Canada’s immigration laws provide for a two step process for all visa applications. Immigration officers outside Canada carry out stage one; stage two is carried out for the most part by a port of entry (“POE”) immigration officer. The arrival of an immigrant with an immigrant visa is evidence that when the visa was issued, the visa officer was satisfied that the immigrant met Canada’s admission requirements as outlined in the Act and its attendant Regulations. At the point of arrival however, landing is not an automatic right: immigrants must still satisfy the POE immigration officer that entry is permissible: A12(1).
The immigration landing process is likewise a two step procedure: The first step entails a verification of the immigration visa/record of landing, while the second step involves the completion of the record of landing for admission into Canada.
Immigrants are under a statutory obligation to answer truthfully all questions posed by an immigration officer and to produce documentation as may be required by the officer for the purpose of establishing whether the person shall be allowed into Canada: A11(4).
During the verification and question process a POE officer will ensure THAT:
- The immigrant does not fall within the various inadmissible classes outlined in Sections 19(1)& (2) of the Act.
The inadmissible classes referenced under section 19 refer to persons who are suffering from serious medical disorders; persons affected by criminality issues and more commonly, persons who are unable or unwilling to support themselves and their dependants. Our web site writing on settlement funds briefly outlines the requirements regarding support.
- Admissibility has not been affected by a material change in circumstances. Immigrants will be questioned to confirm their intention to establish permanent residence in Canada.
Material change in circumstances include discrepancies that would have affected the decision by the overseas visa officer to issue the visa. Generally, material changes involve a change in marital status, the birth or adoption of a child or the death of a family member. Where in the opinion of the POE officer, the change in circumstances is significant such that the visa issuance would not have occurred, landing will be deferred.
The issue of intended destination has become the subject of a department memorandum. Applicants landing in the Province of Quebec without a valid Quebec Certificate of Selection and who appear destined to Quebec, will not, pursuant to current department directives, be admitted as a landed resident. Where it appears to the POE officer that the intended destination is the Province of Quebec, landing will be deferred until a valid CSQ has been procured.
Applicants who have previously declared their intended destination as being the Province of Quebec and who land outside the province, will generally not incur difficulties. Caution should be exercised. Applicants who have stated an intention to reside in Quebec are entitled to change their destination. At issue is how and when this material change occurs.
- The immigrant meets the requirements of the Class of immigrants under which the visa was issued.
Immigrants who arrive in Canada will be questioned to ensure they meet the Class under which the visa was issued. Immigrants with the intention of studying may face difficulties when attempting to land as an immigrant. Business immigrants will be questioned on the availability and transferability of their assets.
Upon receipt of an immigrant visa\record of landing from the visa office, the following reminders should be taken into consideration before departing for Canada:
Verification of information – Ensure that all of the information appearing on the record of landing is correct and that all accompanying dependants are listed in Box 14 of the principal applicant’s visa. Confirm that all of the visas are signed by the visa officer in Box 35.
Do not sign the record of landing until presentation before an immigration officer at the port of entry.
Visa Validity Date – Box 33 of the record of landing will specify the date by which an immigrant must present for admission to Canada. Canadian law does not provide for the extension or the renewal of the visa validity date, which generally coincides, with the one-year anniversary of the initial medical examination. The main applicant and all accompanying dependants must enter Canada before the visa expiry date.
Accompanying dependants must land with or after the principal applicant.
Change in civil status – A marriage, divorce or birth/adoption of a child must be reported to the visa office before departing for Canada.
Minor errors or amendments such as changes in passport numbers and passport validity dates, typographical errors in the names or dates of birth of the principal applicant or accompanying dependants, changes in the address of the sponsor need not be reported to the Embassy and must be brought to the attention of the POE immigration officer.
Personal documents – It is recommended that all documents relating to civil status, professional qualifications, medical history (immunizations, vaccinations and dental records), proof of funds, driver’s license, previous driving insurance records, children’s school records, etc, are prepared for the landing process. Most importantly a valid passport must be available for presentation to the POE immigration officer for each immigrant. Diplomatic passports are not considered acceptable for landing purposes.
Terms and Conditions – Business entrepreneur applicants, fiance(e)s, and persons with medical surveillance notations must meet the terms and conditions denoted in Box 43 of the visa. These are conditions of landing and failure to comply may result in deportation in the future.
List of goods and possessions – Immigrants should prepare two detailed lists of personal possessions on a plain sheet of paper entitled: Annex “A” Goods in Possession and Annex “B” Goods to Follow. Possessions of value should include serial numbers with the approximate value of each item as well as insurance policies or jeweler’s appraisals. This information will be presented to the Customs Officials following the admission process. Items that have been owned, possessed and used, will qualify for importation, duty -free.
Vehicle registration – Imported vehicles must meet Canadian safety and air emission control standards. Consultation with Transport Canada is advisable.
Animals – Pet dogs and cats younger than three months old from the United States may enter Canada without documentation. Pet dogs and cats from the United States that are three months or older can be imported provided that a current veterinarian certificate is presented evidencing vaccination against rabies within the last three years. Contact with the Animal Health Division of Agriculture Canada is otherwise advisable.
Immigrants will be counseled on the issue of preserving permanent residence. This issue has been addressed in our writings: Returning Resident Permit – A False Sense of Security andReturning Resident Permit – FAQ .
Once all of the formalities of the admission process have been completed the signed immigrant visa and record of landing will form the basis for future statutory admissions to Canada: A4(1).