going for canadian citizenship

My Permanent Residency Interview in Canada

Yesterday was a big day….I went to my interview to finalize permanent resident status here in Canada.

Yes, I should write up a big post about how I got permanent resident status.  But for now, I’ll share how the interview went:


I filed for Permanent Residency in September, 2010 (that’s nearly 2 years ago from today’s interview).  It’s been a long wait for the letter to come saying: “Your Application for permanent resident status in Canada is ready for finalization.”  Well, finally I got it, along with a date for the confirmation interview.  That’s what this post is about.

What I Had to Bring

  • My confirmation letter.  Dated June 11, 2012, I received it June 21st.  My interview was June 27th (yesterday).
  • Two photographs.  Not just visa or passport photos, but PR photos.  Per the confirmation letter, “These photographs must meet very specific guidelines.”  Was no problem getting them; I went to “Passport Photo” on 6414 Quinpool Road here in Halifax, NS.  Old, gruff fella that runs the place will tell you “Don’t worry – I’ve done 20,000 of them.”

Here is the specifics, per Canada’s Immigration page about these photos

Permanent Resident photo specification
Permanent Resident photo specification


How the PR Interview Went

Yes, I actually noted every bit as it went along, hoping the officers wouldn’t pick me out for not paying attention.

So, my first 10 minutes in the building was waiting for 1:30pm to come.  There were about 20-25 others also waiting.  Mostly couples and families, of origin countries I’d guess in SE Asia and Central Asia/Middle East.  The only person alone besides myself was one British woman.

At 1:30pm, a CIC (“Citizenship and Immigration Canada”) representative came out from a closed door and explained “we’re all going down to the Ceremony Room” for our interviews.  Ooooh!

When we walked downstairs and into the Ceremony Room, I noted the room to the right — a marked “Electronic Surveillance” room.  Cool.

The Ceremony Room

The young CIC representative was obviously a junior staffer, herding us to the more senior CIC officers.  The representative introduced them to us: (I’ll use their initial letters) E, J, & C.

E, J & C were all Immigration Canada Officers, tasked with calling us up individually, and asking us questions.

But before the questioning would start, E walks to the podium, opens up with a big smile and welcomes us to the Ceremony Room.

She shares “Today, you will become Permanent Residents of Canada!”

What PR offers, and doesn’t offer

E continues by explaining what Permanent Residency offers: the ability to live, work, study anywhere in Canada, plus health care and all other social benefits.
And she explains what PR does not offer (the ability to vote or running for office).

Social Insurance numbers

She mentions that if we received a Social Insurance number (akin to the Social Security # in the US), that number will change.  Prior the PR interview, our SI# starts with the digit 9.  The “9” denotes a temporary SI#.  Now, it is up to us to call in for our new one.  (I pause and wonder how many people caught this important tidbit.)

E then touches on Citizenship.  She sums it up with “1095 days is the magic number.”  Once you have 1095 days in country (accumulative, not contiguous), you are eligible to apply for citizenship.  Talk to you then, E.

Then, it’s waiting time, for an officer to call you to their desk for questions.  Luckily, I was second, out of about 25 people.

So, I got “J.”  He called me to his desk and explained, almost apologetically, “he needs to ask 3 stupid questions.”

The 3 “Have You Ever…” Questions

1. Have you ever been convicted of a crime in Canada?
2. Have you ever been denied entry into Canada?
3. Have you ever been deported from Canada?

My answers….No, no, and no.  And at that moment, J answers “Okay, done. Any questions?”  Wow, great!

My follow-up questions were about a 2-week vacation we have planned next month.  Did I need to request to leave (like the US does for its PR immigrants)?  No.

I also asked about that 1095 days.  Does time served before today count?  Yes, it’s given “half credit,” so 2 years prior getting PR counts as 1 year.  And is that 1095 days contiguous?  No, it’s accumulative, and must be a minimum of 2 years total over the next 5 years.  J did admit that there are sadly many who struggle even to meet this requirement.

