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Returning to Canada as PR with just over 6 weeks left...

Discussion in 'Permanent Residency Obligations' started by Besram, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. Hi everyone,

    I am trying to figure out if I will run into any issues with my current situation.

    • Got PR in 2016 and spent a couple of days in Canada
    • Have not returned since
    • Had PR card sent to a friend and forwarded to me (so I am in possession of a valid PR card) - as many people on this forum have done in a similar fashion
    • I am now considering returning to Canada to settle there permanently
    The only challenge is that I have about six weeks left before I would no longer be able to meet the 2 year residency requirement.

    If I traveled to Canada next week, would I have any issues entering?

    For example:
    • Would I be questioned as to why I have not lived there?
    • Would they question how I got the PR card if I hadn't spent any time there?
    • Any other issues I could face?
    My understanding is that they should not be able to turn me back at the border because I can still meet the residency requirement (if barely), but I do want to be prepared for any questions etc.

    Has anyone recently been in a similar situation and can provide first hand experience?


  2. When did you actually land? Note that RO is calculated from the day of landing, not the PR card expiry.

    If when you enter, it will have been less than 3 years since the day you landed as a PR, you won't have any issues. They won't question why you were out of Canada or how you got your PR card.
  3. Thanks for your quick response.

    I landed in early August 2016, so I would definitely still be able to meet the requirements if I arrived before that date this year.

    Just curious - as a Canadian PR, are they asking you any questions at all when you get back in?

    In my home country, they sometimes even question citizens where they have been abroad and why...
  4. You could be questioned if you are ridiculously shady, super rude, have a suspicious travel pattern, etc. Otherwise, no, they generally don't ask you anything in depth because you have the right of entry to Canada.
  5. No first hand experience. For many years, however, I have been reading accounts from others reporting based on purported first and second-hand accounts . . . purported because this and other forums I have followed are open forums subject to more than a little mischief and otherwise not-so-reliable posting. But I have been following scores of official accounts of actual cases (in published IAD and Federal Court decisions) which arise from circumstances in which the PR was the other side of the cutting-it-close edge, the falling short side. Those accounts help put the forum anecdotal accounts in perspective.

    While I am NO expert, I can offer this:

    Ignore any advice that claims border officials will NOT ask questions related to just about any aspect of anything. There is a lot of information about what they usually ask . . . and some about what they usually do not ask or rarely ask . . . but FOR SURE they can ask just about anything they think is in any way relevant to their job screening travelers seeking entry into Canada.

    And you are indeed cutting-it-close enough some questions related to compliance with the PR Residency Obligation MIGHT be asked.

    But as long as you arrive here BEFORE the third year anniversary of the DAY you landed, there is NO need to worry about what questions they might ask. The important thing is to SIMPLY and HONESTLY respond.

    Again, you are cutting-it-close enough . . . it appears you have been outside Canada for significantly more than a thousand days . . . . they might indeed ask questions MORE TO BE SURE YOU ARE AWARE OF THE PR RESIDENCY OBLIGATION, to help you understand the obligation, to help you avoid failing to comply with your obligations. So you might be cautioned, or admonished, but that is NOTHING to be worried about.

    To be clear, the border officials can NOT turn a PR back at the border, even if the PR has breached the RO, even if the PR does not have a PR card (which would usually involve a land crossing from the U.S. since a valid PR card is needed to board a flight to Canada). So there is NO danger of that happening. If, for example, you fail to get here soon and thus are in breach of the RO before you get here, they still will NOT turn you back at the border but you could be issued an Inadmissibility Report (which can be appealed) and then allowed into Canada.

    Otherwise the PoE examination can range widely. Most returning PRs are NOT asked many questions at all . . . customs issues are the more likely subject of questions than immigration. JUST BE CALM, COOL, AND HONEST. The usual.

    Your real issues are more practical: you have left yourself with very little margin for error. You will basically need to stay in Canada for the next two years straight . . . so no opportunity to go home for a family emergency for example, not for two years.
  6. How exactly do you think those accounts put anything into perspective? They are accounts that are based entirely on a specific subset of people who have failed to meet the RO and therefore have a significantly higher chance of more intensive scrutiny than people who still meet the RO.
  7. Thanks very much for your input, I appreciate it.

    Yes, I realize I won't have much buffer if I need to travel but I am prepared to live with that.
  8. Makes sense - I'll see what happens and report back
  9. Any further comments highly welcome, especially in regards to potential questions asked in this particular situation.
  10. #10 dpenabill, Jun 14, 2019 at 4:08 AM
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
    My apologies to @Besram for the tangent . . . .

    REMINDER: I have specifically requested, more than once, some source or authority for the following:

    For example:

    Response: NOTHING.

    In contrast I make a concerted effort to identify and cite actual sources. And I will make a reasonable effort to respond to questions about what I post.

