ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletins 022 - August 22, 2006

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Assessing declared residence

This Operational Bulletin has expired.

Background

The purpose of this operational bulletin is to affirm that citizenship officers must be satisfied that a file contains the information necessary to make a determination on residence prior to submitting that file to a citizenship judge for decision. In turn, the officer must also be satisfied that there is sufficient information on file when granting citizenship or considering a possible ministerial appeal of the citizenship judge’s determination.

Outlined below are indications that an applicant’s declared residence could be in question and options available to the officer for further inquiry.

Policy

Citizenship judges determine whether an adult applicant meets the residence requirement in accordance with the Citizenship Act. Prior to submitting an application to a citizenship judge, a citizenship officer must be satisfied that the evidence available on file is sufficient for the citizenship judge to make an informed decision.

While the great majority of applicants declare all absences from Canada when applying for citizenship, there may be certain indications on a file that further examination is necessary. If a citizenship officer believes declared residence could be in question, the officer must gather and evaluate additional relevant information. If the information indicates that a hearing is required or if questions remain, the client must be scheduled for a hearing with a citizenship judge.

Citizenship officers have the discretion to request and verify additional documentation from applicants up to the point that the citizenship judge is seized of the application. Once seized, the citizenship judge may request additional information from the applicant.

Indications declared residence may be in question

The following list, while not exhaustive, includes indications that further inquiry into declared residence may be required. It is important to note that indications alone do not necessarily mean a case of residence not being met. Their weight and credibility vary and must be considered in conjunction with all information on file.

Residence declaration

  • Applicant declares Non-Permanent Resident (NPR) time which cannot be confirmed through immigration documents, FOSS, or stamps in passport and NPR time is needed in order to meet the residence requirement. (CPC referral.)
  • Applicant cannot adequately or convincingly account for time spent within the past four years.

—Previous applications

  • Applicant had a previous application for citizenship that was refused on residence. (CPC referral.)
  • Applicant had a previous application for citizenship that was abandoned or withdrawn. (CPC referral.)

—Passport

  • Stamps in passport indicate that the applicant has not declared all absences from Canada.
  • When coming to write an exam or to have a quality assurance interview, the client’s passport shows recent entry stamp to Canada or an exit stamp from another country.
  • Client presents a new passport but cannot account for passports used during the relevant four year period, or client is in possession of a new passport issued outside Canada.
  • Client is asked to present passport at an exam or scheduled appointment but does not bring it.

—Immigration

  • NCB (non-computer based entry in FOSS similar to a client note in GCMS) indicates that the applicant travels often, that Immigration has received information that the applicant does not reside in Canada, that the applicant relinquished or attempted to relinquish permanent resident status while outside Canada, or that the applicant has lost or is subject to loss of permanent resident while outside Canada (for example an RX-1 visa was issued).
  • An individual has been identified by Immigration as being subject to loss of permanent resident status in Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act because he or she did not meet the residency obligation.

—Other indications

  • CIC receives a letter or an e-mail from the Call Centre or there is a client/case note in GCMS indicating information has been received that the applicant travels often or that the applicant does not reside in Canada.
  • The documents appear to be suspicious or fraudulent.
  • There is a major discrepancy between the appearance of the signature on the photograph and the signature on the application.
  • The photographs submitted with the application were taken outside of Canada but no absences are listed on the application.
  • The employer phone number not stated on an adult application, the area code for a person’s employment is different from their home area code, or employer cannot be contacted.
  • A number of applicants are using the same Articles of Incorporation for Canadian companies or are listing the same persons as members of the Board of Directors for a Canadian company.
  • A letter of employment is signed by the applicant or by a member of the applicant’s immediate family.
  • A number of applicants are sharing the same residential address, home telephone numbers or business address, but they do not submit applications together.
  • Multiple applications are completed in the same handwriting or typewriting style but are not submitted together and section 12 of the application form (indicating that someone has assisted in the completion of the application) has not been filled out.
  • There are different handwritings on the application form and Section 12 is not completed.
  • The date of application is within times shown as being outside of Canada.
  • Work outside Canada is presented as assignment by a Canadian company when applicant or relative is the actual owner or shareholder of the company.
  • The client who has been asked to provide fingerprints has them taken outside Canada.
  • Provincial healthcare card is expired.

Documents that can provide additional information on residence

The following documents can provide additional information where residence questions exist:

—Passport/Travel Documents: When requested, applicants are required to provide all passports, current and previously issued relevant to the four year period. Citizenship officials must review passport stamps in all passports issued during the relevant time period when a client comes in for testing, or any time prior to submitting an application to a citizenship judge for decision. If the passport or travel document has been issued in the last five years, or if it has been replaced by a document which would otherwise still be valid, the applicant should provide the cancelled passport as well as the valid one. If the old passport or travel document was lost or stolen, a police report may be requested. Note: Judgment must be exercised as some countries do not return previous passports to clients and some applicants (e.g., refugees) may have entered Canada without a passport.

