Canadian landed immigrants need to carry residency card - intl. travel after Dec 31?
My brother-n-law is a Canadian landed immigrant (and US citizen) living in Vancouver. They were planning to go to India this Xmas/New Year holidays - problem was that the Canadian government web site states that as of Jan 1, one would need a Canadian residency card (the physical paper in the passport indicating that he is a landed Canadian immigrant would be void then) - to be admitted back into Canada, from travel to another country.
He has just received the forms, which are apparently longer than the citizenship application forms he has started to fill them out - he does not know how long it will take for him to get the residency card - it may take longer than the time remaining before the planned departure date of his trip (in which case, he and his family would cancel their plans, if he did not get the card).
He has not been successful in getting through the toll-free number for more information - it is always busy. He is not sure about whether one can email questions through the web site, for clarification.
He told me that the web site alludes to applying for a residency card overseas (ie Canadian High Commission, in New Delhi) - but he is not sure how easy or practical the application process is.
We were also wondering whether after Dec 31, US citizens who are Canadian landed immigrants, can go back and forth between USA and Canada via private car, limousine/taxi, bus, airline etc. - without the need for this residency card? If the answer is yes, then one option would be to fly to/from India, from/to SeaTac airport.
I wonder if US citizens are exempt from carrying a residency card, through the provisions of NAFTA?
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by FlyerGoldII: He told me that the web site alludes to applying for a residency card overseas (ie Canadian High Commission, in New Delhi) - but he is not sure how easy or practical the application process is.</font>
Don't even DREAM of dealing with the Delhi office. They are the most incompetent folks I have ever dealt with and the horror stories about their snafus are unbelievable.
My wife spent hours trying to get through on the phone several months ago as stated by the original poster. It's a cute system. You sit on hold until you're put through to another line but that one disconnnects if it's too busy and you have to start all over again.
She filled out the lengthy application forms (much longer than a passport application), had the picture taken (has to be a different size from a passport photo), and paid the money. Three or more months later she received a form letter providing her ONLY with a time to show up at the office and stand in line (i.e. Monday to Wednesday 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.). For us it's a multi-hour trip which includes a ferry ride. She has yet to undergo that "pleasure." As I recall, it has to be renewed every five years, which we can look forward to unless she decides to deport herself in the meantime.
It is all strikingly reminiscent of the gun registry fiasco.
I think they have learned from the Gun Registry that these things must be confirmed in the presence of a government officer. The whole point is to avoid fraud and to provide positive confirmation of the applicant. While it is a major logistical and time consuming activity, I dare say compared to just getting a visa to visit a country like India or Poland, this is within the range of tolerability. Afterall, isn't living in Canda worth a little inconvenience every so often?
That said, just wait until we citizens have to do the same thing to get a card that will let us visit the USA!
As to the original poster's friend, consider it ironic that if it weren't for the American's view that our old system was too prone to falsification, this would likely not be happening. Your friend's American citizenship is will not be accepted here, if they will not accept his land status there.
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Queue me I'm Canadian?
Speaking as one who has also stood in line at foreignconsulates to obtain visas, it's the downright incompetence of this operation inflicted on legal tax paying Canadian residents, as outlined in earlier posts, and documented in the news papers and on tv recently, that doesn't fit the definition of "tolerability," unless of course it's only happening to others.
The Canada of yore was a laid-back place, where it was no big deal to pick up SINs, drivers licences, etc. This led to situations that were "embarrassing" (e.g. when the alleged murderer of Dr. Martin Luther King managed to establish a false identity so easily here). So now Canada has lost its "innocence," and undoubtedly shoved in that direction by the bad old USA.
Of course, as with gun control registries, skipping-out refugee claimants, and other facts of modern life, the bad guys often find a way around the rules, or simply ignore them, but by golly the innocent ones can continue to queue, even if it means taking unpaid leave from work.
I am getting pick up notices for PR cards within about 3 months. So, the first piece of advice to any permanent resident is, apply for the card, now.
