Operational Bulletin 536 (modified) – December 19, 2016

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.

Until new instructions are issued, IRCC agents are advised to ignore all references made to “deemed abandoned” in OB 536. This means that IRCC agents should not deem a PR card application abandoned, or use one of the letters that refer to a “deemed abandoned" application in Appendix A when an applicant outside Canada does not apply for a permanent resident travel document (PRTD), nor appears in Canada within 180 days, as described in OB 536.

Residency Determination Processing for Applicants Outside of Canada Referred by the Sydney Case Processing Centre’s Permanent Resident Card Centre

Summary

The purpose of this Operational Bulletin (OB) is to provide instructions to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) officers on how to process Permanent Resident (PR) Determinations referred by the Sydney Case Processing Centre’s Permanent Resident Card Centre (PRCC Sydney) when the applicant is outside of Canada. This OB also serves as a reminder for CIC offices that they are required to make a residency determination, whether positive or negative, on all applications before returning them to PRCC Sydney, unless the application is abandoned or the applicant is granted Canadian citizenship.

Background

Permanent resident card (PR card) issuance is a multi-step process. For new PRs, once the Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) form is completed at the Port of Entry or at a CIC office, a copy of the CoPR with the photo is sent to PRCC Sydney for quality assurance and scanning. Once complete, these Phase I cards are mailed directly to clients by the Canadian Bank Note Company.

Applications for Phase II PR cards are also sent to PRCC Sydney where they are reviewed for completeness and for compliance with residency requirements. Straightforward PR card applications are approved by PRCC Sydney and 5-year PR cards are issued. When it is known that an applicant is outside of Canada, the PR card is sent to a CIC office for in-person collection. A random selection (10%) of Phase II cards is also sent to CIC offices for in-person collection for quality assurance purposes.

More complex PR card applications, such as those linked to large scale residency investigations, are referred to local CIC offices for investigation and residency determination or to the PRCC Sydney Client Service Unit for a second-level review.

Procedures

When a local CIC office receives a referral from PRCC Sydney, the application is assessed to determine whether additional information is required. When there is insufficient information, applicants are required to complete the Questionnaire: Determination of Permanent Residency Status [IMM 5511], a supplementary absences form, as well as submit any additional supporting documents.

Following receipt of the additional information, if the CIC office becomes aware that the applicant is outside of Canada and the officer recommends a positive residency determination based on a paper review of the documents, the CIC agent can proceed as usual and advise the PRCC Sydney of the decision. The CIC agent must also remember to include advice for PRC-Sydney to direct the PR card to be picked up in person at a CIC office.

However, if a residency determination cannot be made based on the information at hand and the CIC agent is aware that the applicant is outside of Canada, the applicant should be directed to apply for a Travel Document (Permanent Resident Abroad), also referred to as a PRTD, at the nearest Canadian visa office and to forward a copy of the PRTD to the CIC office once obtained. Communications with the applicant should be sent to their last known address in Canada. As per standard procedure, the application must be set aside for the 180 day compliance period. If the applicant enters Canada without first obtaining a PRTD, they are advised to contact the local CIC office in order to schedule an interview to assess whether the applicant meets the residency obligation.

After the CIC office obtains the PRTD, or following a check in the applicant’s file to see whether an application for a PRTD has been finalized, the CIC agent can complete its assessment. If there is a positive residency determination overseas, the CIC agent should approve the referral and return the application to PRC-Sydney for the issuance of a 5-year validity card. However, if there is a discrepancy between the information provided overseas and that provided to the CIC office, an interview should be scheduled to address the discrepancy before rendering a residency determination. In the end, if the CIC agent disagrees with the positive decision overseas, the permanent residency determination (PRD) screen in FOSS must be completed, as a new determination is being made.

If there is a negative residency determination overseas, the CIC agent should request evidence that the applicant has appealed the decision. If the applicant has appealed, the application should be returned to PRCC Sydney with advice to issue a 1-year validity card pursuant to R54(2). If there is evidence that the applicant waived the appeal rights overseas, or if the 60 day appeal period has passed and the applicant does not provide evidence that they have filed an appeal, the CIC agent can refuse the PR card application on the grounds that the applicant has lost PR status pursuant to A46(1)(b).

In these cases, only a Non-Computer Based (NCB) entry, specifically NCB Type 12 – General Information, needs to be entered into FOSS, as the PRD screen will have already been completed by the overseas visa office. In the NCB, the following text can be used: “Loss of PR status as negative PRD overseas is a final determination in accordance with A46(1)(b).” Additional notes can be added in the Work in Process (WIP) screen.

If the applicant does not apply for a PRTD but notifies the local CIC office that they have entered Canada within the 180 day compliance period, an interview should be scheduled and the CIC agent must pursue the residency determination following regular procedures.

Finally, if the applicant does not apply for a PRTD or provide notification to the CIC office that they are in Canada within the 180 day period, the CIC agent should declare the application abandoned. A notice must be sent to the applicant by regular mail advising that the application is deemed abandoned, and explaining that a new application and fee will be necessary should the applicant wish to receive a PR card in the future.

Quick Reference Table

How to process PR card applications when the applicant is outside of Canada and either does not have a PR card or has an expired PR card:

Type of PR Card Application Refer to Local CIC Office? Can residency determination be made based on paper review? Does applicant need to apply for a PRTD before making an inland residency determination? Residency Determination Overseas Issue 5-year or 1-year PR card? Mail or In-Person Collection?
Straightforward Phase II
 
(PR card application is complete and meets residency requirements)*
No Yes, positive determination No
(Applicant may need to apply for a PRTD in order to return to Canada to pick up PR card)
n/a 5-year card In-person collection at CIC Office
Complex Phase II
 
(PR card application requires further investigation as per triage criteria)
Yes Yes, positive determination No
(Applicant may need to apply for a PRTD in order to return to Canada to pick up PR card)
n/a 5-year card In-person collection at CIC Office
Yes No Yes Positive determination 5-year card In-person collection at CIC Office
Yes No Yes Negative determination Appeal: 1-year card In-person collection at CIC Office
No appeal: Refuse application n/a
Yes No Yes Applicant does not apply for a PRTD, but appears for interview in Canada 5-year card if positive, or 1-year card if negative In-person collection at CIC Office
Yes No Yes Applicant does not apply for a PRTD, nor appears in Canada within 180 days Deem application abandoned n/a

Reminder

When a PR card application is referred to a CIC office, a residency determination, either positive or negative, must be made before sending it back to PRCC Sydney, unless the application is abandoned, or the applicant is granted Canadian citizenship. Even applications that are resolved based on a positive residency determination overseas must have a residency decision completed to close the PRCC Sydney referral. Applications cannot be sent back to PRCC Sydney with a request to issue the PR card for in-person collection at the CIC with the intent of conducting the residency assessment when the client comes to collect the card.

On another note, when adding actions or remarks in the Work in Process (WIP) screen in FOSS, please ensure that everything is placed under the same line of business that was created by PRCC Sydney when referring the file. This will ensure that all information is found in the same place and additional lines of business are not created unnecessarily.

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