Can I stay in Canada as a tourist after the Working Holiday?

The Canadian government is very strict and always emphasizes that it is important to maintain legal status in Canada at all times.

If you would like to stay in Canada as a visitor after the Working Holiday work permit, you should apply for a visitor record online and from within Canada. It is the easiest option to extend the stay, but it also costs $100. The good thing, the visitor record will be sent by mail. You no longer have to go to the border.

You have to apply for the visitor record before the expiry of the current status. A helping hand in how to apply > here  

While this application is being processed, you are in maintained visitor status and can stay in the country until a decision has been made. Even if the Working Holiday work permit will expire. You just can’t work anymore!

Many travellers recommend to go to the US border to flagpole and get the visitor record there. Flagpoling is very risky and can end up in rejection or you can only get a visitor record for 2 weeks to have time to pack the things and fly home. There are a lot of reports about this approval of only 2-3 weeks.

What is the difference between 'visitor record' and 'visitor visa'?

This is where the most confusion comes up. The terms have very different meanings and purposes. The main difference:

A visitor record is a document that is issued to extend your stay WITHIN Canada. What many don’t know, it is also a document to restrict your stay in Canada. For example if you travel to Canada as a tourist and the border officer isn’t convinced about your plans in Canada…. they can decide to shorten the stay from the typically allowed 6 months to any other shorter time. For example only 2 months. They will then issue a visitor record for the duration of the approved stay.

visitor visa is a document for citizens from visa-required countries. They need to apply for it BEFORE travelling to Canada.

More information on the explanation >> here <<

Can I not just apply for a new eTA that costs only $7?

Applying for an eTA from within Canada will do nothing. An eTA is only an Electronic Travel Authorization to board a flight to Canada. The eTA will not guarantee you any entry to Canada or will not allow you to stay in Canada. The border officers have to make a decision about your stay and length of stay. 

When do I have to apply for the visitor record at the latest?

The government recommends applying for the visitor record at least 30 days before the current status expires. It is not mandatory, so you can wait until about 7 days before expiration at the latest. Especially if, for example, you are waiting for approval from another work permit.

If you submit the application only 2 days before expiration, you are still within the deadline but I would not recommend it, because the homepage of the government is very glitchy and crashes very often. If you do not submit the application on time, it can become very tight with the maintained status or you can even miss it. 

What happens if I do not apply for the visitor record before the current status expires?

If the current status has expired, you are out of status (illegal) after the expiry date of the work permit and will need to apply for restoration. It then costs $200 to restore the visitor status.

How do I apply for the visitor record?

You can apply via the same GCKey account you used for your Working Holiday application. You can find an extra info post with help >> here << 

Why do I need to provide proof of financial support?

The processing agent will want to see if you have enough money that you can support yourself for xx months without working. They will also make their decision based on the amount of funds you can provide. The more the better. If you would like to stay another 6 months you should show at least $5000 in funds. They must be reflected on your bank account balance. Savings accounts are fine as long as the funds are not locked in investments. The funds must be readily available. 

How long does it take to process the application?

You can view the current processing time >here< on the government’s official website. Usually around 3-4 months.

What if the visitor record application is refused?

You will receive a letter that will tell you that you have to leave Canada by date xxx. At that moment your only option is to leave Canada or apply for the restoration within 90 days (cost $200). 

Can I get the visitor record by e-mail?

No, you must provide a postal address to which the visitor record will be sent.

The visitor record is an official document that looks exactly like your colorful, shiny Working Holiday work permit. You must always keep this document with you and present it on request during checks (also e.g. during police checks). This document proves your legal status in Canada.

What if I am travelling? I can't wait for the visitor record.

You can’t get around providing an address. If you know you still want to travel in the future, apply for the visitor record a lot earlier while you live at the address. Remember, the processing of the application will take about 3 months.

​If you can’t provide an address at all, the only option left is to travel to the United States and re-enter. However, the decision will always be at the discretion of the border officer as to whether they will grant you visitor status for Canada at the border.

Can I leave and re enter Canada with the visitor record?

No, the visitor record is only possible to extend your stay in Canada as a visitor. If you leave Canada, this visitor record is invalid and you will be treated like any other tourist when you re-enter Canada.

Can I leave Canada while the visitor record is still being processed?

Yes you can. But you will lose the maintained status. 

Can I cancel my application if I returned home before the visitor record was processed?

Theoretically you can withdraw the application. I would not recommend doing it though. Why?

You should only cancel the application if you haven’t profited from the maintained status. This means if you applied and the Working Holiday work permit expired so you could use the time in maintained status. If you withdraw the application it can be considered as if the application was never submitted, which means the time after the work permit expiry until your exit out of Canada was an “illegal” status. This illegal status can cause problems when you want to travel to Canada at some point in the future.