Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to appeal a refusal?
No. You may want to re-file a new application in the case of a sponsorship. However, you should get legal advice before refiling any application.
What exactly is involved in an appeal?
In a sponsorship appeal, the Appellant (person who appeals) and the Applicant (person who is being sponsored) give evidence. The Appellant attends in person at the hearing room to give evidence and the Applicant gives evidence by phone. In other types of appeals, persons who have knowledge of the appeal matter may be witnesses who testify in person or by phone.
The opposing party to the appeal is the Respondent, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), which is counsel for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. CBSA will serve its Appeal Record and disclosure at least 20 days before the hearing.
Do I have to go to Court?
Yes, and usually, in person at the IAD. You can apply for permission to give evidence by telephone but reasons for the application must be well-established and well-supported.
Can my spouse visit me during the appeal process?
Where is the appeal hearing held?
The appeal is heard in a hearing room at the IAD in Canada. In Toronto, the hearings are at 74 Victoria Street, just north of the King subway station, east of Yonge Street. Some cases are linked by videoconference to the IAD in Montreal.
What should I bring to the hearing?
You must file documents in support of the appeal at least 20 days before the hearing date. You must also file Witness Information at least 20 days before the hearing date which discloses the names and contact information of the witnesses to the IAD and CBSA.
Who decides the appeal?
A member of the Immigration Appeal Division presides at the hearing. He or she is an independent decision maker who hears each side's evidence and submissions.
What are the chances of success?
Success depends upon the presentation of the documents in support of the appeal and upon the preparation of the witnesses, including the Appellant. Although there is no obligation to hire a lawyer or consultant to prepare and attend an appeal hearing, we strongly recommend that an Appellant do so since the rules of procedure (called the Immigration Appeal Division Rules) are complex and there is a particular order to follow in the hearings room. Moreover, since the IAD decision becomes a public document and can be viewed on databases via internet, retaining the services of a competent and professional advocate ensures that sensitive information is properly presented with the preservation of privacy rights as much as possible.
What happens if I lose the appeal?
Within 15 calendar days of receiving a refusal from the IAD, the Appellant may file an Application for Leave and for Judicial Review to the Federal Court of Canada to ask the Court for permission to review the decision of the IAD. The application must be made on the basis that there is an error of law in the IAD decision. We strongly recommend consulting with a lawyer for an opinion on the chances of success if challenging an IAD decision.
Can experience gained in Canada without proper work or study authorization be counted under the Canadian Experience Class?
In most cases, you must have held a study permit and/or work permit to be eligible for this program. Unauthorized periods of study or work will not be counted.
Does part-time work experience count toward meeting the requirements for work experience?
Yes, but it will take you longer than an applicant who has worked full-time to accumulate the amount of hours necessary to apply.
I worked part-time while studying full-time at a Canadian school. Does this work experience count?
Unfortunately only work experience gained after completion of an eligible Canadian post-secondary program is counted.
I am studying at a Canadian post-secondary institution now. How can I get a work permit after graduation?
You will likely be eligible for a post-graduate work permit. You don't need arranged employment or a labour market opinion to get it, but you must apply within 90 days of receiving your final grades.
Does the point system apply to the Canadian Experience Class?
No. This is one of the advantages of the program. However, you will have to take an exam to test your language proficiency in English or French.
Can lower-skilled workers apply to stay permanently under the Canadian Experience Class?
No. However, Provincial Nominee Programs are available to lower-skilled workers. These are workers in jobs classified at skill levels C and D under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) System. Applying for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class is restricted to Skill Type 0 (managerial occupations) or Skill Level A (professional occupations) or B (technical occupations and skilled trades) in the NOC To get a positive LMO
Are there any conditions on my Work Permit?
Your work permit will normally include the following conditions: the type of work you can do; the employer you can work for; where you can work; and, how long you can work. A complete list of conditions that may be put on your work permit is contained in Regulation 185 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
Can my spouse or common-law partner and dependent children come with me to Canada?
Your spouse or common-law partner and dependent children can come with you to Canada or visit you in Canada, but they must meet all the requirements for temporary residents to Canada. If your spouse or common-law partner and children need temporary resident visas, they must also meet all the conditions for obtaining those visas.
Can my spouse or common-law partner work while in Canada?
Your spouse or common-law partner may qualify for an "open" work permit which allows them to accept any job with any employer. In this case, an LMO would not be required. For your spouse to apply for an open work permit, you must meet specific conditions.
Can my dependent children work while in Canada?
If your dependent children want to work while in Canada, they must apply for their own work permit. Normally, they must meet the same requirements that you do, including (if needed) a labour market opinion (
However, in two provinces; namely, Ontario and Alberta, an agreement respecting the Temporary Foreign Worker Program has been entered into with the federal government, wherein your dependent children may qualify for a work permit that does not require an
The work permit will be valid for a period of one year from the date it is issued OR for the duration of the parent or guardian's work permit.
