for a decision on your application.

If I am sponsoring my spouse or partner, can they come to Canada on a TRV?

Family members or spouses from visa required countries who have submitted family class permanent residency applications can apply for a TRV to join their sponsor in Canada.

IRCC’s new approach towards spousal TRV applications has led to approvals of more than 98% of applications for spouses and their children so they can be with their families while they await the processing of their PR applications. IRCC says processing times for spousal TRV’s will be 30 days.

Can I enter Canada with a TRV and eventually apply for permanent residence?

Dual intent is when a foreign national has applied or may apply in the future for permanent residence in Canada also applies to enter Canada for a temporary period as a visitor, student or worker.

Having dual intent is legitimate. However, the possibility that you may at some point be approved for permanent residence does not remove your obligation to meet the requirements of a temporary resident, specifically the requirement to leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay.

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