How to Get Maintained Status
If a visitor, student, or foreign worker applies to extend his or her status before that status expires, he or she can legally remain in Canada until a decision is made on the application. In this situation, the person has maintained status.
If their application is still processing when the previous permit expires, they can still remain in Canada under the same conditions of their previous permit until they receive a decision on their application.
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Under Canadian law, all temporary residents have an automatically imposed condition that they have to leave Canada by the end of their authorized period of stay. However, temporary residents can apply to extend their period of authorized stay before the period ends. Assuming they do so, Canadian law states their period of authorized stay as a temporary resident is automatically extended until a decision is made on their application.
If a temporary resident applies for a renewal of their work or study permit before their existing permit expires, they are authorized to work or study in Canada without a permit under the same conditions until a decision is made on their application and as long as they remain in Canada.
For example, a temporary worker who submits an application to extend his or work permit before it expires can remain in Canada and continue working while awaiting a decision. However, if the temporary worker has applied for a different type of permit — for example, a study permit — he or she must cease working on the date his or her current permit expires.
If the application is approved, the individual (and his or her family, if applicable) may remain in Canada under the conditions of the new permit. The new permit will state the date of issue. This may mean that there is a period between the expiry of one permit and the issue of the next permit. However, this should not pose a problem if the individual should later apply for permanent residence as it is accepted by immigration officers that this period is covered by maintained status. The permit will generally also state that the holder maintained their status until the new permit was issued.
Date and time of application
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) around the world to make sure that time is equal for all. As such, all applications must be submitted before midnight UTC on the date the applicant's status is set to expire. Applications submitted after midnight UTC on the date of expiry results in the applicant losing their right to maintain their status.
Leaving Canada while on maintained status
It is important to note that maintained status applies only as long as the applicant remains in Canada. If a temporary resident in Canada on maintained status leaves the country, he or she may be permitted to re-enter as a temporary resident Canada if:
- He or she is exempt from the requirement for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV); or
- He or she has a TRV.
However, an individual with maintained status would not be able to resume his or her work or studies (as applicable) until a decision is made on the application for the extension of status. Additionally, he or she may have to provide evidence to the officer at the Port of Entry of sufficient means of financial support while awaiting the decision. It is strongly recommended that anyone under maintained status who leaves Canada brings proof of application for an extension of his or her permit.
In effect, an individual with maintained status (either to work or study) gives up his or her right to work or study upon leaving Canada, until a decision is made on the application to work or study in Canada.
For example, if a student who has applied to extend his or her study permit leaves Canada, he or she may be able to re-enter the country. However, he or she would then not be able to resume his or her studies until a decision is made on the application. If he or she had remained in Canada on maintained status, he or she could have continued to study in Canada legally.
Frequently Asked Questions
A person can legally remain in Canada under maintained status if their previous permit for temporary stay has expired, but their application for a new permit is underway. maintained status permits the individual, and his or her family if applicable, to continue living in Canada under the conditions of the expired permit until a decision is made on the application. This generally applies to individuals or families who have applied for an extension of their work permit, study permit, or visitor visa.
No. An individual or family who has applied for an extension of a previous permit automatically obtains maintained status upon the expiration of the previous permit, while awaiting a decision on the application.
The individual or family may remain on maintained status until a decision is made on the application.
If a temporary worker applies for a work permit extension for the same employer before the expiration of the previous permit, he or she may continue working under the conditions of the previous permit. That means that he or she may still work for the same employer. However, if he or she has applied for a work permit for a different employer, he or she must cease working when the permit expires and await the decision on the application.
If a student applies for a study permit extension before the expiration of the previous permit, he or she can continue studying under the conditions of the previous permit. However, if he or she has applied for a study permit for a different institution, he or she must cease studying when the permit expires and await the decision on the application.
If an application is refused while the applicant is on maintained status, the applicant will be out of status in Canada. Depending on the situation, the individual may be able to apply for restoration of status.
People who leave Canada while on maintained status may be able to re-enter Canada as temporary residents if they have a multiple-entry visa, or if they are temporary resident visa (TRV)-exempt. If someone from a country that requires a TRV leaves Canada to visit the United States or St Pierre and Miquelon only, he or she is considered TRV-exempt and can return to Canada as a temporary resident.
However, individuals on maintained status in Canada cannot resume work or study after leaving and re-entering the country, until the new permit is issued for work or study. That is, if a student leaves Canada while on maintained status and returns to the country before a decision has been made on the application, he or she will not be able to resume studying.
Proof of the application for an extension of a permit is generally accepted as proof of maintained status. If the application was submitted while the individual's previous permit was valid, the individual remains on maintained status. It is strongly recommended that an individual who leaves Canada while on maintained status carries proof of the submission of the application, to assist with re-entry.
9. If the candidate applied for a different permit, can he or she continue the activities allowed by the previous permit while awaiting a decision on the application?
If a candidate submits an application for a new work permit for a different employer, he or she must stop working when the previous permit expires. He or she must not work while awaiting a decision on the application for the new work permit. Similarly, if a student submits an application for a new study permit for a different institution, he or she must stop studying when the study permit expires and await the new study permit before resuming the studies assigned on the new permit.
10. Will the apparent gap in the dates between two permits affect a future application for a Canadian Permanent Residence visa?
Applicants who have been in Canada on maintained status may have permits that show a gap in the dates between the expiry of the former permit and the issue of the more recent one. However, the renewed permit will generally state that the holder maintained their status until the new permit was issued, thus explaining the gap in dates.
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