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Common Immigration Questions in Canada

frequently asked questionsImmigration is an extensive and time consuming process. However, because so many people immigrate to Canada every year, there is a lot of common wisdom that people can gather.

What do I need to do to become a citizen?

The first thing that an immigrant has to do before becoming a citizen of Canada is to become a Permanent Resident. This immigration status is absolutely necessary to become a citizen.

Also, it is a good idea to become familiar with either the English or French language and learn about the Canadian government.

Other than that, it’s a matter of waiting until you have lived for three whole years in Canada.

What is Permanent Residency?

Permanent Residency is an immigration status in Canada that allows an immigrant to live and work in the country for as long as they choose to.

Permanent Residents can also travel freely throughout the provinces, study without a permit and be let back into Canada from abroad on the strength of their PR Cards.

Can I study abroad in Canada?

Canada is a great place for students and has some of the most highly regarded research facilities in the world.

Foreign students who are accepted at a Canadian school must then obtain a study permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

These study permits can be continually renewed until the student finishes their degree.

Can I stay in Canada with a study permit?

At the end of a student’s course of study they will generally be asked to either leave Canada or to switch their status to something more appropriate.

The Canadian Experience Class program for Permanent Residency allows a student to smoothly transition from a student to a working Permanent Resident at the end of their studies.

Do I need a work permit?

Work permits are necessary for all temporary residents of Canada who wish to work while in the country.

Permanent Residents and Citizens need not obtain work permits because they are allowed to work through their status.

Students, if they wish to work off of campus must get work permits.

Am I eligible for a Canadian passport?

Canadian passports are only available to Canadian citizens. However it only takes about three or four years to become a citizen after becoming a Permanent Resident.

Canadian passports are very useful and can be used for all sorts of purposes

  • Travel
  • Identification
  • Proof of citizenship

Canadian passports provide the bearer with all of the protections of the Canadian government when abroad.

Where would I get a Canadian Passport?

Citizens can apply for passports at many different locations. One can apply for one through the mail to the Foreign Ministry.

Another option is to use one of the many Service Canada offices located throughout the country.

Moving to Canada to Work

If you’re looking to come to Canada to work you can fully immigrate if you are careful in your application process. By doing so you will be able to live and work in Canada on a more-or-less permanent basis. As long as you follow the immigration regulations you could even change jobs after a while and still be able to stay in Canada.

Filing for immigration benefits can prove to be a serious drag and will end up taking up a significant portion of your time. However, you can make the process much easier for yourself by reading up about the process as much as you can. Here, we have compiled a list of hints and tips that might help you in your efforts towards a work permit. Citizenship and Immigration Canada is the official voice in immigration matters and is an excellent reference for these matters.

Labor Market Opinions Work permit holder

Sometimes, in order for an employer to sponsor your immigration to Canada, they must first ask for a Labour Market Opinion from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. The Labour Market Opinion is effectively a document that says that there is a need for a foreign worker to come to Canada.

Some jobs do not require a Labour Market Opinion. You should talk to your employer to find out whether or not they will need to file for one.

Needed Documents

When you apply with the Canadian government for immigration you will need to provide two documents. You will need a letter stating that a Canadian company is offering you a job and the Labour Market Opinion form Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

What’s the difference between a Work Permit and a Work Visa

Work Visas are the full-immigration form of a Work Permit. A Work Visa is just another way of saying that you immigrated to Canada through a job and now you are living permanently within its borders.

Work Permits are much more temporary. A Work Permit will allow you to work within Canada for a while, but eventually you will either have to leave or change your status to something a little more permanent.

Processing Times

Processing times of any application can be hard to estimate. Generally, the CIC releases processing time schedules on their website. However, these times are highly variable depending on the load that the office may be handling, the complexity of your particular application and any difficulties that may arise during the examination process.

As of June 14, 2013 a strike at the CIC offices is currently delaying the process of immigration applications.


Defining Canadian Immigration

Definitions are very important in immigration as well as daily lives. There are some philosophers who believe that the way we define words colors the way we view our lives. In immigration issues, definitions can be the difference between a frustrating situation and a smoothly successful process. CIC

It is often true that in specific governmental organizations the definitions used have slightly different meanings from the definitions you may find in a dictionary. There are several different terms for this such as jargon or legalese, but the effect is the same. You may be reading the instructions for a particular application, say for the renewal of a Permanent Resident Card, and ask yourself “What do they mean by that?”