A permanent resident who is outside of Canada, without a PR Card can apply for a "travel document" which is a single-entry visa that can be inserted in their passport (you cannot apply for a PR Card outside of Canada). For people landed less than 3 years it's a no-brainer application, but after that the residency determination makes it complex.
That being said, Chapter ENF27 of the Immigration Manual says that the presumption against permanent residence does not apply at a port of entry. If you can get yourself to a port of entry (by driving in from the US, for example), then you can satisfy an officer of your permanent residence. However, I would not advise trying to rely on this in any but the most exceptional circumstances.
I only learned about this card requirement based on the CBC reports of the lineups. When was Canada Immigration going to tell me that I needed this card to cross the border? Since I immigrated in Jan of 2002, I've gone through YVR at least 50 times, and driven across the border at least 180 times. Not once did anyone tell me I needed to apply for the card.
After the news report I stopped at the immigration office at the Peace Arch border crossing and asked them about the card. One person in the office remembered hearing something about the need for the card, and advised me to go to the website to get more information. It seems that even the immigration officers aren't clear on what thenew requirements are.
Now it seems that I may not have the card in time since I'm still waiting for the application to arrive. You can download the application from the website, but it requires a numbered receipt for payment that you can only get via the mail. So I wait. I'm sure that my employer will be very sympathetic to my having to cancel travel plans while I wait for an appointment to get the card. Or if I try to expense the $50 fee to get the single crossing visa everytime I fly south.
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by LightingGuy: When was Canada Immigration going to tell me that I needed this card to cross the border?</font>
That's undoubtedly the point... Immigration probably had no accurate record of landed immigrants / legal residents (i.e. no "alien registration"), so they couldn't mail out notices to individuals. It seems they had to start from scratch. As part of this, they ran some modest display ads in papers that could be easily missed.
In fairness, one Immigration official at YYZ told my wife that she would be needing a new card; however, that's one out of countless "re-entries," and we let him know how inefficient the entire system was.
As AC*SE pointed out, the emphasis is on re-entry by "commercial carrier:"
As of December 31, 2003, the PR card will be the required proof of status document for permanent residents re-entering Canada on a commercial carrier (airplane, boat, train or bus).
This may buy you some time, if necessary, but I would agree with AC*SE that it would be preferable to have the card in hand. I do predict, however, that it will be enough of a mess that your former documents will suffice until you can arrange your new card.
Incidentally, comments elsewhere to the contrary, my wife was not offered an appointment in Victoria. The instructions are simply to appear at 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays.
A freind of mine had to fly to Europe to be with his very ill father. He will not be back until Jan 2004 and has not received his P.R. card. He was worried about getting back into Canada. An article in todays Toronto Star suggests that he and thousands of others never needed the card in the first place.
Edited to remove long link.
[This message has been edited by Biggles (edited Dec 15, 2003).]
My wife and I picked up our PR cards this week, after getting the letters that they were ready a week ago. Strange that even though we mailed the applications together, they scheduled the pick-up appointments almost three hours apart.
Times were shown to the very minute, ie: 8:22AM, and when we got there--early for my wife--lines were very short and fast. They took me (different line--colour coded)just as soon as I came up after parking the car, so I didn't have to wait for several hours after she picked up her card. Just show ID (DL, OHIP card, passport) sign for it, and you're on your way.
Glad ours arrived before the end of the year, as family health problems may have us travelling out of the country next year.
Now, what's this about them not being necessary after all??
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Shareholder: I dare say compared to just getting a visa to visit a country like India or Poland, this is within the range of tolerability. </font>
Based on my personal experience within the last week, getting a Polish Visa in YVR was a 'piece of cake'. I dropped off my application at the Consulate last Tuesday, paid the fee and courier costs and was told that the application should be processed by the 24th and I should have my passport back within a few days after that. To my surprise my passport, complete with a Polish visa, arrived at work on Friday morning. By the way I paid the standard visa fees and not the expedited processing fee.
Total turnaround time including courier less than 72 hours.
Level of tolerance needed none.
I hope topic starter's brother-in-law gets the same type of service from CIC.