Life in Canada

Moving can be a stressful situation regardless of where you move, but it is only compounded when you move to an entirely new country with a new language and new culture. Immigrating to Canada is no different from moving to any other country, really, but Canada has a support system that can prove to be very beneficial to immigrants of all kinds.

Canada is one of the most aware countries in the world about this problem and is very much interested in the comfort and success of the immigrants who enter its borders.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is not only interested in taking your immigration applications or accepting your fees, but also ensuring that you will be as successful as possible. Many of the CIC’s policies are designed with just this in mind.

Though, even with the CIC’s consideration, you may feel a certain level of discomfort upon initially moving to Canada. The important thing to remember is that you will be able to adapt to your new home and there are organizations out there to help you.

Because of the multicultural nature of Canada, there are many cultural enclaves throughout the cities and provinces of Canada. You can easily find people from your part of the world who can help you adjust to the country.

Upon entering the country you may want to consider finding a place of worship in your religion. Many churches, temples mosques and other institutions are very willing to help new immigrants during their transition. The social support of a religious community is also very helpful to the process.

Those who are not religious or cannot find a nearby place of worship, there are many immigrant assistance organizations. These groups can be found on Citizenship and Immigration’s website as well as in the local Yellow Pages.

Check Application Status

If you have applied as a sponsor for an immigrant application, you can check the status of the application online at the CIC’s website. You will simply need some of the information you included in the application before you check the status of the application. Principal applicants can also check their status using this website.

Most immigrants to Canada require sponsors in order to legally enter the country. These people file on their behalf and can be family members or employers, most often. Some immigrants do not require sponsors, but most do.

Principal applicants are the immigrants who are working with their sponsors to enter Canada and are responsible for the filing of their applications. Non-principle applicants included people such as dependents of the principal applicant.

The information you will need to check your immigration application status online includes:

  • The applicant or sponsor’s name,
  • The applicant or sponsor’s birthday and place of birth,
  • And the identification number attached to the form you have already filed.

Processing Times

It is important to understand that the processing times provided by the CIC are estimates and are in no way exact. There are several things that could affect the overall time that you may have to wait for your application to be processed:

  • Keeping your contact information up to date. The easier it is for the CIC to find you, the quicker your application will get to you.
  • Avoiding errors in your application. Any corrections that must be made will lengthen the amount of time you must wait.
  • Submit a complete package.  Applications will be returned if they are not complete, delaying your approval.

The Citizenship Resumption Process

There are a few different ways by which a person can lose their Canadian citizenship, however some cases allow these people to resume their citizenship in Canada.

The qualifications that need to be met for a person to be able to resume their Canadian citizenship using this process are very strict and apply to only a select few people. Mostly, the conditions under which one can resume citizenship have to do with some of the confusion following the restructuring of Canadian government after it became autonomous from Britain.

If you have never been a citizen of Canada or you have simply lost your citizenship certificate, this process is not the way you should use. New citizens will have to first become Permanent Residents before applying for Canadian citizenship. Citizens who have lost their citizenship certificates, but have not revoked their citizenship should simply file for a new citizenship certificate.

The form needed to resume one’s citizenship is called CIT 0301 and the form can be found on Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website.

Below are some of the more salient requirements that people must meet in order to file with this form:

  • You must have been, at some time in the past, a Canadian citizen.
  • You can’t have gone through the process of revoking your citizenship.
  • You must have become a Permanent Resident immediately following the loss of your Canadian citizenship and you must hold Permanent Residency for at least one year preceding your application for resumption.
  • You cannot be currently in removal proceedings.

The cost of this form is $100 and must be paid upon receipt of the immigration document at a CIC processing center. Fees can be paid online or through a Canadian financial institution.

Canadian Citizenship Processing Times

Processing times are a way for Citizenship and Immigration Canada to inform its customers about how long they will have to wait for their applications to be accepted.

Knowing a certain forms processing time will help you better track the process of immigrating to the United States. If the form you filed is taking longer to process than the posted processing time you may want to look into its progress. If your form is taking a particularly long time you may have to contact CIC to give additional information or to resubmit certain things.

Applying for citizenship is generally considered to be an end-point of the immigration process and can be applied for after a certain period of time as a Permanent Resident in Canada. Below you can find the processing times for the different services involving the CIC and citizenship. Please note that not all of these processing times have to do with the application for citizenship.