    Including the reasoning process . . . which, if anything I tend to offer too much detail about.

    About this particular question you pose, "exactly" and "perspective" are not quite on the same page. Perspective is CONTEXTUAL. Indeed, I'd offer that it is virtually axiomatic that more knowledge and information about a subject one has, like Residency Obligation compliance, will obviously give someone better perspective on factual scenarios related to RO questions or concerns. Both sides of the cutting-it-close edge.

    Thus I am tempted to simply suggest studying some basic reasoning texts . . . a particularly good, not at all difficult, not that long a book, but profoundly educational, is a well-worn classic by Antony Flew titled "Thinking Straight."

    But I will offer more detail about my reasoning process in a separate next post.
  11. Again, my apologies to @Besram for the tangent . . . .

    For PR RO issues in particular: Foremost, the IAD decisions offer many guide posts for identifying issues and evaluating factual claims, precisely because some (though many do not) outline in some detail factual claims made by PRs, the arguments advanced by PRs or their lawyers, the factual findings in the 44(1) Report, the factual and legal assertions advocated by the Minister's representative, and the IAD panel's consideration of all these. In key respects the procedures are documented (again, not always, probably not usually, but often enough to be informative). Key policies, practices, interpretations, and applications of the rules and laws, are sometimes addressed in detail. Overall some will offer a great deal of insight into the decision-making at the PoE, by the Minister's delegate, by the Minister's representative before the IAD or FC, and by the IAD decision-maker, all of which is influenced by many, many variable factors.

    But they also offer a good deal of background information about how PRs get themselves into difficulty. Many PRs did not intend for things to go as they did. Their versions of the facts, and how the various decision-makers in the process respond to those, is particularly illuminating . . . albeit, yes, to learn from these sources demands some focus and careful analysis, lots of cross-checking, and yes a great, great deal of reading.

    Ask almost anyone which is a better way to navigate something like the Canadian immigration system, in ignorance or with as much knowledge and information one can reasonably acquire, and very, very few will suggest ignorance is the way to go. Yet forums like this are rife with overly broad and oft times unfounded generalizations derived from ignorance, not knowledge.

    As to some specifics:


    Actually (like more than a few broad generalizations populating this forum) it is NOT true that the IAD cases, or even all the Federal Court cases, are "based entirely on a specific subset of people who have failed to meet the RO." Some of these cases are overruled because they are found to NOT be valid in law. That is, it was determined the PR did not fail to comply with the RO.

    Reminder: "valid in law" is strictly about whether the PR met the RO based on number of days; H&C reasons ONLY come into play if the Report is determined to be "valid in law." The vast majority of IAD decisions are cases in which the Report was "valid in law," but again in some of the cases it is determined the Report was NOT valid in law, that the PR was IN FACT in compliance with the RO. Sure, one has to read a lot of cases to see the full range.

    In any event, while there are not a lot of these cases, and they are not easy to find (which is why simply reading a lot over the course of years helps), these particular cases tend to establish a kind of base line. And very much help to put many other situations into perspective.


    These cases help to put many forum reports in perspective. There are patterns. Then there are patterns in the way the factual versions deviate from the more common patterns. Not easy to summarize what can be gleaned from more than a decade of reading and comparing what PRs claim in formal proceedings versus what forum participants claim, but a far more complete picture of the whole range definitely helps put individual segments into focus . . . perspective.

    In the vast majority of these cases the PR asserts RO compliance AND alternatively seeks H&C relief. I do not keep track of numbers going one way or the other, but I'd guess most fail on both counts. Nonetheless, here again the information that is available helps to identify key elements, key factors, key questions, and the range of variables. That is, the more complete picture one has, the more that puts individual situations into perspective.

    But let's be frank about a key element of what constitutes "perspective" regarding forum reporting: The factual situation described in many forum anecdotal reports often tends to be a rather generous if not outright gratuitous account favouring the reporting PR. Having read a hundred or three hundred IAD and FC cases does not necessarily give someone a credibility-meter, but it helps. A lot. That's perspective.


    The decisions in which previous history of PoE events is recounted are especially informative. These too are few and not easy to find by ordinary search criteria . . . but again, for those who are actually interested in real facts, and thus read a lot of ACTUAL cases described in the OFFICIAL sources, these cases offer a lot of insight. The PoE exchanges described include instances in which the PoE official cautioned the PR (which is sometimes seen in situations similar to that described in the current discussion: a PR absent for an extended period of time, in compliance but obviously approaching the brink of noncompliance), and instances in which the PR was specifically admonished (this comes up, for example, in cases in which the PR is claiming credit based on being employed abroad by a Canadian business, and is admonished to have PROOF the next time . . . I recall one case in which it appeared the PR had been so cautioned or admonished on at least THREE occasions before the PoE examination resulting in a 44(1) Report). Again, there are only a few cases like this, but they are ACTUAL cases as recounted in an OFFICIAL source, so the accounts describing earlier PoE exchanges are reliable and informative and help to put forum anecdotal accounts into perspective.