Note: Some jobs have age restrictions. Your employer is responsible for ensuring that you are old enough to work in the job in question, in addition to verifying any other provincial requirements.
Jobs that involve working with children or jobs in the health care field will require that your dependent children complete a medical examination.
Will I need a medical examination?
You will need a satisfactory medical assessment to obtain a work permit if:
you wish to work in facilities where it is important to protect public health, such as:
- health services
- child care;
- primary or secondary education; OR
- you are coming to work in an agricultural occupation and you have lived in a designated country or territory; OR
- you are seeking to enter Canada to work for a period greater than six months, and you have lived in a designated country or territory for six consecutive months during the one-year period immediately preceding the date of your seeking entry.
If a medical examination is required, you will be informed by an officer who will send you instructions on how to proceed. The officer's decision is based on the type of job you will have and where you lived in the past year.
How many days must I live in Canada in order to qualify for Canadian citizenship?
The Citizenship Act of Canada indicates that you must reside in Canada for 1095 days.
Are there any exceptions to this rule?
Because the term reside or residence in Canada is not defined in the act as physical presence, some persons may be able to qualify for citizenship without being physically present in Canada for 1095 days within the four year period. A citizenship judge is allowed discretion to grant citizenship to persons with less than 1095 days in exceptional circumstances.
I am a Canadian citizen and I wish to marry a person from France. Does my spouse become a Canadian citizen upon arrival in Canada?
Spouses of Canadian citizens must go through the same process as others to become Canadian citizens. First they must become permanent residents of Canada via the normal immigration process , and once they have been granted PR status and meet the residency obligation under the citizenship act, they can apply for Canadian citizenship.
Do I have to be able to speak English and French in order to qualify for citizenship?
No you do not have to communicate in both English and French, but must to be able to communicate effectively in one of these two official languages. The only exception is for those individuals who are over 55 years of age.
Do I have to give up my citizenship in my country of birth when I become a Canadian citizen?
No, you can maintain dual nationality. Canada does not require you to renounce citizenship from a former country.
How long is the appeal process?
If filed in Toronto, about 2 years from the filing of the Notice to Appeal to a hearing date at the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).
I was visiting family in my home country and while we were shopping, my wallet was stolen. It contained my PR card, credit cards and money. How can I return to Canada?
You must report the theft to the local police immediately. The local authorities should provide you with a written confirmation/report about the incident. Subsequently, you must contact the nearest Canadian Consulate or Canadian Embassy and apply for a Travel Document.
I accidentally put my PR Card into the washing machine with my clothes and it is now not legible. Should I report it to the immigration authorities? I am planning to go on vacation soon and wonder if my card because is still valid in its condition?
You should to apply for a new PR card and follow the instructions given for this type of case.
What does "federal skilled worker" mean?
Skilled workers are selected as permanent residents based on their education, work experience, knowledge of English and/or French, and other criteria that have been shown to help them become economically established in Canada.
The term "federal skilled worker" refers to the category under which skilled workers apply if they want to live in any Canadian province or territory except Quebec.
Skilled workers who want to live in Quebec apply under a separate category. The province of Quebec selects its own skilled workers and therefore applicants going to Quebec through that program are known as "Quebec-selected" skilled workers.
Who can apply to become a Federal Skilled Worker?
There are now 2 categories under which applicants may be eligible to apply for the Skilled Worker program:
- Workers with at least one year of full-time experience in one of the 28 professions identified by The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
- Workers who have an arranged employment offer with a Canadian employer
What professions are on the Minister's list?
- Restaurant and Food Service Managers
- Primary Production Managers (Except Agriculture)
- Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management
- Insurance Adjusters and Claims Examiners
- Biologists and Related Scientists
- Specialist Physicians
- General Practitioners and Family Physicians
- Registered Nurses
- Medical Radiation Technologists
- Dental Hygienists & Dental Therapists
- Licensed Practical Nurses
- Social Workers
- Contractors and Supervisors, Carpentry Trades
- Contractors and Supervisors, Mechanic Trades
- Electricians (Except Industrial & Power System)
- Industrial Electricians
- Welders & Related Machine Operators
- Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanics
- Crane Operators
- Drillers & Blasters - Surface Mining, Quarrying & Construction
- Supervisors, Oil and Gas Drilling and Service
I receive ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program)from the government. Can I sponsor my husband?
Yes. The OSDP is not considered social assistance.
My boyfriend and I have been living together for the last 2 years. Do I need to marry in order to sponsor him?
No. If you have cohabited with your boyfriend for at least 1 year, you can sponsor him under the common-law partner category. However, living together is not the only criteria. You have to demonstrate that there is a high level of commitment in your relationship.
How much should I earn per year in order to sponsor my spouse?