Application for citizenship: The CIC estimates that it will take approximately 23 months to process you application for citizenship from the day you officially file your application to your citizenship ceremony. Some applicants can check the status of their application online.

Citizenship certificates: If you are already a citizen and you simply need proof of your status you can receive your citizenship certificate in as little as six months.

Resumption of Canadian Citizenship: Some individuals can apply for the resumption of Canadian Citizenship and be re-admitted in 35 months.

Renunciation of Canadian Citizenship: Renunciation of Canadian citizenship is also known as getting rid of or abandoning one’s citizenship and can take as little as four months. This process is generally reserved for those who must renounce all other citizenship before becoming the citizen of another country.

Citizenship Records Search: You can ask Citizenship and Immigration Canada to search their citizenship records for you in as little as five months. This service is typically used by people who are trying to prove their citizenship through a deceased relative.

 

 

Canada Processing Times

Processing times are the estimated length of time it will take for a particular form to be processed and approved. You can use the processing times available through Citizenship and Immigration Canada to get an approximate amount of time you must wait in order to get certain immigration benefits.

It is important to note that these are estimates and that a variety of conditions will affect the total amount of time you may have to wait before you receive a visa, immigration document or citizenship. More complex or higher-level immigration services (such as citizenship or initial applications for immigration) will typically take more time to process than lower-level immigration (such as visitor visas) documents.

Another important factor in the speed at which you may receive immigration services is the pathway by which you apply. The wait times for online applications are significantly shorter than those for paper mail-in applications.

Below we have some of the processing times for some of the online immigration services. The times are cited from Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website.

Visitor visas: 47 days.

Student visas: 36 days.

Initial Work Permits: 35 days.

Canada Experience Class (CEC) immigration visas: 13 months.

Visas for live-in Caregivers: 38 months.

Spouse visas: 30 days.

Parent or Grandparent Supervisas: These applications take up to 55 months to process. That is approximately 4 years and 7 months.

Initial Permanent Resident Cards: 55 days.

Renewals or Replacements of already extant Permanent Resident Cards: 90 days.

There are many more immigration services which have estimated processing times, but these are often broken down by the office at which they are being filed. For more specific immigration processing times query the office at which you sent your application.

Canada’s Start-Up Visa

Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenny, spent some time in the United States last week promoting Canada’s most exciting immigration visa.

The new Start-Up Visa will help Canada attract the world’s best and brightest entrepreneurs to build businesses, create jobs, and fuel economic growth,” Minister Kenney said in a news release from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Silicon Valley, where Minister Kenney visited, is located in the United States, in California in particular, and is the symbolic center of innovation in computing and information technologies. Minister Kenney’s visit can also be looked upon as being symbolic, as the visa he is promoting is attempting to draw the types of people in Silicon Valley, perhaps making a center of computing and information technology in Canada itself.

The entire point of the new visa, and indeed the many programs put in place by the Harper government by Minister Kenney, is to attract people into Canada who can contribute to the overall health of the Canadian economy.

An important part of developing a competitive and successful economy is the ability of a country to attract intelligent people who are willing to create potentially successful business adventures. This requires two general things:

  • Ease of immigration. It has to be somewhat easy for people who have the skills needed for a competitive market to enter the country.
  • Ease of start-up. When the innovators enter the country, the business envirionment should be such to encourage the success and growth of industry and innovation.

Canada hopes that it will be able to accomplish both of these things with their immigration program.

Immigration Canada

What is the CIC?

Citizenship and Immigration Canada, or as it is often called, the CIC, is the immigration department of the Canadian government and is responsible for services and regulation regarding immigration.

The leader of this department, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, is currently Jason Kenney.

This department works closely with other governmental departments of the Canadian government to ensure that immigrants are accepted into Canadian society as smoothly as possible and so that they can in turn benefit the country of Canada as well.

What Does the CIC Do?

The CIC handles all matters relevant to immigration in Canada. Below is a general list of their duties:

  • Issuance of temporary visas like student visas or tourism visas.
  • Issuance of Permanent Resident status and the Permanent Resident Card, an immigration document that establishes that a person has the right to live, work, study and travel in Canada freely.
  • Citizenship. Citizenship is granted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada after residency requirements are met within the country and a few knowledge tests are administered.
  • As of July 2013, CIC will also take care of all passport applications through their systems, but in Service Canada offices. Passports are only available to citizens of Canada.

