Sunday, June 14, 2009

Arriving In Canada With The Permanent Residence

by invited blog: Correr es mi destino. Author:Zhu

So, you received the great news: “decision made”, you have just obtained the permanent residence in Canada! What’s next now?

Before you arrive

If your permanent resident application is approved, you will be asked to submit your passport to the Canadian visa office where you applied in order to receive your permanent resident visa.

You will get two important documents:

* The confirmation of permanent residence (with identification information, photograph…)
* An entry visa

The confirmation of permanent residence has an expiry date by which you must arrive in Canada. This doesn’t mean you have to settle in Canada by that date, but it does mean you must travel to Canada and become a landed immigrant before the confirmation of permanent residence expiry date. After that, you may come back to your home country and prepare your actual arrival if you wish.

You must have your Confirmation of Permanent Residence and your visa with you when you arrive in Canada.

When landing in Canada

When you arrive in Canada with the permanent residence, you become a landed immigrant. This is a very important step.

Whether your arrive by air or by land, you will first meet an officer from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

The officer will ask to see:

* Your passport
* Your valid permanent resident visa
* Your confirmation of permanent residence
* If you immigrate through a category that requires you to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself (for example, the skilled worker category), the officer will need to see the supporting documents, such as a recent bank statement.

There are a few routines questions to establish your identity and to make sure you gave correct informations that match your application, but this usually only take a few minutes.Make sure you have all your documents with you and everything will be fine!

Be aware that you will be asked to declare items you bring in Canada. Take a moment to check out what you can and can not bring in Canada, and what you must declare. You may want to check “How to I bring my belongs with me?” as well.

After that, the officer will authorize you to enter Canada as a permanent resident. He will also confirm your Canadian mailing address. Your permanent resident card will be mailed to you at this address.

The permanent resident card

A permanent resident card is a small wallet-sized card and a very valuable document, which allows you to prove your status in Canada or when traveling in and out of the country.

Permanent residents cards are not issued on the spot when you arrive in Canada. They are mailed to your Canadian address within a few weeks. If you do not have a Canadian address at the time when you land in Canada, you must supply one to CIC within 180 days (plenty of time!). There is not fee for the permanent resident card applied for at the time of the landing process. It usually takes about 30 days to receive the permanent card after you land in Canada, but it varies (you can check the current processing time here).

The permanent residence card is normally issued for 5 years. It can be renewed if you wish to remain a permanent resident, or you may not need it anymore if you apply for Canadian citizenship after three years of residency!

…And then what?

After landing in Canada, some people decide to go back to their home country for a little while to finalize their move and settle their affairs. Some have houses to sell, some have to finish their work etc. This is perfectly acceptable. Once you become a landed immigrant, your are free to travel in and out of Canada!

However, if you leave Canada before you receive your permanent resident card, you may need to apply for a single-use permanent resident travel document to return to Canada. If you hold a passport from a country that does not need a visitor visa to come to Canada (such the an American or a U.E passport), you should be able to enter Canada without your permanent resident card. See the list of countries which require visa to visit Canada or read the article I need to leave Canada but I do not have my PR card yet for more informations.

Be aware that to keep your status as a permanent resident in Canada, you must meet the residency requirement. This means that you must live in Canada for at least two years within a five-year period. If you don’t, your will lose your permanent residence status (and yes, it does happen a lot).

If you stay in Canada right away after becoming a landed immigrant, you can start applying for Canadian IDs (such as your SIN card), looking for a job, a place to live etc.

About being a permanent residence

As a permanent resident in Canada, you have both rights and responsibilities.You can:

* Live, work or study anywhere in Canada
* Receive most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, such as health coverage
* Be protected under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Your responsibilities include paying taxes and respecting Canadian laws.

Note that as permanent resident, you can not vote or hold certain jobs that have a high security clearance.

You may lose your permanent status if you don’t meet the residency requirements or if you are convicted of a serious crime.

After three years in Canada as a permanent resident, you may choose to apply for Canadian citizenship if you meet the requirements.