Fortunately, the Canadian government’s immigration department is very thoughtful and has provided the definitions of many commonly used terms in their glossary section within the online Help Centre.

Here are some examples of immigration terms defined by Citizenship and Immigration Canada:

Application Package: Sometimes also called an Application Kit. This package includes the forms, supporting documents, fees and other information necessary to apply for a visa, Permanent Resident Card or citizenship.

Canadian Citizen: There are two kinds of citizens. One is not better than the other, they simply received their citizenship in different ways. Some citizens receive citizenship through birth, whereas some receive citizenship through a process called naturalization (see below).

Deportation Order, sometimes called a Removal Order: A document issued by either the CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) or the IRB (Immigration Review Board) which requires a person to leave Canada for violating immigration law. This is a very serious situation and should not be handled lightly.

Embassy: From the glossary page: “A Government of Canada office located in the capital city of a non-commonwealth country. It generally offers the full range of consular and trade services. It may or may not provide immigration services.”

Naturalization: The process by which a foreign national (non-Canadian person) becomes a Canadian citizen. These people can ask for a “Grant of Citizenship” after they receive a Permanent Resident Card (see below).

Permanent Resident Card: A Permanent Resident Card is an immigration document that is proof of an immigrant’s right to live and work in Canada. It is about the size of a driver’s license or credit card and is absolutely necessary for immigrants if they wish to travel outside of Canada.

Port of Entry: An airport, harbor or other entryway to Canada. These places can be inside of Canada or located at the borders.

Refugee Claimant: Someone who has claimed to be a refugee while in Canada, but hasn’t yet been granted Permanent Residency by the Immigration Review Board.

Most Popular Topics on CIC.GC.CA

Citizenship and Immigration Canada maintains a section on their website called the Help Centre. Here you can find articles about all aspects of immigration and learn more about the process of coming to Canada.

If you already know what you need, say a Permanent Resident Card, you can quickly skip to the part you need to access.

Here we’ll briefly answer the most popular questions at the Help Centre.

How can I check the Status of my application?

Immigrant sponsors, immigrants or Permanent Residents can all check the status of their application online at the CIC’s website.

Who is a federal skilled worker?

Immigrants who are part of the Federal Skilled Worker program are permanent residents who were able to immigrate to Canada to work.

What is a complete application package?

A complete immigration application will have a properly filled out application, proper supporting documentation and a receipt for the appropriate payment.

If I apply today, will the processing times show how long it will take to finalize my application?

Processing times are guidelines. Your application may take more or less time depending on your situation.

How do I fill out an application?

Be absolutely sure to fill out every question on the application and to examine the instructions very closely. Each application is different.

How long will it take to process my application?

The length of time it will take to process your application is entirely dependent on what benefits you are applying for and whether or not you have any complications to your application.

How do I renew my PR Card?

You can renew your PR Card by mailing in Form IMM 5444 to the appropriate CIC office.

What are the requirements for becoming a Canadian citizen?

  • Permanent Residency.
  • Residency in Canada for 1,095 days of the past four years.
  • Proficiency in French or English.
  • Knowledge of Canadian government and history.
  • Able to take the Oath of citizenship.

What happens after I send in my application?

Your application will be examined by a Canadian immigration officer to see if it is complete first, if it is, it will then be assessed.

Do I need a visa to visit Canada?

Not everyone needs a visa to visit Canada. There is a list of countries whose citizens do not need to apply for a visa.

How can I find out about jobs in Canada?

Canada has three tools for immigrants to find jobs: job banks, labor market information from the government or the working in Canada tool.

What is a UCI?

A UCI (Unique Client Identifier) is the number that the CIC uses to identify you within their systems when you apply for immigration benefits.

How do I help a family member or friend apply to visit Canada?

Help a friend or family member into Canada by sending them a letter of invitation and encouraging them to apply with the Canadian Visa Office in their region.

IMM 5009 Verification of Entry

Immigration status documents can help immigrants in a number of ways, primarily with applying for benefits or other immigration benefits.

