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.
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.