What An Officer Looks For When You Arrive At The Border?

Posted in PR Card Renewal

The immigration officer must allow a permanent resident to enter Canada if satisfied following an examination that you meet the residency requirements.

Verifying Permanent Resident Status

Your PR card is the only valid proof of permanent resident status in Canada. The following documents are satisfactory indicators of permanent residence:

  • the original Record of Landing,
  • a certified true copy of a Record of Landing document issued by CIC National Headquarters,
  • a letter issued by CIC National Headquarters verifying permanent residence,
  • a passport duly stamped showing the date on which permanent residence was granted, if the person was granted permanent resident status before 1973, and
  • a Confirmation of Permanent Residence document

What Happens When You Come To The Border Without Any Proof Of Your PR Status?

Officer at the border have full discretion to authorize the entry of permanent residents, even in the absence of documentation. If documentary evidence is not available, the officer at Immigration Secondary Inspection will have to establish the person's permanent resident status through questioning and checking the person's status in FOSS.

You could be asked questions such as:

  1. What is your citizenship?
  2. What was the purpose of your exit?
  3. What ties do you have in Canada?
  4. Where do you work?
  5. Where is your family?
  6. When did you obtain your PR card?
  7. When did it expire?

Once the officer is satisfied that you are permanent resident the officer will allow you entry. If your PR card has expired and you do not meet the residency requirements, of course, the question will be more intense. The officer also has the right to deny you entry if he is not satisfied that you meet the residency requirements.

It is therefore very important that you have proper representation. Being prepared is key to being successful at the border.

PR and Inadmissibility

Permanent residents of Canada have the right to enter Canada at the border once it is established that a person is a permanent resident, regardless of non-compliance with the residency obligation.

The officer can refuse entry to a PR card holder only when the person has already lost the status in accordance with the provisions.

Residency Obligation For Permanent Residents

As a permanent Resident you must comply with the residency obligation with respect to every five-year period.

How Can You Meet the Residency Requirements?

The residency requirement is 730 days within the 5 year period. You meet the residency requirements if:

  • you are physically present in Canada,
  • you are outside Canada but accompanying a Canadian citizen spouse or common-law partner or, in the case of a child, their parent,
  • you are outside Canada employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or in the public service of Canada or of a province,
  • you are outside Canada accompanying a permanent resident spouse or common-law partner or, in the case of a child, their parent, who is employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or in the public service for Canada or a province, or
  • you are able to meet other conditions for compliance that are set out in the Regulations.

Was Your Document Seized At The Border?

Officers have the right to seize and hold a document or other things if the officer believes on reasonable grounds that:

  • it was fraudulently or improperly obtained or used,
  • the seizure is necessary to prevent its fraudulent use or improper use, or
  • the seizure is necessary to carry out the purposes of the Act.

Your PR card can be seized and held while the officer is determining whether you are in fact a permanent resident.

The Immigration officer may seize these documents if they have reason to believe that they were fraudulently issued or obtained or to prevent their improper or fraudulent use. For example, if there is a final determination that that you have lost your permanent resident status, the immigration officer may seize and retain your PR card in order to prevent their improper use.

Removal Orders For Not Meeting The Residency Requirements

The decision that a permanent resident has lost their status may be made outside Canada by a visa officer.  Whereas, at a port of entry, if there is evidence that a permanent resident has failed to comply with the residency obligation the officer may write a 44(1) report for the allegation A41(b). If the Minister's delegate finds the report to be well-founded and insufficient humanitarian grounds exist, the Minister's delegate shall issue a departure order pursuant to R228(2). The permanent resident has the right to appeal the decision made outside Canada.

It is therefore very important that you speak to an Immigration Practitioner so you know your rights.

Contact Akrami & Associates Immigration Law firm


For further information with respect your Canadian immigration we invite you to contact our experienced immigration representatives.

Tags: PR Card Renewal Canadian Immigration What An Officer Looks For When You Arrive At The Border?

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