The process of leading up to the issuance of a visa includes submitting a set of forms, (or often, the same set of forms more than once), then getting those forms reviewed by a visa officer, and being interviewed by a visa officer.  After a normal interview (where the client was usually prepared for the types of questions that arise), a visa is issued.

How long are visas good for?  The answer to this is usually connected to when the medicals were done; medicals are good for one year and the validity of the visa can’t normally go beyond the life of the medical.  I have had a client whose visas were issued with only two months validity (owing to the fact that his medical was done 10 months earlier).

Federal court case law appears to allow a visa officer to extend the validity of a visa as follows:

[8]        In my view, a Visa Officer may re-open a Visa Hearing to extend the date of its effectiveness if it is felt to be in the interest of justice to do in unusual circumstances. The functus officio principle is no bar to this. Of course, there may be imposed certain conditions in appropriate cases concerning fresh medical and/or security reports. It is unduly technical and unnecessarily formal to require an entirely fresh application to be made, given the long waiting lists that exist in many lands. If Parliament wishes otherwise, it is at liberty to amend the statute to make clear that no extension or reconsideration is permitted in cases such as these.

Kheiri v. Canada ( Minister of Citizenship and Immigration ),

(2000-08-29) FC IMM-4178-99 Linden J.

However, as can be seen above (in the phrase ‘unusual circumstances’) there should be good reasons given to a visa officer before she agrees to extend the validity of a permanent resident visa, more than just minor inconvenience.  I have had a client’s visa extended by a visa officer after showing that he was receiving medical treatment in his country of origin that was not yet complete; his health would be compromised if he was to try to use his permanent resident visa before the deadline.  In other words, the case to reopen an expired visa, or extend a soon-to-be-expired visa is more compelling if the reason the visa cannot be used is beyond the control of the visa holder.

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