Permanent Resident Travel Documents

20th Aug 2019 Comments Off on Permanent Resident Travel Documents

Since December 31, 2003, Canadian permanent residents have been required to have either a Permanet Resident Card (a “PR Card“), or a permanent resident travel document (a “PRTD“) to return to Canada aboard a commercial carrier.  A PR Card is a “status document” whereas a PRTD is a “travel document.”

The PR card is the preferred document as it is the official proof of permanent resident status of Canada. Permanent residents who do not have a PR Card, are outside of Canada, and wish to travel commercially back to Canada will need to apply for a PRTD before they can board a flight back to Canada. Without proof of permanent resident status, the Canada Border Services Agency’s Interactive Advance Passenger Information system will impede the permanent resident’s ability to board the airplane to Canada.  This is because s. 31(2)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act states that a permanent resident abroad without a PR Card is presumed to not be a permanent resident.

However, if they apply to a Canadian visa office, permanent residents outside of Canada who do not have valid PR Cards may be issued PRTDs to facilitate their return to Canada.  Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) will only issue PRTDs if they are satisfied that the permanent resident complies with the permanent resident residency obligation or if sufficient humanitarian & compassionate grounds apply.

The refusal of a PRTD can result in the loss of permanent resident status, and can trigger appeal rights to the Immigration Appeal Division.  It is important to note that the grounds of such a loss of permanent residence are the failure to comply with the residency obligation and not general non-compliance.

In certain situations an individual can receive a one-year PR Card if their application for a PRTD is refused and they have an appeal at the Immigration Appeal Division. 

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Abolish PR Cards and Implement a Residency Obligation Amnesty

1st Feb 2016 Comments Off on Abolish PR Cards and Implement a Residency Obligation Amnesty

Permanent residents of Canada are currently required to possess a Permanent Resident Card, commonly referred to as a “PR Card,” in order to board commercial transport to Canada.  Processing times for new PR Cards currently exceed 100 days, and the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) Twitter account recently advised permanent residents seeking to renew their PR Cards to apply 9 months in advance of travel in order to avoid trip disruptions.  Permanent residents are often left stranded abroad, or find themselves stuck in Canada unable to travel internationally, for months. The situation is untenable, and it is time for the Government of Canada to eliminate PR Cards, let permanent residents travel to Canada using the new Electronic Travel Authorization system, and implement a “residency obligation amnesty” until the government develops a better system to track entries and exits to and from Canada.

This will focus on the impact of PR Card processing delays to those travelling by air to Canada, as this is where the issue is most pronounced.  However, it is important to note that the PR Card requirement applies to all commercial transport to Canada, including air, boat, rail, and bus.

The Residency Obligation

When someone immigrates to Canada they don’t automatically become a Canadian citizen.  Rather, they become a permanent resident. A permanent resident has the right to reside in any Canadian province, attend any educational institution, and work in any legal employment.   Permanent resident status can only be lost in prescribed circumstances, including when a permanent resident becomes a citizen, when the Government of Canada establishes that the permanent resident is inadmissible to Canada for having engaged in serious criminality or misrepresentation, and, most commonly, where it determines that the permanent resident has not complied with Canada’s permanent resident residency obligation.

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PR Cards will no Longer be Mailed to Permanent Residents’ Representatives

24th Jan 2013 Comments Off on PR Cards will no Longer be Mailed to Permanent Residents’ Representatives

On January 14, 2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“) issued Operational Bulletin 491 – Mailing Permanent Resident Cards (“PR Cards“) to Representatives (“OB-491“).  OB-491 is an update to the 2012 Pilot Project to mail permanent resident cards directly to applicants instead of having them attend at a CIC office.

Many permanent residents have been requesting that CIC mail their PR Cards to their authorized representatives.  This apparently caused CIC to be concerned that authorized representatives would forward the PR Cards to permanent residents overseas, which is (possibly) contrary to (the somewhat unclear) subsection 55 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the “Regulations“), which states:

DELIVERY

55. A permanent resident card shall only be provided or issued in Canada.

OB-491 accordingly clarifies that CIC will mail PR Cards issued to new immigrants (also known as “Phase I Cards“) to third parties in Canada, including friends, relatives, service providers or paid representatives, in order to facilitate the processing and issuance of PR Cards to new immigrants as they may not yet have a permanent address in Canada.

