Operational Bulletin 293 - June 17, 2011

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

Visa requirement for holders of passports issued by the United Kingdom to British subjects which contain the observation that the holder has the right of abode in the United Kingdom

Summary

Effective June 16, 2011, British subjects who are holders of a passport issued by the United Kingdom (UK) which contains an observation that the holder has the right of abode in the UK no longer require a temporary resident visa (TRV) prior to traveling to Canada.

Issue

The purpose of this Operational Bulletin (OB) is to advise officers of an amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), which now grant a visa exemption for British subjects who have the right of abode in the United Kingdom.

Background

All visitors to Canada require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), unless exempted from this requirement under the IRPR. Visa requirements for travellers to Canada are the country’s first line of defence in maintaining the health, safety and security of Canadians. Canada’s visa policy decisions are based on an evidence-based assessment of the established visa review criteria and thresholds.

As a result of the British Nationality Act 1981 (UK), there is a small group of people, mainly people born before 1949 in the Republic of Ireland, India and Pakistan, who are not considered British citizens, but instead, have British subject status. Prior to this amendment, British citizens were exempt from the TRV requirement, but British subjects were not, and, therefore, required a TRV prior to travelling to Canada. This distinction was a bilateral irritant between Canada and the UK.

A comprehensive review of British subjects with the right of abode was conducted. As a result of the positive trends identified in the review, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has lifted the visa requirement for holders of passports issued by the UK to British subjects which contain the observation that the holder has the right of abode in the UK.

Current Status

Effective June 16, 2011, subsection 190(2) of the IRPR was amended to create an exemption from the visa requirement for foreign nationals who:

“hold a passport issued by the United Kingdom to a British subject which contains the observation that the holder has the right of abode in the United Kingdom”

Officers will be able to determine if the holder of a UK passport is a British subject by examining the nationality field on the biographical page of the passport [note 1]. Observations on immigration status and right of abode are found on the Observations page of the passport booklet [note 2].

Following the coming into force of the amendment to the IRPR, overseas offices should no longer process any TRV applications submitted by holders of passports issued by the UK to British subjects which contain the observation that the holder has the right of abode in the UK.

Existing permit holders of valid permits who are holders of passports issued by the UK to British subjects which contain the observation that the holder has the right of abode in the UK should be advised that:

  • if they left Canada and are still holding a valid work or study permit which has been used to enter Canada, they do not need a TRV to return to Canada; or
  • if they are in Canada and holding a valid work or study permit which has been used to enter Canada, they may remain in Canada and continue to work or study according to the validity dates of their permit.

Port of Entry Instructions

Holders of passports issued by the UK to British subjects which contain the observation that the holder has the right of abode in the United Kingdom no longer require a TRV to enter Canada. For persons who hold such a document and have a valid TRV, the counterfoil should not be cancelled.

__________

1. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/prado/
EN/4345/docHome.html

2. http://www.ips.gov.uk/cps/files/ips/live/assets/
documents/Observations_in_Passports_TO_PUBLISH_(2).pdf

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