Generally these documents are granted to the holders upon approval of the benefit or the service. Many of these documents are granted upon an immigrant’s arrival to Canada.

However, during the course of living in Canada it is possible that you have misplaced or lost one or a few of these documents. Citizenship and Immigration Canada can understand this conundrum and offers form IMM 5009 for immigrants to apply for a replacement of these documents.

This form is not to be used for changing the name or information listed on immigration documents. There are different processes for changing your name on an immigration document and for having information corrected by the CIC.

IMM 5009 IMM 5009

The form that you will need to apply for the Verification of Status or Replacement of an Immigration Document is form IMM 5009. With this document you can replace a number of documents such as

  • A verification of Status,
  • An Immigrant Visa and Record of Landing,
  • A Confirmation of Permanent Residence,
  • An Exclusion Order,
  • A Departure Order,
  • Authorization to Return to Canada,
  • A Permit to Come into or Remain in Canada,
  • A Temporary Resident Permit,
  • A Work Permit,
  • A Study Permit, or
  • A Visitor’s Record.

IMM 5009 Fees

Most immigration forms in the Dominion of Canada have associated fees that help pay for the cost of the manpower involved in processing the immigration services. These fees pay immigration officials and help in upkeep of the immigration databases and other record collecting materials.

IMM 5009 Processing Times

The following documents take approximately one month to process:

  • Replacements of form IMM 1442: Study Permits, Temporary Resident Permits, Visitor Records and Work Permits.
  • Amendments of forms IMM 1442 and IMM 1263: Permit to Come into or Remain in Canada, Study Permits, Temporary Resident Permits, Visitor Records and Work Permits.

The following documents take approximately six months to process:

  • IMM 1000, Record of Landing Verification of Status
  • IMM 5292, Confirmation of Permanent Residence Verification of Status
  • IMM 0056, Certificate of Departure Verification of Status
  • IMM 1213, Deportation Order Verification of Status
  • IMM 5238, Departure Order Verification of Status
  • IMM 1263, Permit to Come into or Remain in Canada Verification of Status
  • IMM 1203, Authorization to Return to Canada Verification of Status
  • IMM 1097, Visitor Record Verification of Status
  • IMM 1102, Work Permit Verification of Status
  • IMM 1208, Study Permit Verification of Status
  • IMM 1214, Exclusion Order Verification of Status
  • Amendments to IMM 1000, Record of Landing
  • Amendments to IMM 5292 or IMM 5688, Confirmation of Permanent Residence.

Lost Immigration Documents Canada

As an immigrant in Canada it is relatively important to keep your documents well-organized and current or valid. Though your Permanent Resident Card is necessary to get certain government services, there may be extended periods of time where the PR Card (or other immigration document) is relatively unused.

During these periods of time there is increased risk of these documents being lost or destroyed accidentally. These things happen and Citizenship and Immigration Canada understands how these things happen. Below is a list of the documents you can have replaced if they are lost, provided you are currently within the borders of Canada:

Note: Not all of these documents are for Permanent Residents.

IMM 0056, Certificate of Departure. IMM 0056

  • A Certificate of Departure is an immigration document granted to visitors to Canada when they leave through a port-of-entry.

IMM 1000, Immigrant Visa and Record of Landing.

  • Form IMM is the document required of immigrants for when they enter Canada. It is typically granted to immigrants upon their entry to Canada and maintains a record of when they entered Canada.

IMM 1097, Visitor Record.

  • A visitor record is granted to non-immigrants who come to Canada for tourism, business trips or to visit family. It is proof that they entered Canada as a visitor.

IMM 1102, Work Permit.

  • Work permits allow foreign residents within Canada the right to work under specific circumstances and for limited periods of time. Without this document, foreign residents may not work in Canada.

IMM 1203, Authorization to Return to Canada Pursuant to Section 52 (1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

  • This document has to do with very specific situations dealing with refugees or asylees in Canada who may be out of status.

IMM 1208, Study Permit.

  • Students looking to study at a school within Canada must first obtain, and retain, a valid study permit in order to stay in Canada.

IMM 1214, Exclusion Order.

  • You can return to Canada after 12 months away provided you were granted an exclusion order. This document serves as permission to be in Canada in some cases.