OB-491 also stipulates that CIC will only mail renewal or replacement PR Cards (also known as “Phase 2 Cards“) directly to applicants with permanent residential addresses in Canada.  CIC has accordingly already started sending the following letters (the “CIC letters“) to permanent residents who request that their Phase 2 Cards be mailed to third parties:

Your application indicates your representative’s address as your home and mailing address. As per subparagraph 56(2)(a)(iv) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, we require that applicants provide their personal mailing address, as Permanent Resident Cards are not mailed to third parties.

Please provide your mailing address and the information requested by “dd,

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“Assigned To” and the Residency Test for PR Status

29th May 2011 Comments Off on “Assigned To” and the Residency Test for PR Status

Last updated on February 16th, 2019

One of the ways to satisfy the residency obligation of maintaining permanent residency is to be employed outside of Canada on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or in the federal public administration or the public service of a province.

A thorny issue that has arisen in the context of determining whether someone meets this requirement is whether an employee has been “assigned” to an overseas affiliate of a Canadian business, and whether it was necessary for there to actually be an “assignment” from the Canadian business.

In Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) v. Jiang, 2011 FC 349, the Federal Court addressed this issue.

At issue before the Court was whether the Immigration Appeal Division had erred in determining that neither the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act or the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations required that an assignment of a foreign employee must be effected from Canada.  In the Jiang case, a Canadian permanent resident living in China had been hired by a Canadian business while she was in China.

The relevant section of the Regulations reads:

Employment outside Canada

(3) For the purposes of subparagraphs 28(2)(a)(iii) and (iv) of the Act, the expression “employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or in the public service of Canada or of a province” means, in relation to a permanent resident, that the permanent resident is an employee of, or under contract to provide services to, a Canadian business or the public service of Canada or of a province, and is assigned on a full-time basis as a term of the employment or contract to

(a) a position outside Canada;

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Visa Requirement Removed for Taiwan

22nd Nov 2010 Comments Off on Visa Requirement Removed for Taiwan

Effective November 22, 2010, holders of ordinary Taiwan passports that contain a personal identification number and are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan will no longer require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to visit Canada.

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PR Card Renewal Wait Times Continue to Increase, plus: Use of a Representative : 說不出代辦名字易惹官質疑

PR Card Renewal Wait Times Continue to Increase, plus: Use of a Representative : 說不出代辦名字易惹官質疑

4th Aug 2010 Comments Off on PR Card Renewal Wait Times Continue to Increase, plus: Use of a Representative : 說不出代辦名字易惹官質疑

Less than three weeks ago I commented on the increased delay in processing PR Card Renewals. The processing time had gone from roughly 40 days in January, to 80 days in April, to 171 days on July 16th.

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Wait Times for PR Card Renewal Dramatically Increase : 申請人及律師炮轟 中國新移民遭歧視

16th Jul 2010 Comments Off on Wait Times for PR Card Renewal Dramatically Increase : 申請人及律師炮轟 中國新移民遭歧視

The processing time for PR Card renewals has ballooned from roughly 42 days to 171.  There are several reasons for this, including personnel reductions at Case Processing Centre  Sydney, a higher than expected number of permanent residences wanting to renew their permanent resident card instead of applying for citizenship, and increased complexity of some of the files.

I was quoted on this matter in yesterday’s Ming Pao:

不增人手 問題更惡化

移民律師辛湉王(Steven Meurrens)則說,移民部完全錯估了楓葉卡第一次5年到期後、仍未累積夠居住時間而須再更換楓葉卡的人數。他指出,2002年楓葉卡推出5年 後,2007年開始接受換卡,今年才是接受換卡的第3年,人數已多到令現有人力無法負擔的程度,如果再不加人手,問題只會更惡化。

辛湉王 說,楓葉卡更換的過程比想像中複雜,例如被派到國外加拿大公司工作的永久居民,必須盡可能繳足所有證明在當地居住的文件,由於之前有個案造假,移民部對派 駐海外工作永久居民的楓葉卡更換申請,調查特嚴格,如此均拖慢所有的申請進度。

Yesterday I also recommended to an individual who is a frequent flyer and whose PR card was set to expire in February that he start the application process now. He replied that this would cause great difficulties because he would have to turn in his existing, still valid, PR Card.

This is not the case.

From Immigration Canada’s website:

If you are applying to renew your present card and:

  • your card has expired, you should return it with the completed application for a new card or
  • your card is still valid, you may hold on to it and return it to a CIC officer when you pick-up your new card at a local CIC office.

If you are applying to replace your damaged card, you should return your card with your application.

Individuals who are deciding whether or not to apply early to renew their PR Card should thus not worry about having to turn their existing card in.

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