Canadian Permanent Residence Card Applications

How long does it take to get a PR card?

If you are applying for a Permanent Residence Card at the border for the first time (that is, you are getting landing status) you will receive the card in the mail within 4-6 weeks. So the time to get your Permanent Resident card is about a month and a half.   The time for everyone else to get their first PR card in Canada is approximately 6-8 weeks, give or take.

How long does it take renew a PR card?

If you meet the residency requirements, and there are no issues with your application, it takes approximately 6-8 weeks for the residence card to be processed.  However, if  Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) decides to investigate your matter or if they are concerned with your application, the processing time may take longer depending on the nature of the investigation they undertake.  There may be up to several months delay.

Once my card is approved, where do I pick up my PR card?

If you are in Toronto, most likely you will be directed to the CIC office located at Yonge and St. Clair.  The exact information will be provided to you in a letter sent by CIC.

When I pick up my PR card, what documents do I need to take with me?

CIC will send you a letter with a list of documents you will need to provide.  But you should be prepared to bring all of the original documents you included in your application.

What do I do if I lost my PR card?

If you lose your Permanent Resident Card, you must contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada immediately (call 1-888-242-2100 or go to the nearest office) and also make an application for a new card.

How do I change my address on my PR card?

To change the address on your Permanent Residence Card, you may contact the CIC Call Center at 1-888-242-2100, or you may write to the office notifying them of change of address.

Can I travel or drive to the United States with a PR card?

It depends. You must meet the requirements to enter the US, including obtaining an entry visa from the US Consulate, as well, if it is suggested that you travel with a valid passport.

Can I travel to the US with an expired PR card?

This depends on various factors and we recommend that you do not travel with an expired PR card.  Generally, if you have a valid US visa and a valid passport, you may be allowed entry into the US if the US immigration officer is satisfied that the purpose of your entry to the United States is only temporary.  However, you will most likely encounter difficulty returning to Canada with an expired PR and you may be refused entry to Canada.  Please contact one of our lawyers for further information.

Can I travel abroad with an expired PR card?

We recommend that you obtain a renewal of your card in advance.  However, if the nature of your travel is urgent, you may ask for expedited processing of your PR card. You may leave Canada with an expired PR card, however to return you will need to obtain a Travel Permit from a Canadian immigration office abroad.

What do I do if my PR card expired while I am abroad?

If you are outside Canada and your Permanent Card  has expired, you should go to the nearest Canadian Embassy or Consulate and apply for a Travel Document.

How do I expedite getting my PR card in case of emergency?

There are various factors that can be used to expedite the processing of the PR card.  It is advisable that you contact one of our experienced immigration lawyers.


Immigration Fraud – What You Have to Watch For

We have written extensively about immigration fraud perpetrated by Immigration Consultants. Sadly, now it’s the immigration lawyer’s turn.

According to two lawsuits filed in San Francisco Superior Court this week, an immigration lawyer defrauded thousands of people looking for a better life in the United States over a career spanning more than three decades.

The lawyer, Martin Resendez Guajardo, has since been disbarred.

The ins and outs of immigration lawyer fraud

Guajardo is accused of charging extremely high and unnecessary fees while not doing the proper legal footwork to give his clients what they paid for, along with giving out just plain bad advice. In one cases, he charged $70,000 for work that would normally cost around $6,000. He had also been disciplined by the California State Bar at least twice in the 1990s for misconduct, and eventually resigned from the bar in 2008 because he was facing more problems. However, he continued to practice law without a license and did not inform his clients of this.

Avoiding immigration lawyer fraud

With what may be your life’s savings, livelihood and future on the line, it’s important to do your research and avoid immigration lawyer fraud.

Firstly, beware of some immigration consultants because the Canadian government is still dealing with reports of shady immigration consultants taking people’s money without doing any work. While the government has made a few changes, the industry is still not regulated properly in Canada, not to mention those outside of Canada. In most cases, people who run into problems with these consultants will have little recourse.

Ask your family, friends and co-workers about their dealings with immigration lawyers. It’s easier to remember a bad experience than a good one, and you’ll likely find some names to cross of your list or even a positive recommendation.

Don’t hesitate to use Google If the lawyer has an established practice, it’s more than likely you will find reviews and recommendations on several business sites online to avoid immigration lawyer fraud. There are of course, no guarantees.


Skilled Worker Application Changes

On Saturday, June 26th, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced in a news conference that the number of jobs considered for fast-tracking for skilled worker applications would be narrowed down to a list of 29 occupations and that a cap would be placed on the number of applications processed. The number of applications processed per year as of June 26th, 2010 is 20,000.

This means that after June 26th, only 20,000 applications will be considered for processing within the next 12 months and 1,000 of those applications under the 20,000 cap are designated for Federal Skilled Worker applications.

The jobs that made the list place a greater emphasis on economic recovery and include restaurant and food service managers, architects, biologists, pharmacists, dentists, chefs, cooks, specialist physicians and plumbers.

In order for an application to be considered for processing, the results of an official language proficiency test must be included as well as a valid offer of employment or one full year full-time or equivalent part-time paid and continuous work experience in one of the 29 professions within the past 10 years.

It’s safe to say everyone will be scrambling to get these applications underway and sent off as soon as possible in order to qualify to immigrate to Canada as a skilled worker. This also makes it especially important to have an immigration lawyer help you ensure that your paperwork is filled out properly and that no omissions or errors are made because it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity because of a simple paperwork error or omitted requirement.

I frankly am surprised that these changes were made given our aging demographics, increased global competition and recent economic recession. Canada more than ever needs more and more skilled workers to meet its labor needs. Imposing an annual cap services would serve the opposite effect, limiting potential immigrant candidates for needed jobs.

We will have to see how this all plays out but it seems that the Conservative government likes to use “blunt instruments” when it comes to immigration policies to solve systemic problems. My prediction is that more damage than good will come out of these changes but only time will tell.