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
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!
- 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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