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Overstay in Canada

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

I have overstayed in Canada or another country. What does this mean for my application for permanent residency in Canada?

An overstay occurs when you stay in Canada or another country beyond the validity of your legal status in that country. Most visas have expiration dates indicated on them, and you are expected to have left the country of issue by the time yours is set to expire. However, sometimes things happen and you are not able to leave the country when you should. Once an individual has overstayed a visa, they may face a number of consequences. These can include inadmissibility, a bar to change or extension of status, visa voidance, among others depending on the country of overstay. In addition to the consequences you may face in that country, it may also impact future visas to other countries. An overstay is serious. However, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding an overstay and how it may impact an application for permanent residency in Canada. The goal of this post is to clarify some of these misconceptions and to help you to take the right steps after an overstay.


When an individual applies for a visa for temporary residency one of the requirements is that they will leave at the end of their valid stay. In Canada this is determined on a balance of probabilities and this is one thing that influences a visa officer's positive or negative decision.

In order to demonstrate that on a balance of probabilities you will leave prior to the expiry of your valid status you can submit evidence of a positive travel history and/or ties to your country of residence of citizenship such as a job, property, investments or family, in addition to sufficient funds for your trip and a return ticket that coincides with the dates of your trip.

If you overstay during a temporary residence it has the real possibility of impacting your ability to obtain a visa for a future trip. When you do this you have, for all intents and purposes, breached the country's trust by not doing what you say you are going to do. The country will use this information for future visa requests and will determine then if you will be granted a visa or not.

Temporary residency is dependent on the notion that your stay is temporary. Therefore to maintain the privilege of traveling with this status you must consistently demonstrate that you will abide by the requirements of your visa. If for some reason you do fall out of status you should either leave the country or restore your status. You have 90 days from the time of falling out of status to restore your status. If a restoration is granted then the overstay will no longer be considered a major issue but you will be required to declare it on all future applications and it is possible that it will at some time be viewed negatively by an officer, leading to a negative decision on a visa request.

In contrast, an application for permanent residency is a clear indication that you have no intention of leaving the country. For this reason, an overstay is unlikely to impact a permanent residency application as long as you have been transparent about your overstay and as long as it did not ultimately make you inadmissible to Canada.

If you have had an overstay, have restored status, have been denied a visa, or have been asked to leave another country then you must provide details surrounding this overstay as part of your application for permanent residency in Canada. However, it does not mean your application will be denied, as long as you are truthful about the circumstances of the overstay.

Keep in mind that some overstays are indicated on a criminal record check so be truthful in your application and transparent about the overstay because it will be noted by the officer who will have access to your police clearances. Being truthful is above all the most important thing you can do when you have an overstay or other discrepancy on your application.

For more information about overstays, or your particular immigration situation, please book a consultation at We look forward to speaking with you!


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Immigration Station Canada is a dedicated, professional Canadian Immigration firm practicing out of Northumberland County, just east of Toronto, in Canada. We serve clients from Kingston, Belleville, Brighton, Cobourg, Oshawa, the GTA, Guelph, Milton, Stratford and St. Catharines and around the world. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, Anne C. McCaughey (Annie) is an experienced immigration services provider and a fifth generation Canadian who values the immigration process and the unique individuals who immigrate to Canada to become part of the fabric of this wonderful country. If you would like to submit a question to Ask Annie, use the link located at the top right of the page.

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