IMM 1215, Deportation Order.

  • This document says that you must leave Canada for one reason or another. You may need to use this document if you apply for re-entry at a later date.

IMM 1263, Permit to Come Into or Remain in Canada.

  • This document acts as an extension of a temporary visa in Canada.

IMM 5238, Departure Order.

  • Departure orders are given to foreign residents who are in Canada temporarily at the end of their allotted stay if they have not yet left. These orders are somewhat less severe when compared to deportation orders.

IMM 5292, Confirmation of Permanent Residence.

  • This document is sometimes used when applying for certain government services and is physical proof of a person’s Permanent Residency in Canada.

www cic gc ca forms

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC.GC.CA) is the Canadian governmental body that deals with immigration issues including, but not limited to:

  • Non-immigrant and immigrant applications.
  • Citizenship applications.
  • Multiculturalism policy.
  • Immigration policy.
  • Immigration enforcement.

Below are some of the more popular Immigration forms in Canada.

IMM 5444

The Application for a Permanent Resident Card is known as IMM 5444. Applying for Permanent Residency should come before applying for the Permanent Resident Card itself.

The PR Card is used as a national identification card for immigrants in Canada and it is indispensable when travelling abroad since it allows immigrants to return to Canada seamlessly.

IMM 5529

Permanent Residents of Canada who wish to travel abroad for extended periods of time or without their Permanent Resident Card should use this application to apply for a Travel Document.

Permanent Resident Cards allow immigrants in Canada to enter into the country easily and freely, but if you happen to lose the card while abroad you can apply for with this form as well.

IMM 5009

IMM 5009 is the immigration document for a request for verification of status. You can use this form to confirm your immigration status in Canada if there is no other way to identify yourself or if you cannot find your other immigration documents.

The following are documents that immigrants can apply for with this form:

  1. IMM 0056, Certificate of Departure;
  2. IMM 1000, Immigrant Visa and Record of Landing;
  3. Either IMM 5292 or IMM 5688, Confirmation of Permanent Residence;
  4. Either IMM 1097 or IMM 1442, Visitor Record;
  5. Either IMM 1102 or IMM 1442, Work Permit;
  6. Either IMM 1208 or IMM 1442, Study Permit;
  7. IMM 1214, Exclusion Order;
  8. IMM 1215, Deportation Order;
  9. IMM 5238, Departure Order;
  10. IMM 1263, Permit to Come Into or Remain in Canada; or
  11. IMM 1203, Authorization to Return to Canada.

IMM 5708

The Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Visitor or Temporary Resident Permit Holder, IMM 5708, is used by non-immigrants in Canada so that they can continue to stay in the country.

There are two general reasons for why a person may want to do this:

  1. To stay longer in Canada. Visitors may decide that they want to keep touring Canada past the date stamped on their visa. In which case they may use this form.
  2. To change one’s status. When one enters Canada on a visa, that visa become invalid if their intent changes. Say a tourist decides that they want to now study in Canada. If this happens they will have to change their status.

CIT 0002

Permanent Residents who have lived in Canada for long enough can then use CIT 0002 to apply for citizenship.

After taking a test in either French or English and in the history and culture of Canada, potential citizens will take the oath of citizenship.

With citizenship residents of Canada are entitled to the full rights and protections afforded by the government. Citizens cannot be deported unless it is discovered that they received citizenship fraudulently.




IMM 5529 Applying for a Travel Document

If you are a Permanent Resident of Canada you have the option to travel wherever you want as long as you maintain your residency requirements. Permanent Residents have to have been in Canada for at least two out of the past five years to maintain their status.

Permanent Residents who wish to travel outside of Canada itself should make sure that their Permanent Resident Cards are valid for the duration of their trip. The PR Card is necessary to show that you have permanent status in Canada when you re-enter.

If you need to Renew or Replace your Permanent Resident Card in a hurry keep in mind that you can ask for urgent filing. Travelling Passport

However, it is understandable that problems come up and you may find yourself outside of Canada without a valid PR Card.

This doesn’t mean that you are locked out of Canada, but rather you will have to experience some difficulty re-entering.

You will need to file form IMM 5524, the Application for a Travel Document. The purpose of the Travel Document is to prove to border authorities that you are a resident of the United States.

