Operational Bulletin 205-A – December 12, 2014

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.

Processing Applications Submitted with the United States Passport Card

Issue

Instructions on processing applications related to temporary resident status, permanent resident status, or citizenship that are submitted with the United States (U.S.) passport card.

Background

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

On December 1, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada stopped the issuance of a counterfoil to applicants approved for permanent residence from visa-exempt countries.

Instructions

Applications for temporary resident status

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

The above does not preclude officers from requesting the U.S. passport book should further information be required (e.g., travel history, confirming identification, etc.) for a determination on an application.

Applications for permanent resident status

A valid passport or travel document book is the usual requirement for permanent resident processing in the past, as a permanent resident visa counterfoil was affixed to the passport book in the majority of cases of successful applicants. However, with the introduction of the U.S. passport card, and the elimination of counterfoils for approved permanent resident applicants from visa-exempt countries (e.g., U.S.), there is no longer a requirement to affix a visa counterfoil in these cases. Officers may accept the U.S. passport card for processing and may use the passport card number and expiry date in the processing system. U.S. officials have confirmed that the passport card is subject to the same verification and entitlement procedures as the U.S. passport book.

The above does not preclude officers from requesting the U.S. passport book should further information be required (e.g., travel history, confirming identification, etc.) for a determination on an application.

Applications for a Permanent Resident Card and a travel document (Permanent Resident Abroad)

The Permanent Resident Card (PRC) application process and the travel document (Permanent Resident Abroad) process both review whether the applicant continues to meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its regulations, including the residence requirements. 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 U.S. passport card does not contain any travel history; therefore, officers should continue to request a U.S. passport book unless they are otherwise satisfied that the applicant continues to meet 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 U.S. 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 U.S. passport book continues to be required for citizenship applications from U.S. citizens.

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