February 24, 2024

Can I Travel Outside Canada After Applying for a Work Permit Extension?

Traveling abroad is an enriching experience, but the question of re-entry can be particularly complex for foreign nationals holding Canadian work permits. This is especially true during the period when a work permit extension application is in process. Navigating potential scenarios and understanding re-entry requirements are crucial aspects for anyone considering travel during this specific timeframe.

The Freedom to Leave, But Not Guaranteed Re-Entry as a Worker

The good news is that, unlike some situations, applying for a work permit extension does not prevent you from leaving Canada. You are free to travel outside the country and, upon return, attempt to re-enter. However, it's important to understand that re-entry does not automatically guarantee permission to continue working in Canada.

Three Possible Scenarios at Re-Entry

Three crucial possibilities exist when attempting to re-enter Canada after applying for a work permit extension:

1. Re-entry as a Visitor:

While your extension remains under review, immigration officers might allow you to re-enter solely as a visitor. This means you cannot legally work in Canada until a decision is made on your extension application. Additionally, you may be asked to present proof of sufficient financial resources to support yourself during your time in Canada as a visitor.

2. Request to Apply for a New Work Permit:

In some cases, you may be advised to apply for a new work permit at the port of entry upon your return. The processing timescale for receiving and finalizing this new permit application remains unclear from official sources. It's uncertain whether you can immediately resume work while the new application is reviewed, or if you need to wait for official approval.

3. Re-entry as a Worker:

In the most favourable scenario, the immigration officer reviewing your case may recognize that your work permit extension was granted while you were outside Canada. This allows you to re-enter the country with your work status intact.

Essential Re-entry Requirements for Work Permit Holders

While leaving and re-entering Canada freely with a valid work permit is generally permitted, specific re-entry requirements must be met:

  1. Valid Work Permit: This is the cornerstone of your legal status to work in Canada.
  2. Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA): These documents authorize your entry into Canada.

Important Note: Having an eTA or TRV doesn't guarantee re-entry into Canada. The final decision rests with the IRCC officer at the port of entry.

Understanding Visitor Visas and eTAs

Eligibility for eTAs and TRVs differs based on your residency status as a visa-exempt or visa-required country citizen.

Visa-Exempt Countries:

Citizens of such countries require a valid passport and an eTA obtained during the initial work permit approval. This eTA, however, is only relevant for air travel; no eTA is necessary for re-entry via land, water, or train.

Visa-Required Countries:

If you're from a visa-required country, a valid visitor visa alongside your work permit is mandatory for returning to Canada to work. While a valid visa isn't needed if you are directly returning from specific territories like the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon, it becomes obligatory if your visitor visa has expired or allows only a single entry. In such cases, reapplying for a visitor visa becomes obligatory. Alternatively, you can utilize a valid visitor visa for re-entry until it expires, regardless of travel mode (air, land, water, or train).

eTA Availability for Certain Visa-Required Countries:

Citizens from qualifying visa-required countries might receive an eTA during work permit renewal. This eTA comes with a five-year validity period or can last until your passport expires, whichever comes first. However, it is only useful for air travel to or through Canada, not for land crossings.

Additional Considerations

  1. Consult an immigration lawyer: While this blog aims to provide general information, consulting an immigration lawyer familiar with your specific situation is highly recommended.
  2. Maintain updated documentation: Ensure your passport and any necessary travel documents (visitor visa or eTA) are valid throughout your intended travel period.
  3. Plan for potential delays: Consider potential delays due to the ongoing pandemic or processing time for your work permit extension application. Factor these delays into your travel planning.


Understanding your travel options and fulfilling re-entry requirements are crucial considerations while your work permit extension application is ongoing. While travel can be enjoyable, prioritizing re-entry with an uninterrupted ability to work necessitates cautious planning and adherence to relevant regulations. Always seek professional guidance from an immigration lawyer for specific advice pertinent to your circumstances.

Seeking Expert Guidance for Your Canadian Immigration Journey?

Pelican Migration Consultants, leading immigration consultants in Dubai, can offer invaluable assistance throughout your Canadian immigration process. Our team of experienced professionals possesses a deep understanding of Canadian immigration regulations and procedures, including navigating complexities surrounding work permit extensions and re-entry.

We offer comprehensive support services, including:

  1. Assessing your eligibility for Canadian immigration programs.
  2. Guiding you through the application process, ensuring proper documentation and adherence to deadlines.
  3. Providing ongoing support and communication throughout your journey.

If you're considering migrating to Canada and require expert guidance, contact Pelican Migration Consultants today. We can help you navigate the immigration process seamlessly and increase your chances of success. Contact us for a free consultation and discuss your Canadian immigration aspirations.