Protected persons: Processing applications for permanent residence – Stage 1: Eligibility

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

The following may apply for permanent residence as a protected person:

  • persons upon whom refugee protection has been conferred under paragraph 95(1)(b) or (c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
  • members of the protected temporary residents class who have had their immigration medical examination

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Proof of Status

All protected persons in Canada are issued formal letters or documents that indicate their status.

Protected Persons recognized by the IRB

Persons whom the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) has determined are Convention refugees or persons in need of protection may provide their Notice of Decision to Passport Canada (PPTC) as proof of their status. If they lose this letter, they may contact the IRB for a replacement.

Positive PRRA decisions

Senior immigration officers making a positive pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) decision produce a decision letter as well as a Verification of Status document. These documents are delivered to the client by the Canada Border Services Agency as per the usual process. Verification of Status documents are produced in the Global Case Management System. Instructions on how to produce a Verification of Status document can be found in the training workbook.

Verification of Status Document

Individuals who received a Notice of Decision from the IRB or a positive PRRA decision can apply for a Verification of Status document from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) if they wish to apply to Passport Canada (PPTC) for a refugee travel document. The application for a Verification of Status document is online. There is no fee for this application if the individual is not yet a permanent resident or Canadian citizen.

IRCC Validation Portal

PPTC will use the existing Validation Portal it has with IRCC to determine the validity of the Notice of Decision or the Verification of Status document.

If the IRCC Validation Portal advises PPTC that the letter/document is valid and confirms the decision was positive, detailed biographic information, and in some circumstances a photo, will be provided to the PPTC staff performing the check, including the country of persecution and whether the individual has been val under A20.1(1).

If there are issues with the validation process, a manual validation process is in place to assist PPTC. In some cases, the individual may be directed to the IRB (Notice of Decision) or IRCC (Verification of Status document) to obtain confirmation of their determination. This process is only for protected persons who have not yet become Canadian citizens.

Eligibility of family members

Note: Effective December 4, 2019, all protected persons in Canada may submit completed permanent residence application forms for their overseas spouse or partner and dependent children along with their own completed permanent residence applications to the case processing centre in Mississauga in order to facilitate concurrent processing for their family members.

Important: Although applicants are encouraged to submit applications for dependants abroad to the in-Canada office, this is not a mandatory requirement in order for the protected person’s application for permanent residence to commence processing.

Once it is determined that a protected person is eligible to apply for permanent residence, their spouse or partner and dependent children in Canada and/or abroad who are included in the application are also eligible, provided that they meet the definition of “family member” in R1(3). For the most part, the IRB issues a notice of decision to all family members included in the family unit, should they have made a claim in Canada.

List all family members (including non-accompanying)

Protected persons, like all applicants for permanent residence, are required to list all family members, whether accompanying or not. R176(1) permits the protected person to include any family member, whether the family member is in Canada or abroad. Only those family members who are included in the application will be examined.

Non-accompanying family members abroad who are included in the initial protected person’s application for permanent residence may apply to an officer outside Canada within one year after the day on which the principal applicant becomes a permanent resident if they so choose. This is possible under the One-year Time Limit (R176).

The approval in principle letter will inform the protected person that their family members for whom permanent residence is sought must meet statutory requirements in order to be granted permanent residence.

Family members within the meaning of R1(3) may be added to the application at any time prior to its finalization.

Changes to family composition

If applicants marry after the submission of the application and wish to include the spouse in the application for permanent residence, they may do so. If the marriage is not genuine or was entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring any status or privilege under the Act, the application, with respect to the spouse, will be refused (R4).

Dependent children of the new spouse may also be included.

When the principal applicant informs IRCC of the intent to include an additional family member, the primary processing office will request the Additional Dependants / Declaration Form (IMM 0008DEP) and the Schedule A – Background / Declaration form (IMM5669) and evidence of payment of the applicable fees within 90 days if these documents were not already submitted with the request. If the principal applicant does not return the application form and evidence that the applicable fees have been paid in a timely manner, processing can continue with the additional dependant considered as “non-accompanying”.

Sponsoring family members

Protected persons can submit an application to sponsor family members under the family class once they become permanent residents, and upon the expiry of the one-year window, provided the family members were declared in accordance with R10(2)(a) and still meet the criteria for inclusion in the family class at the time that the sponsorship application is submitted.

Note: If family members abroad are included but cannot be located in order to be examined by the visa office, granting permanent residence to the principal applicant will not be delayed. A protected person can be granted permanent residence even if family members abroad for whom permanent residence is sought do not meet all the requirements of A21(2).

Impact of cessation or vacation of refugee protection

When an applicant for permanent residence ceases to be a protected person, or refugee protection is vacated, the applicant is no longer eligible to apply for permanent residence. The decision to vacate may also be rendered after the person has become a permanent resident. Should this be the case, A46 provides for the loss of the permanent resident status, except with respect to cessation decisions pursuant to A108(1)(e).

There is no requirement to suspend or delay the processing of an application for permanent residence simply because vacation is being contemplated or pursued. Applicants must be notified in writing when their status as a protected person has ceased, or refugee protection has been vacated.

Learn more about Cessation and Vacation of refugee protection.

What to do if a protected person is ineligible to apply

The procedure to follow when the applicant has been determined ineligible to apply for permanent residence depends on the reason for ineligibility. In all cases of refusal, the applicant must be advised in writing of the decision.

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