Just so it’s clear, that means a person could file for PR while living outside Canada, then get it, then only have to be in Canada for a total of 2 years over the next 5 years.  (Or a documented 1095 days total in Canada, whichever is greater between the two).  Then file for citizenship.  Crazy easy, really.

What Do I Have Now?

I am holding a form, IMM 5292 “Confirmation of Permanent Residence,” signed by J.

This form is deceptively flimsy looking, like a page 3 of a carbon copy form.  However, my flimsy copy is my all-important proof of having Permanent Resident status here in Canada.

I now wait the “47 days or there abouts” for my PR card.  I can’t wait!

Now, all 4 of us are welcome here in Canada

Concluding Thoughts

  • Canadians are nice, polite people.  So nice, even their immigration officers are likeable.  I know, surprising, huh?
  • Immigration officers feel many immigrants take advantage of the system.  Yeah, not surprising.
  • I’m a permanent resident of Canada.

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Tools, guidance and ‘homework’. By the end, you’re moving overseas, employed and secure, or money back guaranteed.

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How about you? — are you abroad?  Are you going for permanent residency?

Published by


An American who likes to move around. I now live on the eastern Canadian seaboard. My job? A stay-at-home dad for two cute but demanding bosses. My wife? Also cute; not so demanding. My wife and I both love travel. We met in South Korea, travelled across Australia, India, Europe and beyond. We lived in Czech Republic for four years. Many stories to tell and experience to share. If you let me, I will help you travel as we do. Enjoy.

541 thoughts on “My Permanent Residency Interview in Canada”

  1. Hi Jeff,

    I got the email said my final determination of pr interview had been scheduled. The email was dated June 30, 2016

    But today when I got home I saw a letter laying down in front of the door from the Mississauga immigration case processing centre. I opened it and it says I’m missing the police certificate and they ask me to submit to the office in Alberta. And this letter was dated June 16, 2016 which is before the interview was scheduled.

    Have you seen anything like this before ? Should I call CIC ? Or just bring his letter to the interview ? The interview is in 2 days…..

    Thank you,

  2. Interview is in 36 hours. 6 years and change from when I moved here from the states (I hit several dead ends along the way). So excited I could burst! Thank you for the helpful rundown of your interview experience.

  3. So my husband is Canadian and I am from the US. We are living in the US until I get my PR so I work when I go to Canada. Not knowing how long PR would take, we are just living our lives in the US assuming that it’ll work out at some point. I got a confirmation that my PR is processed but I don’t have an interview date… date by which I have to visit a border and meet with CIC. It doesn’t really give any details. Is this the interview? Has anyone gone through this? What do they ask and how long is it? I can’t just up and move instantly so can I go to the border and meet and return the US to plan my move to Canada now that I’m further through the process?

  4. Thank your for this post it is so helpful. Didn’t know about the ‘time served’ part. Just got my ‘processing completed’ letter today. At first was jumping for joy and crying, then re-reading it going huh, what does a final decision to be made mean?? then read lots of post and see its more a formality than a road block. Congratulations and thank you so much for sharing your experience.

  5. Hi, I’m from Philippines, I just would like to ask if after the interview for pr can I go home for a vacation? I also applied for re entry visa.

  6. Thanks for posting your experience! I recieved my confirmation email, my final interview is scheduled the first week of Feb! So excited after waiting over 2 years!

      1. Just want to let you know that you rock Jeff. I found this thread whilst doing a search on interview preparation for Canadian permanent residence.
        Not only was it super helpful and encouraging, but my experience mirrored yours.
        Went in today at Kitchener for a 9am interview and arrived 15 mins early.

        The gentlemen I dealt with, in particular the one who helped me, were calm, friendly and knowledgeable. I must have asked a dozen questions, but they were all answered, patiently.

        Hands down, the best immigration interview/process I’ve had since arriving in Canada.

        Best wishes to all you soon to be residents and citizens!

        1. Wow – thanks James!!
          Thanks for the kind words and especially thanks for sharing your experience at Kitchener.