You do not need to meet a minimum necessary income in order to sponsor a spouse or common law partner, but you cannot be on social assistance.
My husband has a minor child from a previous relationship. Does he need to mention the child on the application?
Yes. Any accompanying or non-accompanying dependent children have to be included on your application; otherwise you will not be able to sponsor them in the future.
I would like to sponsor my parents. My mother suffers from diabetes. Can I sponsor her?
Not if her diabetes might cause excessive demand on existing social or health services provided by the government.
My husband is a failed refugee claimant under a removal order. Can I file a sponsorship application in Canada?
No. One of the requirements to file an in-land sponsorship application is that there be no removal order in force.
I was sponsored to come to Canada. I have a child from a previous marriage. The child was on my application as a non-accompanying dependent but wasn't medically examined. Can I sponsor him now?
No. If a dependent child is not medically examined, you lose the right to sponsor him/her in the future unless there are exceptional circumstances.
I want to sponsor my parents but I do not meet the income requirement. Can my husband co-sign the sponsorship?
Yes, your spouse qualifies as a co-signer.
I am a Permanent Resident of Canada married to a foreign citizen. We are currently living outside Canada. Can I sponsor my wife?
No, only a Canadian citizen can sponsor a spouse even though s/he lives outside Canada. As a Canadian citizen, you will have to prove that you intend to relocate to Canada once your spouse becomes a Permanent Resident of Canada.
I sponsored my husband to become a permanent resident of Canada. A few weeks after landing, he left me. Can I withdraw the sponsorship?
No. Once a final decision was made in your application, you can not withdraw your sponsorship.
Do I need a passport to enter the United States?
Yes. Everyone going to the Untied States needs a passport. If you have had your passport stolen or you lost it while abroad, you need to contact the local American Consulate to ask what can be done to gain permission to enter while a new passport is being processed.
Can I be a dual citizen of the United States and another country, like Canada?
Yes. American law allows for dual citizenship provided you do not renounce your American citizenship in any way upon obtaining the citizenship of any other country. You need to check the citizenship laws of your native country to determine whether they allow for dual citizenship with the United States. For example, Canada's laws do allow for dual citizenship.
I am going to the United States for a visit. How long can I stay?
The normal stay for a visitor is six months. If you are entering the United States as a business visitor or as a tourist and your passport is simply stamped at the port of entry, you are allowed to stay for a period of six months. Sometimes, visa officers will record a shorter period of authorized stay in your passport, indicating by what day you must leave. In that case, your period of authorized stay is limited by the entry in your passport.
After visiting the United States for six months, do I then have to be away from the United States for six months before I return again?
No. In theory you can leave the United States and then come right back in for another six months. However, the immigration officer may wonder how you are surviving without work in the USA and whether in fact you are living there illegally. It is a judgment call at the border on this matter. If you have strong roots in your home country that suggest you will return there, you will be more likely to be granted a new visitor's visa.
I am from a Visa Waiver country, from the European Union for example, how long can I come in on a visa waiver?
You are authorized to stay for a maximum 90 days - no extensions. If you need to stay for longer, you should apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa at a US Consulate so you can stay for up to six months.
How much money or wealth can I bring with me to the United States?
You can bring up to $ 10,000 with you without having to declare it. If you have more than $ 10,000, following your arrival, you need to declare that fact. There is no limit on the amount you are entitled to bring provided you declare the amounts.
Can I work while I am on a business visit in the United States?
No. A business visit means you are doing business in the United States. Doing business entails such things as attending meetings, signing contracts, taking part in seminars, obtaining purchase orders for your products, visiting institutions and the like. What you cannot do is "hands-on" work such as answering phones, typing letters, making sales calls for a US company and the like. There is a fine line between these two activities that you must not cross.
What kind of evidence should I produce to satisfy US officials that I will return home following my stay in the USA?
You should have a driver's license, a social insurance card in Canada or something similar from abroad, a health care card, some proof of a job, a bank statement, membership cards in various clubs or associations and other such documents. Hopefully your address on all documents is the same. Even pictures of your family help.
I have a girlfriend (boyfriend) in the United States. I want to visit. Any problems?
Yes. If the immigration officer at the port of entry learns of a romantic tie between you and someone in the United States they are likely to ask a lot of questions and possibly bar your entry. That is because such a tie strongly suggests good reason to believe you will not likely leave the US at the end of your period of authorized stay. Be prepared to answer a lot of questions if the reason you are going to the US has anything to do with romance.
Can I be a permanent resident of the United States and Canada at the same time?
The quick answer to this question is yes.
The concept of permanent residence is different in the United States than it is in Canada. The difference in definition of the term makes it possible, albeit not easy, to maintain permanent residence in the two countries. The issue has become particularly important ever since both countries adopted the approach of regular reviews of permanent resident status: every five years in Canada, every ten years in the United States.
