ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 205 – May 10, 2010

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Processing applications submitted with the United States Passport Card

This Operational Bulletin has expired. Please refer to OB 205-A for current information.

Issue

Instructions on processing applications for temporary resident status, permanent resident status, or citizenship that are submitted with the United States passport card.

Background

In 2008, the United States of America began issuing the US passport card to ease the implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. This card may be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda at land borders and sea ports-of-entry but cannot be used for international air travel.

Although the US passport card is considered evidence of US citizenship, the format of the passport card, notably its lack of passport pages, poses operational problems and challenges. Firstly, the format prevents CIC from affixing a visa counterfoil to the document. Secondly, the lack of passport pages provides CIC and CBSA employees with less information and prevents them from reviewing entry and exit stamps to assess residence in Canada.

Instructions

Applications for Temporary Resident Status

As US citizens are exempted from the visa requirement, there is no need to affix a visa counterfoil in these cases. Officers may accept the US passport card for processing and should use the passport card number and expiry date in the processing system.

Applications for Permanent Resident Status

A valid passport or travel document book is the usual requirement for permanent resident processing as a permanent resident visa counterfoil would be affixed to it in the majority of cases for successful applicants. The passport or travel document book also provides information on the travel of the applicant. For these reasons, officers should request a US passport book.

Applications for a Permanent Resident Card

The PR Card application process reviews whether the applicant continues to meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its regulations, including the residence requirement. As such, applicants are required to submit copies of their passport or travel document, including all pages. This is an important element of the application process that provides the officer with the travel history in order to assess compliance with the residency obligation.

The US passport card does not contain any travel history and therefore officers should request a US passport book unless they are otherwise satisfied that the applicant continues to satisfy the residence requirement.

Applications for a Grant of Citizenship

During the citizenship application process, local offices conduct checks to ensure that the applicant meets the requirements of the Citizenship Act, including residence requirements. As such, applicants are required to submit all passports and travel documents relevant to the four-year period preceding their citizenship application. The US passport card does not contain any travel history information and therefore, should not be accepted in support of a citizenship application, except for identification purposes.

The US passport book should be required for citizenship applications from US citizens.

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