In continuation of our series on common mistakes on immigration applications, this article will discuss issues that can cause your PR card application to be returned unprocessed, refused, or that can cause your actual permanent resident status to be called into question through a residence questionnaire.
PR Card Application Form Errors
Several problems can arise if you do not complete the PR card application forms correctly. For example, any of these things can cause your application to be returned:
- Using the wrong version of the application forms – always use the most up to date version of the application forms which are posted on the IRCC website.
- Writing your name on the application differently than it appears on your previous immigration document – When you fill out the PR card application, your name needs to be exactly the same as it was on either your previous PR card or your original IMM1000 Record of Landing. If you want to change your name, you have to provide proof of the legal change as well as certified copies of supporting ID documents.
- Gaps in the 5 year period covered by the application – You have to make sure that every day is accounted for in the five year period for your address history, work/education history, and travel history. If you were unemployed you must specify when and where you were not working. If you lived with relatives for a short while before you had your own home, this also needs to be mentioned.
- Travel history – You have to mention every time you have spent the night outside Canada. Day trips to another country do not count against your residence requirement. But, if you spend the night outside Canada, even if you are in the USA, this counts as one day outside.
- Inconsistent information – Make sure that your name, height, eye colour, and date of landing are listed as the same on both the application form IMM5444 and the supplementary form IMM5455.
- Signature – your signature should look the same on all pages of the application. Also make sure that you date the application for the day you sign it – do not accidentally date it with your date of birth.
PR Card Supporting Document Errors
Every application for a PR card has to include copies of supporting documents in addition to the completed application forms. Supporting documents that are expired, do not show the proper information, belong to someone else, or are not accepted documents can cause your PR card application to be returned, or may cause you to receive a residence questionnaire.
- Passport – You have to include copies of every single page of every passport you have held in the past 5 years. This means that even if there are no stamps on the pages, even if the passport is expired, even if you hold a passport from more than one country, you still need to provide copies of all pages to IRCC. This is so they can verify that you have met the residence requirement to be issued a PR card.
- Secondary ID – You also need to provide a copy of your IMM1000 Record of Landing and a Canadian provincial ID such as a driver’s license or photo card. The Record of Landing you provide must be your own and cannot belong to another person, even if they are your family member and you landed at the same time. Health cards are not accepted as a secondary ID.
- Additional documents – you are also supposed to provide 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. This is to prove that you were in Canada during this time.
- Photos – PR Card photos are not the same as passport photos. Your face needs to be a certain size and so does the size of the actual picture. Your name and the address of the business who took your photos must also be printed on the back of the photos. Your face also cannot be obscured by your hair, a head covering, or a hat. Finally, the photos cannot be older than one year.
- Important information not visible – copies of identification documents must always include:
- First and last name
- Date of birth
- Date of issue
- Date of expiry
- Clear photo (if applicable)
Sometimes this information spans several pages, especially on older passports. Include all pages containing this information. Also make sure that you copy the document in the middle of the page, not on the edge or corner to ensure no important information such as serial numbers are cut off.
Canada's Residence Requirement for Permanent Residents
In order to remain a permanent resident of Canada, you have to be physically present for at least two out of every five years. You also meet the residence requirement if you are
- travelling outside Canada with a spouse who is a Canadian citizen;
- travelling outside Canada for business purposes while you are employed by a Canadian company or government;
- travelling outside Canada with a spouse who is a permanent resident and is employed by a Canadian company or government.
IRCC has begun accessing Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) records to determine if the information you put on your PR card application matches customs records. That’s right – every time you have ever entered Canada this information is recorded!
Also keep in mind that if you have met the residence requirement through one of the situations mentioned above, it is your responsibility to prove this to IRCC. It is not enough to simply say that you have met the requirement, you must demonstrate that this is the truth through the documentation you provide.
If you apply with fewer than 730 days inside Canada, there is a very strong possibility that you will receive the PR card residence questionnaire and you will not be issued a PR card. When in doubt, wait until you have more time spent inside Canada to apply for your PR card.