The CIC is also responsible for many of the multicultural programs that exist in Canada. As the first officially multicultural country in the world, Canada recognizes the independence of its residents’ cultures within the context of the larger country.

They demonstrate this largely through recognition ceremonies, festivals and holidays to celebrate the diversity of the Land of Immigrants.

CIC News Update: Improved Passport Services

Canadian passports will now be administered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) instead of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced on May 8, 2013.

This change is in-line with other governmental reforms designed to make immigration benefits more convenient and efficient.

“As Citizenship and Immigration Canada is already responsible for determining Canadian citizenship, integrating the passport program into the department makes good sense,” said Minister Kenney in a CIC news release.

The actual shift of responsibilities will take place on July 2, 2013, so citizens interested in updating their passports before that should use the old system until then.

Indeed, residents will continue using the same facilities as they did before for their passport needs.

Another reason for the shift is the transition to the CIC’s IT system, which is much more capable than the system currently in use, as it is, “nearing the end of its lifespan”.

Passports are available for all Canadian citizens and are very necessary for international travel. They also are a convenient form of proof of your Canadian citizenship.

Passports contain a sheet of personal, biographic information as well as many blank pages for visa stamps that you may receive during your travels. If you expect that you will use all of these sheets up before your passport expires you may want to consider purchasing additional sheets. Canadian passports have red covers.

If you are not yet a citizen of Canada you may want to consider going through that process. The international protection you get from holding a Canadian passport is extremely valuable.

Canadian citizens looking for passport services abroad will continue to contact the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Parent and Grandparent Visa Program

The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa Program, which was recently halted due to various difficulties, will be re-opened to applicants on January 2, 2014.

Because of the popularity of this program in the past, there were large numbers of backlogs and problems with immigrants being admitted to Canada who did not necessarily have the financial stability needed to live in Canada.

These conditions consequently laid something of a strain on Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and taxpayers of Canada. Minister Jason Kenney of the CIC has used a considerable amount of resources and energies in improving the Canadian immigration system for the benefit of both Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents, but also potential immigrants.

In a CIC press release from Friday May 10, 2013, the four steps associated with Phase II of the “Action Plan for Faster Family Reunification”, the plan associated with the Super Visa, were briefly discussed. Below you can find approximations of the four steps:

  • First Step: 50,000 parents and grandparents will be admitted to Canada in 2012 and 2013, and these numbers will continue to be high in 2014.
  • Second Step: The Super-Visa program will continue to allow parents and grandparents multiple-entry permits which grant entry to Canada for up to two years at a time. No other non-immigrant visa allows visitors to stay that long.
  • Third Step: The CIC will more thoroughly assess applications to ensure that sponsors are able to sufficiently support their immigrating relatives.
  • Fourth Step: In 2014, 5,000 new sponsorship applications will be accepted to further reduce the current backlogs.

Canada’s immigration program is rather unique. Other countries which are similar in economic development and historical culture “do not allow grandparents to be sponsored at all or only in very limited circumstances,” while Canada is relatively liberal with grandparents.

Source: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/releases/2013/2013-05-10.asp

What Are the Official Languages of Canada?

The official languages of Canada are explicitly mentioned in the establishment of the Canadian government and are English and French.

There are other official languages, such as the languages of First Nations peoples, but English and French are the primary ones and the ones used by the vast majority of Canadians.

English is spoken by most Canadians, but there are certain regions throughout the provinces who speak French more commonly. The province of Quebec exclusively speaks French and there English is considered the minority language.

People who wish to immigrate to Canada must learn to be somewhat functional in either French or English. Also, when Permanent Residents apply to become citizens they must be able to pass competency tests in one of the official languages. Most people are able to become familiar enough with the languages simply by living in Canada and using the language regularly.

Why Are English and French the Official Languages of Canada?

English and French are the most widely spoken languages in Canada, but that isn’t the only reason for why they are the official languages.

When the Canadian Constitution was being drafted, politicians and legislators had to consider the existence of Quebec. The province of Quebec was, and still is, a sovereign region in Canada. It is much like its own country within a larger country. Recognizing this separateness was an important consideration to legislators.

The solution, which is called bi-culturalism in the Constitution, was to establish French as an official language as well as English. This was done to protect the sovereignty of French speaking residents and citizens of Canada.

More recently, it was decided that the spirit of this legislation was to support multiculturalism. Instead of supporting the independence of only two cultures, all cultures in Canada will be respected.