Travel documents are one use only articles, the permanent solution is to apply for a new PR Card as soon as you re-enter Canada. If you already have a valid Permanent Resident Card or are a citizen of Canada you don’t need to use a travel document.

Every person who intends to re-enter Canada must file for a travel document, even your children or spouse.

The processing fee for the travel document form is CA$50, which is non-refundable and applicable to each application submitted.

The last step in the process is to send the application in a sealed envelope to one of Canada’s foreign consulates. Canada has offices that handle travel documents all over the world. A complete list of all of the consulates is available on the CIC’s website. Be sure to check which consulate is most appropriate for where you are on your travels before sending the application.

Immigration Fees

Almost every immigration form available through Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will require a fee for processing. The amounts for the fees vary widely, just as there are many different ways to pay these fees.

Whether you are renewing a Permanent Resident Card, Applying for citizenship or trying to get a tourist visa there will be an associated, nominal fee that must be included in the application package. CIC Fees

If you are applying for immigration outside of Canada you will have to contact the CIC visa office that serves your area. Often, this is the office within your country, but in some cases in may be in an adjacent country. You will need to conduct some research to find out which jurisdiction you are in. Visa offices may have different preferences for payments.

Applying within Canada can be done in two ways: online or at a Canadian financial institution.

Paying Online

The online payment system is relatively simple and very much similar to other online payment systems for commercial businesses. You will need to use a PDF reader to get a receipt after you pay with one of the accepted credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express).

An email address is necessary for maintaining contact with the CIC. After you receive your receipt, you will need to print it to be included in your application package. There are a few different ways to do this:

  • Print it at home. If you have your own printer, you can just print the receipt from the comfort of your own home.
  • Print your receipt at a printer away from home. You may know a friend or relative with a printer. Libraries and LAN centers may also have printers available to the public for a small fee. You can transport your data by email or flash storage device, but be sure to delete all temporary files and to protect your data from potential hackers.

Paying at a Canadian Financial Institution

An alternative to those who aren’t so computer savvy is to pay for your forms through a brick-and-mortar institution. You will need to first order Form IMM 5401 for the payment receipt, then you pay at either a bank or a wire service. Form IMM 5401 must be included in your application submission.

In some cases this is the only way that you can pay your application fees.

  • Federal Skilled Workers,
  • Federal Skilled Tradespersons, or
  • Federal Investors

Must all submit their applications and payments to the Centralized Intake office in Sydney, Nova Scotia. There is no online option for these immigration types.

How Much Are the Fees?

Here are some of the more common fees:

  • Right of Citizenship—$100
  • Grant of Citizenship—$100
  • Work Permits—$150
  • Study Permits—$125
  • Permanent Resident Application Processing Fee—$50
  • Permanent Resident Renewal or Replacement Fee—$50

IMM 5529 Applying for a Travel Document

Citizens of Canada are not required to obtain travel documents because, as citizens, they are always allowed to re-enter the country regardless of their condition. Permanent Residents, on the other hand, are subject to residency requirements and therefore need to apply for travel documents to re-enter Canada.

This is of course only necessary if the travelling Permanent Resident does not have a current and valid Permanent Resident Card. If the Card has been lost, damaged or stolen, it can be replaced. After a certain period of time, all Permanent Resident Cards will expire, at which time they will need to be renewed.

In order to obtain a travel document an immigrant must be a Permanent Resident and have been in Canada for at least 730 out of the past1825 days, or that they will be able to meet that mark when they reach five years of Permanent Residency. There are some instances where you may be able to accrue residency days even when abroad. Travel permit

Every member of your family must fill out an application; much of the application is rather straight forward and self-explanatory.

The fee for this application is $50 in Canadian dollars and will not be refunded in any circumstance.

The application itself, IMM 5524, should be submitted at the Canadian consulate where you are currently travelling abroad. If there is not a consulate in that country, submit your application to the nearest Canadian consulate.

The consulate officer will then decide if you are eligible to receive a travel counterfoil in your passport so that you can return to Canada, it is highly recommended that you renew or replace your Permanent Resident Card immediately after returning home.

If you choose to use a representative to apply for a travel document you will need to have the representative file an additional form that grants him or her the right to file on your behalf.