Are you preparing to submit an application for Permanent Residency? There are a few tips you may want to read before sending in your application. These may help you avoid having your application returned, or worse, refused. In this article, we will address common pitfalls people face when completing their forms, submitting supporting documents, and meeting residence requirements.
It is very important that your Permanent Residency application forms are filled out correctly and completely. If your forms contain incorrect or insufficient information, they may be returned to you or refused altogether. There are a number of other common issues pertaining to forms that applicants commonly encounter. Listed below are a few of these problems:
- Using an older version of the application forms. Be sure you are using the most recent version of the form you are completing. You can check this by using the IRCC website to download the latest version.
- Writing your name differently on your application than previous immigration documents. The name you write on your PR card application should be the exact same as the name on your previous PR card or your original IMM1000 Record of Landing.
- Gaps in the 5 year period covered by the application. You should account for every event that took place in the five year period on your form. This includes detailed information about your address history, employment history, education history, and travel history. If there are gaps in any of these areas (e.g. unemployment), make note of this and offer as much information about this period of time as possible (i.e. when and where you were).
- Travel history. You must make note of every overnight trip you took outside of Canada. Day trips are not counted against your residence requirement. In other words, if you travelled across the Canadian border and came back within the same day, this does not count as time spent outside of the country. If, however, you spend the night outside of Canada (even in the USA), this counts as one day outside of the country.
- Inconsistent information. Double-check your forms to ensure that your name, height, eye colour, and date of landing are the same on all forms.
- Inconsistencies raise a red flag and may result in the return of your application.
- Signature. Your signature should be consistent and look the same on each page of your application.
- Dates. When you sign, be sure to write the date you signed the application on. Some people get confused and write their birth date.
You must submit a number of documents with your application to support your claims. These documents may include passports, government-issued ID, tax forms, and photos. Be sure to include only those documents which have not expired and contain accurate information about you. Below are some issues many applicants face when submitting their supporting documents:
- Passport. You must include every page of the passport you have held in the last 5 years. Some people fail to do this because the pages are blank (contain no stamps), the passport has expired, or they hold a passport from more than one country. Regardless of the circumstances previously mentioned, you must provide all pages to IRCC so they can determine whether your meet the residence requirement to receive a PR card.
- Secondary ID. You must include a copy of your IMM1000 Record of Landing and a piece of Canadian provincial ID (e.g. driver’s license). It is important to note that Health Cards are not accepted as a form of secondary identification.
- Additional documents. You should provide a Canada Revenue Notice of Assessments for at least the previous two years. If you are a student and do not file taxes, you should provide copies of official transcripts from your school for at least the past two years. These documents help show that you were in Canada during this time.
- Photos. PR Card photos have specific requirements that differ from those of a passport photo. Some of these requirements include:
- There are size requirements for your face and the size of the actual photo.
- On the back of the photo, you must print your name in addition to the name and address of the business who took your photos.
- Your face also cannot be obscured in any way (i.e. by your hair, a head covering, or a hat).
- The photos must be current. They cannot be older than 1 year.
Also, be sure that all important information is visible on copies of identification documents. This includes your first and last name, date of birth, date of issue, date of expiry, and a clear photo (if applicable). When copying documents, it’s best to copy the document in the middle of the page, rather than the top or bottom corner. This ensures that other information, such as serial numbers and barcodes are fully included.
In order to remain a permanent resident, you have to be physically present in Canada for at least two years in every five year period. There are also a number of other circumstances that allow you to meet the residence requirement. If you…
- Travel outside Canada with a spouse who is a Canadian citizen;
- Travel outside Canada for business purposes while you are employed by a Canadian government or company;
- Travel outside Canada with a spouse who is a permanent resident and is employed by a Canadian company or government.
Time spent travelling outside of the country under these circumstances counts toward the physical presence requirement for citizenship. It’s also important to note that the physical presence requirement only uses time after becoming a permanent resident or after your common-law relationship began. If you’re unsure about your physical presence requirement, use the physical presence calculator.
The Residence Questionnaire
If you apply with fewer than 730 days inside Canada, there is a strong chance that you will receive a Residence Questionnaire. If possible, wait until you have spent more time inside Canada before applying for your PR card.