You say each country defines residence differently. How does the US define it?
Under U.S. immigration law, permanent residence is defined by domicile. Domicile is a legal term that might best be described as where your "home" is as opposed to where your "houses" might be. For example, a person might have a residence in Paris, London and New York, but only one domicile - that is, a place he or she regards as "home". Domicile, under American law, is an ingredient that connotes long term attachment to a place of residence.
How does Canada define it?
Under Canadian immigration law, permanent residence is defined by an objective physical presence test. According to Canadian law, as long as you are physically present in Canada for a cumulative period of not less than two years (or 730 days) in any five year period, you are maintaining permanent residence in Canada. So, for example, in any five year period, A Canadian resident could choose to live three years straight in the United States provided that he or she then returned to live in Canada for the last two years. Or, put another way, a Canadian resident could live a few months in the United States, then travel up to Canada for a few weeks then return to the U.S. for a few more months, then up to Canada for a few weeks etc., so long as the combined total of all those weeks of physical presence in Canada totaled two years. It is the resident's duty to prove actual physical presence through visa stamps in the passport, airline tickets and the like.
Are there any exceptions to these definitions?
In both instances, U.S. and Canada, there are exceptions for residents working abroad due to military service, or employment with a firm connected to the home country for example. Such instances merit a separate discussion beyond what is covered here. However, most people are impacted by the general rules described above.
So can I maintain residence in both countries?
If you are lucky enough to have a green card proving permanent residence in the United States and a maple leaf card (same as a green card in the U.S.A.) proving permanent residence in Canada, your goal should eventually be to become a citizen of one or both countries. In the meantime, however, you can honestly abide by the requirements of both countries if you maintain domicile in the United States but also ensure you are in Canada sufficiently over the course of each five years to maintain your Canadian status as well. The key to travel, however, will be how you present yourself on entering each country.
How should I present myself to the US?
When entering the United States a permanent resident must present his or her green card. This establishes the prima facie right to enter the country and, as long as you have not been away from the United States for more than six months, you will be routinely allowed to return. The key is not to be absent for more than six months at a time since that is the working formula employed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to determine whether you should be questioned by them about your absence. A failure to show your green card may be interpreted as an indication that you have abandoned your residence in the United States and is, therefore, not a good idea.
Unlike in Canada, where the real showdown is likely to occur on your application to renew your Maple Leaf card, the most likely time when a permanent resident is going to face difficulties in maintaining status in the U.S. is in attempts to enter. This is part of the difference in definitions of permanent residence.
Should I enter Canada on my Maple Leaf card?
Even in the Canadian case, the resident would be wise to enter the country on the maple leaf card. It is important not to confuse these two. And it is important to show only one relevant card when entering the relevant country in order to stay away from further questioning.
Can I eventually become a citizen of both countries?
Assuming the resident keeps the relevant cards straight, he or she can meet the requirements of both counties and ultimately qualify for citizenship in Canada after three years and citizenship in the United States after five years. Once citizenship is acquired in either country the necessity of residence no longer applies. You can be a citizen of the United States and live in Canada for the rest of your life without losing your citizenship. The opposite is also true.
Can you find me a job in Canada?
No, our role is to help the individual who has been offered a job in Canada obtain the necessary clearances and permissions to work legally in Canada. This often involves working with the potential Canadian employer to secure permission from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada/Service Canada to hire the foreign worker before the foreign worker can proceed to apply for a Work Permit.
Where can I look to find out information about jobs available in Canada?
The internet: career links on company websites, job listing and search services such as Monster and Workopolis, and free web sites such as craigslist and kijiji that list jobs in a wide variety of occupations. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada also has job postings on its Job Bank and information about wages and working conditions in the Labour Market Information section. The more traditional sources are newspapers and trade publications related to the specific industry or field of work.
What is a Labour Market Opinion (LMO)?
A Labour Market Opinion is a letter from the Service Canada division of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada ( HRSDC) to your prospective employer confirming that having a foreign worker do the job you are going to do will not have a negative impact on the labour market in Canada. The HRSDC/Service Canada confirmation is normally referred to as a positive labour market opinion. HRSDC/Service Canada looks at several factors, including the availability of Canadians, wages and the economic benefit you as a foreign worker might bring to Canada. Once HRSDC/Service Canada has formed an opinion, it then provides that advice to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The positive LMO is valid for a specific period of time and generally, the work permit will be issued for the same period. To extend your work permit beyond the specified period, your employer will usually have to get a new confirmation from HRSDC/Service Canada. LMO) from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. LMO. More specifically; an "open" work permit that will allow them to accept almost any job with any employer. For your dependent children to apply for an open work permit under this pilot you must meet specific conditions. Thereafter, your dependent children will need to meet specific requirements and conditions as well.