  • When assessing stamps in passports, it is important to look at entry stamps to Canada and entry stamps to other countries which could indicate departures from Canada. The shape of these stamps may also be informative as many countries use different shapes to indicate entry and exit, e.g., entry stamps (oval) could be presented as exit stamps (square). When assessing entry visas, it might be pertinent to look at the validity dates and the status under which entry was given (visitor, student, worker, etc.) Note: Since not all countries, including Canada, routinely stamp passports at entry, a lack of entry stamps is not always indicative that no absences have occurred.

FOSS check: NCB entries in FOSS.

  • The Immigration program is responsible for providing immigration clearances for citizenship applicants as well as informing local offices if an applicant’s immigration status has changed. However, citizenship officers may choose to look for NCB entries in FOSS when examining declared residence.

—Proof of employment: Pay cheque stubs, T4’s, statement of earnings, federal or provincial income tax assessments, or a letter from the employer.

—Proof of attendance at a school: Transcripts of marks, report cards, letter of confirmation of attendance.

—Financial records: Financial records of a company if the applicant is self-employed.

—Banking records: Statements of transactions showing activity in Canada; credit card bills in the sole name of the applicant showing regular purchases in Canada; cancelled cheques showing regular payments or purchases in Canada. A letter from a bank showing that the applicant has an account does not necessarily establish residence in Canada. Regular payments do not necessarily indicate residence in Canada, e.g., post-dated cheques, standing payment orders to bank, internet banking.

—Personal records: Utility bills (telephone, electricity, cable, water tax, etc.) in the applicant’s name. Records of automobile leasing or purchase, insurance policies, driver’s license. Records of personal services (dental bills, record of services paid by provincial health authorities). The latter document is available on request by the applicant to the provincial authorities. Lease in the applicant’s name with proof of payment of rent, e.g., cancelled cheques, receipts for cash payments. Record from a government agency showing payment of social services benefits. In some cases, these documents might indicate that the family is here and not necessarily the applicant.

—Children’s report cards or records of attendance: If the applicant is responsible for dependent children, their report cards or records of attendance at a school in Canada.

—Affidavits: Affidavits from associates, friends, or colleagues may be presented but may be considered of limited value. The same is true of letters from community organizations. Although the writers may be acting in good faith, they may in fact have limited knowledge of the applicant’s regular presence in Canada.

—Proof of Volunteer Work: Some groups may provide confirmation of time spent volunteering for their organizations.

—Government entry/ exit records: Some countries keep a record of movement of their nationals to record their entry and exit out of their country, such as Records of Movement. In these cases, CIC may ask the applicant to provide such documents to substantiate his/her declarations.

Note: The above list is only a suggestion of documents that could be presented to confirm statements about residence. Their weight and credibility vary. Some documents are merely passive indications of residence that can be accumulated over an extended period of time without actually living in Canada. Supporting documents in conjunction with the information provided on the application form must satisfy the citizenship officer that there is sufficient information to make a decision.

Procedure

Citizenship officers must exercise sound judgment when evaluating information and identifying situations that may call into question the validity of an applicant’s declared residence. These indications can be found any time during the application process: the initial assessment of the application, the clearance process, during an interview, during a test session, as a referral from another official, through third party information, or during any communications between an officer and a client.

Steps in assessing residence

—If a client declares less than 1,095 days of physical presence or there are indications that not all absences have been declared, the citizenship officer must examine additional information and request further documents from the client including:

  • a residence questionnaire and additional supporting documentation.

If warranted, the citizenship officer may request an interview with the client, either in person or over the phone. In this case, the citizenship officer must continue to use the declared absences on the application form as the point of reference when evaluating residence.

—If the additional information satisfies the citizenship officer that all absences have been declared and the client has 1,095 or more days of physical presence in Canada, the client can continue through the regular processing track. All information gathered in the process of examining the client’s declared residence must be kept on file.

—If the additional information does not satisfy the citizenship officer that all absences from Canada have been declared, the client must be scheduled for a hearing with a citizenship judge. All information gathered in the process of examining the client’s declared residence must be kept on file, and a covering memo detailing the citizenship officer’s concerns should accompany the file (see memo template attached as annex A.)

—If the client fails to provide additional information, this should be noted on the file and brought to the attention of the citizenship judge.

—If a citizenship judge non-approves an application where it is suspected the client has failed to declare absences, the file should be forwarded to Case Management Branch for possible charges under section 29 of the Citizenship Act.

—If an application has been approved by a citizenship judge, and the citizenship officer is not satisfied that the applicant has met all of the requirements for citizenship, the citizenship officer must send the file to Case Management for possible Ministerial appeal.

—In the case of suspected fraudulent or counterfeit documents.

—Immigration should be advised of any information on residence that may affect permanent resident status.


Annex A — FILM

PLEASE KEEP THIS NOTICE ON TOP OF FILE AT ALL TIMES

To: [Citizenship Judge]         GCMS file #: _____________

From: [Citizenship Officer]    Date: ___________________

Re: Details of inquiry into applicant’s declared residence

The following information has been collected with regard to the residence of the above mentioned client:

Case background:

Reason for referral:

Documentation provided by client:

Other relevant information:

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