Operational Bulletin 553 – October 17, 2013
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
Obtaining passports or travel documents for landing from the Canada Border Services Agency and officer’s discretion to waive the passport requirement for landing purposes
This Operational Bulletin (OB) provides instructions for retrieving passports or travel documents in the custody of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to allow Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) offices in Canada to complete stage 2 processing or landing procedures for all permanent resident applicants. It also clarifies guidelines for officers’ discretion to waive passport requirements when an applicant is close to landing, when circumstances warrant.
Instructions for retrieving passports/travel documents from the CBSA
The CBSA has agreed to respond to passport or travel document requests from CIC within three (3) business days provided that medical, criminality, and security clearances have been passed for the principal applicant and their family members in Canada, and where applicable, overseas.
When a request from CIC is received by the CBSA and it is confirmed that the passport or travel document is the last impediment for the processing of permanent resident status, the CBSA will send the passport or travel document within seven (7) business days to CIC. It will be the CBSA’s responsibility to keep a certified copy of the document on file.
If there is no response from the CBSA within seven (7) business days, CIC agents should send a follow-up request indicating that the passport or travel document remains outstanding. If no response is received within another 7 business days, CIC agents should contact CBSA National Headquarters at CBSA NHQ who will follow-up with the appropriate office.
Note: The CBSA will not release a passport or travel document directly to a foreign national. As such, CIC should not be directing applicants to the CBSA to request the return of their passports/travel documents.
Guidelines for release of passports or travel documents for applicants applying for permanent residence
1. Release of passports for protected persons applying for permanent residence (PPAPR)
As per PP 4, foreign nationals who have been determined to be protected persons and the family members included in their application for permanent residence, may be granted permanent residence if they are not inadmissible under A34, A35, A36(1), A37 or A38(1)(a) or (b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). However, the inadmissibility of a family member has no bearing on the admissibility of a protected person or other included family members as stipulated in A42 of the IRPA.
CBSA can release the passport or travel document to the CIC office processing the application for permanent residence of a protected person who has passed all stage 2 clearances in advance of family members passing all clearances in light of A42 of the IRPA.
2. Release of passports for persons applying for permanent residence in other categories
CBSA can release the passport or travel document for applicants applying in other categories of permanent residence once they and their family members, both in-Canada and overseas, have passed all stage 2 clearances and are otherwise ready to be landed.
Guidelines for landing an applicant based on passport or travel document validity
The stage 2 processing office will check the National Case Management System (NCMS) to verify whether a passport is valid.
1. Where a passport is valid
It is the responsibility of the stage 2 processing office to send the request for a passport or travel document to the CBSA (refer to Annex B for CBSA offices). If the stage 2 processing office is not the same office that is landing the applicant, the stage 2 office must specify in their correspondence to the CBSA that the document needs to be sent to the CIC handling the landing procedures and include the appropriate address. CIC must indicate on the request that all other requirements have been met and that the passport/travel document is the last requirement, otherwise CBSA will not release the document. The stage 2 processing office should copy the local office landing the applicant of the incoming passport, in anticipation of scheduling the Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) interview. Refer to Annex A for template email that can be used when corresponding with the CBSA.
2. Where a passport is expired
Before requesting an expired passport from CBSA, an officer should review the circumstances of the case to determine whether a waiver of the passport requirement is warranted. CIC officers should consider waiving the passport requirement when identity is not a concern.
Specific considerations for application for permanent residence of a protected person
Refer to Section 10.4 of PP 4 for acceptable identity documents for granting permanent residence, which can include a passport, other described identity documents or statutory declarations. While protected-person applicants for permanent residence may submit a national passport, officers must not advise, counsel or instruct applicants to approach their embassy or other representative office to obtain a passport or renew an expired passport, or other document. Applicants should avoid approaching the embassy of the country from which they have sought protection.
Specific considerations for other PR applicants
R72(1)(e)(ii) requires all foreign nationals (except for protected persons) to be in possession of a document described in R50(1) (passport or other acceptable identity documents) to become permanent residents. While most foreign nationals will be in possession of valid passports, some will not. If officers are satisfied of identity, they should strongly consider waiving the passport requirement on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
Examples of applicable situations include, but are not limited to:
- the applicant has had their passport seized by CBSA and there is no mention in FOSS or on file that identity is a concern;
- the applicant has presented other identity documents that are sufficient for establishing identity; or
- the applicant has previously presented passports that are now expired.
If an officer determines that a waiver is warranted, notes in the “APP” screen should be clear that a waiver was warranted.
If an officer determines that a waiver is not warranted and needs to request an expired passport or travel document from the CBSA, it is the responsibility of the stage 2 processing office to send a request to the CBSA that they send the passport or travel document directly to the stage 2 processing office rather than the landing office. CIC must indicate on the request that all other requirements have been met and that the passport or travel document is the last requirement, otherwise CBSA will not release the document.
Upon receipt of the expired passport, the stage 2 processing office will return it to the client by registered mail with instructions to have it renewed (refer to Annex A for a template email that can be used when corresponding with the CBSA and refer to clerical SOP for instructions to send the client). If the client cannot obtain a renewal of their passport or travel document, the officer should again consider waiving the requirement following a review of the circumstances and providing they are satisfied as to the client’s identity.
CIC and CBSA offices must ensure they have procedures in place to ensure accountability for the transfer of custody of any seized document between CBSA and CIC, and between CIC and the applicant at the time of landing. Guidance can be found in ENF12, section 11.
IP 5, section 16.9 will be revised to expand on the officer’s discretion when waiving passport requirement when warranted.
Instructions for processing in GCMS
The Global Case Management System (GCMS) does not currently permit permanent residency to be finalized (client to be landed) without a valid passport or travel document. The following workaround should be implemented until there is a function built in GCMS:
- Enter the expired travel document number, or 0’s if there is no travel document number.
- The validity date of the travel document should be set at one day after landing. A note should be placed in the client file indicating the travel document was expired (with the real expiry date), and or/ the client was landed without a passport.
Annex A – Email template to send CBSA
The medical, criminality, and security clearances have been passed for the principal applicant and his/her in-Canada and overseas dependants (if applicable) for the client identified in the subject line. The client(s) is/are ready to be landed. Therefore, CIC is requesting that the passport(s) or travel document(s) be released and sent to (insert name of office handling stage 2 processing if passport is expired or the landing office if passport is valid) so that CIC can complete the landing procedures for the client(s).
As agreed between CIC and CBSA, please respond to this request within three (3) business days to confirm receipt of this message and to provide an estimated date as to when we might receive the document(s).
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