          Not sure where you’re from originally. If you get a chance to reply back, I’d be curious what you think about the brand new foreign buyer ‘tax’ there in Ontario. I have to say, if someone told us here in Nova Scotia we’d have to pay 15% more on our home, I’d probably reconsider.

          Cheers & thanks again,

      2. Hi Jeff, thanks so much for sharing this post. It releases me of some of my stress. I was scheduled for my pr in interview on the 20th of June 2017, which is two days ago. But my legal person requested a hold to the interview due to some claims from a lady who said she has a kid for me. He said it’s legal to disclose the kid. I am awaiting his next move as the lady agreed to do DNA. Will this in anyway affect my process of getting my pr? That is my worry since we place hold on the interview

  7. Hi Jeff, Your post have answered most of my questions.I have my interview next Friday and I am planning a visit to my home country a month from the interview. Could I leave or do i have to wait for my PR card to arrive? Thanks so much

  8. RE:My Permanent Residency Interview in Canada | Learn How to Become an Expat Yourself Валок Kverneland Красавино

  9. Hi i finally recieve a letter from cic stating my application for pr is complete.we will cantact you.my question is how many weeks do they take to schedule an appointment

    1. Hi Sean,
      The number of weeks varies somewhat across many people. My best recommendation is for you to read through all the comments. There are about 500+? comments here. Many are questions/answers, but a lot are people telling their dates/times from their application and interview.

      Best to you and congratulations on getting as far as you have!

  10. Hi jeff
    I just got the email for final interview from cic yesterday, it says to bring documents issued by cic. What documents are they asking?

    1. Hi Ophelia,

      The only document I had to bring from the CIC was the confirmation letter itself. So, print out the e-mail mentioning you have the interview, plus any confirmation postal letter (you might have or will have). And of course, your passport.

      Then, at the end of the interview, you’ll get a paper saying you’re due to receive a PR card.


  11. Hi jeff
    What questions do they ask at the interview? Do they ask the sponsor and applicant separately ?

  12. Hey jeff we all appreciate the help you have given in those past years and up to today. am requesting you to put a donating section on your (permanent residency exprirence)..thank you jeff

    1. Thanks Sean. That’s cool to hear.
      I wouldn’t mind if someone threw me a small donation. But yeah, it’s best when I know someone found it helpful.

  13. My husband had his interview today but they told him that the medical results weren’t ready and that they would contact him in writing to the email address provided is this a bad sign? Also there was 1 question about a previous marriage that he didn’t know. Was using the medical results a way to defer him from knowing he didn’t get it or is it possible they didn’t have results and every thing is fine? His medical was only done 4 days ok and he is in Jamaica.

  14. what is going on in IRCC Halifax? I have been waiting for my landing interview for about 3 months already. It seems the waiting time is way much longer than regular waiting time. Called the call centre they were not helpful at all.

  15. Thanks a lot for important information about Canadian interview PR. You wrote so Inc and understandable tkankkkkkkkkkks

  16. Hi Jeff, thanks for posting this! 🙂
    I’m Canadian and my husband (American) is going for his Canadian permanent residency interview in a week (we met in Japan :). I noticed the photo specs you have above were different than the ones they gave us. I guess they have changed them to two passport sized photos?

    QUESTION – Immigration requires for us to send in an email to them asap if we had a change of address recently for “contact information” with gvt photo id and current addy ~ However, we cannot get a gvt photo id with current addy because my husband is on a visitors visa! Any insite on this? We just moved last week and the interview is this coming week. Thankfully, we have his PAL photo ID and his “temporary” driver’s permit (no photo) with new address. Hopefully that will be sufficient.

    Here’s the link they sent us to find the photo specs: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/guides/pdf/5445EB-e.pdf

    1. Now, that’s a new one. Never had anybody ask what to wear. 🙂
      The CIC website gives no guidelines. From my and others’ experience, I’d say anything is fair game.
      If you prefer, “business casual” is respectful and safe. If you want to show pride in your new home country, wearing any Canada 150th celebration shirt might get an added smile from the IC officers.

      Have a great interview!

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