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Applying for Permanent Residence When You’re Out of Status

Published on: April 30th, 2018

If you’ve lost your immigration status in Canada, it may feel like you’re out of options. However, there are opportunities available for out-of-status temporary residents to become Canadian permanent residents.

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What does it mean to be out of status?

Having status means that a person is legally allowed to be in Canada. A person may have temporary resident status if they have permission to remain in the country temporarily but have not been granted permanent residency. Temporary resident status is given by a work or study permit, a visa, or a stamp in a passport.

Permits and visas will state when they expire. If you have one of these documents, then you have temporary status in Canada until the date specified on your document.

Staying beyond the date when status ends is an offense under Canadian immigration law. If a person has not applied to extend their stay in Canada before their status expires, they are expected to leave the country.

If your temporary resident status has expired and you want to remain in Canada, your first step of action should always be to apply for a restoration of status. You must apply for restoration within 90 days of your status expiry date.

If it has been more than 90 days since your temporary status expired, you have very limited options to remain in Canada.


One of the few options available to people who are out of status is spousal sponsorship. Someone who is living with their Canadian spouse or common-law partner can be sponsored for permanent residence.

Just like any application under spousal sponsorship, the partners in the relationship must be able to prove to immigration officials that their relationship is real. The relationship must meet the legal requirements that define marriage or common-law partnerships.

Express Entry

Some candidates in the federal Express Entry pool are temporary foreign workers or students in Canada. It’s possible that their temporary status may expire while they wait in the pool to receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence.

If this happens, it’s likely that the candidate’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score will drop. However, the candidate’s profile will remain active in the pool, even if their status has expired.

As long as you apply to restore your status within 90 days and comply with the conditions and restrictions on your status, such as not working or leaving the country if your application is refused, there should be no real impact on your Express Entry file.

Maintained Status: If your temporary status has expired, but you already applied for an extension or new status, then you have maintained status while that application is being processed. This means that you can work under the conditions of your previous status while waiting for your new application to finish processing.

Overstayed status in another country

If you are out of status in another country, like the United States, you shouldn’t worry about it affecting your Canadian permanent residence application. However, it could negatively impact any application you make for temporary residence in Canada.

IRCC officers evaluate temporary residence applications to decide whether or not the applicant meets the criteria for the permit, and whether or not they are likely to comply with the conditions of their stay. In other words, how likely it is that you will leave the country once your status expires.

If you are already overstaying your status in another country, the visa officer could have reason to believe that you will overstay in Canada and may refuse your application.

When applying for permanent residence, on the other hand, you must show that you intend to reside in Canada, not that you plan on leaving after a certain amount of time. So, unless there is criminality involved in your lack of status, it most likely will not be taken into consideration in your permanent residence application.


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