    A rather significant contextual insight the IAD cases offer is rooted in the extent to which H&C cases depend on the number of days actually present in Canada. In many, many cases the number is disputed or at least there are conflicting accounts of how many days credit the PR should be allowed. Why should be obvious. And is not the point here anyway. The point here is that when the IAD panel digs into the details about counting days in Canada, which on many occasions it does (though in many other cases this is not contested), that assessment often illuminates a good deal about how IRCC officials weigh the PR's claims. Regardless what the total number eventually is determined to be, its the way the IAD panel weighs the evidence which provides real context for looking at other cases and situations. Perspective.
  12. I suggest you look up TLDR. I pretty much never read your posts. If I do, I may read the first paragraph and that is about it.

    You cannot say that experiences gathered from a specific subset of people in a particular situation, those entering Canada when failing to meet the RO, can put into perspective the experiences of another specific subset of people, those entering Canada who do meet the RO.
    YVR123 likes this.
  13. Hopefully the tangent above has not caused any confusion or distraction. To be clear, the vast majority of returning Canadians (whether citizens or PRs) are rarely asked immigration related questions . . . at least not beyond what is needed to establish they are a Canadian (again, either a Canadian citizen or a Canadian PR).

    But what is SOMETIMES asked can range widely and it is quite conceivable that a PR who has been absent from Canada for very near THREE years will be referred to Secondary where there is an interview into matters related to Residency Obligation compliance, including questions about the nature and reason for the absence. Again, NO BIG DEAL. The actual reason does NOT matter, at least NOT so long as you do not actually fail to comply with the RO. So you just tell the truth.

    In particular, statements like this: "They won't question why you were out of Canada . . ." are overly-broad, by a lot.

    The odds are fair you will be waived through the PIL (Primary Inspection Line) with minimal questions.

    But again, given the length of your absence, there is also a significant chance you will be referred to Secondary and asked questions related to RO compliance. So do not be surprised IF that happens. But as long as you are arriving at the PoE BEFORE the third year anniversary of the day you landed, again this is NO BIG DEAL, and it is NOT to challenge or chastise.

    The actual questions asked, however, are very difficult to predict. Border officials deliberately vary the way in which they ask questions. It is part of their training. They do not want travelers to know and be prepared to follow a script, so to say. There are many ways to ask questions that will elicit the key elements of information which help officials decide IF more questions need to be asked. They often ask oblique questions to avoid revealing the substantive information they are focused on, and they do so precisely because they want unprepared, unrehearsed answers. They are not looking for arguments or conclusions. They do not want the travelers version of the facts. They want unadorned facts they can weigh and judge themselves.

    The easiest way to prepare is to simply relax and be prepared to honestly answer any questions asked about your life.

    I made a sincere attempt to genuinely respond to your question.

    Not sure why you believe YOU can tell someone what they can or cannot say, especially if you do not bother to actually read what they say, and you mischaracterize what you do not read.

    But you are simply WRONG about what the ACTUAL cases as reported by OFFICIAL sources offer. They are for sure worth reading if someone has a genuine interest in understanding how things actually work.
  14. And I genuinely responded to you. Seriously, look up TLDR.

    I didn't tell anyone what they can or cannot say and no, I'm not wrong because I never once said those cases didn't offer information. I simply stated that you cannot use those cases to "put into perspective" the anecdotal evidence of an entirely different subset of people. I didn't need to read your post any further to be able to make that comment.
  15. This is not a tweet venue. Or a bumper sticker display case.

    Not sure what you mean by "look up" TLDR . . . after all, I am probably the poster-boy (albeit old man actually) for TLDR comments in at least the citizenship and PR parts of this forum. Periodically, over the course of many years, here and elsewhere, I have had more than a few shots taken at me in the vein of TLDR . . . but that is a small number in comparison to the expressions of gratitude.

    Never understood, though, why someone thinks they can credibly comment on something they have not even read. Ignorance is not a virtue.

    In any event, I am very OK with people scrolling past my posts. I often start posts suggesting that most will want to do that. After all, my focus here is on a small range of the more complex issues arising in relation to grant citizenship and preserving PR status. My effort is to address how the process actually works in more complicated or difficult situations, especially situations involving pitfalls often understated or overlooked in scores of overly broad generalizations which are short and simple, but which too often can be disastrously misleading for a few.

    That is, my posts are aimed at a rather narrow audience, albeit an audience I hope will benefit from a more in-depth, nuanced analysis. In contrast, for example, I make no effort to satiate the attention span of a newt.

    In any event . . .

    (Emphasis added; complete post quoted below.)

    (Complete post quoted below.)

    Perhaps rather than Antony Flew, recommending some George Orwell would be apropos.


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