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Canada Immigration: Frequently Asked Questions
Set out, below, is a list of commonly asked questions that Visas & Places receives on a daily basis from existing and potential clients around the world as well as the answers to those questions, which may prove useful to you. The questions are grouped together according to their nature.
1. When can I expect to receive a response to my communication from Visas & Places?
Visas & Places makes every effort to respond to all inquiries that are not addressed by our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page within one (1) business day. Business days in Canada are Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 17:00, Eastern Time. Please contact our office ONLY if your inquiry does not appear on our FAQ page and we have not acknowledged receipt of your communication within one (1) business day from the time of receipt.
2.Why does Visas & Places insist upon e-mail communication?
Not only is e-mail the most expeditious and efficient form of communication but, we require a written record of ALL of our communications with you.
Each and every piece of correspondence that we receive from you is stored by our firm in physical and electronic files in our office. To reduce confusion and expedite your case it is important that you include your file number and contact information on every piece of correspondence to allow us to devote our full attention to working on your file, thereby achieving the best possible results for you and exceeding your expectations.
3. Why have I received an e-mail from a legal assistant?
The legal assistants at Visas & Places work under the supervision of Messrs. Visas and Places. All incoming and outgoing e-mail is reviewed (and approved when outgoing) by either Mr. Abrams or Mr. Krochak.
1. What is permanent residence in Canada?
Obtaining “permanent residence” or “permanent resident status” in Canada is also known as “immigrating to Canada” or becoming a “landed immigrant.” The successful end result of the Immigration process is the issuance of an “immigrant visa” or “confirmation of permanent residence document”. Persons to whom an immigrant visa/confirmation of permanent residence document has been issued must present themselves to an Immigration officer at one of Canada’s official ports of entry in order to become landed immigrants.
2. What benefits do I have if I am a permanent resident of Canada?
Canadian permanent residents/landed immigrants and citizens enjoy all of the same rights and privileges (i.e. free health care, free elementary and secondary education, etc.) with three (3) exceptions:
- Permanent residents cannot vote;
- Permanent residents cannot hold a Canadian passport; and
- Permanent residents can be deported for certain criminal convictions.
3. Once I am a permanent resident of Canada, do I have to stay in Canada?
Within any five (5) year period, a permanent resident must be:
physically present in Canada for at least 730 days (two (2) years) in that five (5) year period
outside of Canada, accompanying a Canadian citizen, who is his or her spouse or common-law partner or a child accompanying a parent
outside of Canada, employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business
an accompanying spouse, common-law partner or child of a permanent resident, who is outside Canada and is employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business.
4. How can I become a permanent resident of Canada?
To be eligible to immigrate to Canada, one must meet the requirements of one of the many catergories of Canadian Immigration:
Federal Skilled Worker Class
Federal Skilled Trades Class
Canadian Experience Class
and apply for Permanent Residence in Canada through a designated Case Processing Centre/Centralized Intake Office.
5. How can I become a citizen of Canada?
After having resided in Canada for a total of 1095 days within a consecutive five year period of time as a permanent resident of Canada, one is eligible to apply for Citizenship. If you believe you are eligible to apply for Canadian Citizenship and wish our assistance, please submit your inquiry online at https://visasandplaces.com/contact
1. I would like to obtain a Work Permit. Can you help me?
Yes. Please review the information on our website pertaining to Work Permits.
2. I would like to obtain a Study Permit. Can you help me?
Yes. Please review the information on our website pertaining to Study Permits.
3. I would like to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa. Can you help me?
Yes. Please review the information on our website pertaining to Temporary Resident (Visitor) Visas .
1. How can I determine if I am eligible to become a permanent resident of Canada/to sponsor a family member to become a permanent resident of Canada?
If you are interested in immigrating to Canada or sponsoring a family member to immigrate to Canada, we invite you to visit our Online Eligibility Assessment Questionnaire, which is designed to enable our firm’s team of lawyers to assess your qualifications for Immigration to Canada/your eligibility to sponsor a family member to immigrate to Canada in accordance with Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s selection criteria, at no charge to you, usually within a few hours but no more than one (1) business day from the time that your Questionnaire is received. Business days in Canada are from 09:00 to 17:00, Eastern Time, Monday to Friday.
If Abrams & Krochak determines that we can assist you to immigrate to Canada/sponsor a family member to immigrate to Canada, a member of our firm will provide you with a detailed breakdown of Abrams & Krochak’s fees and services, via e-mail. Our Online Eligibility Assessment Questionnaire can be accessed by visiting http://www.abramsandkrochak.com or the homepage of our website, http://www.visaandplaces.com.
2. I have not received your assessment of my qualifications for Immigration to Canada. When can I expect to receive it?
All those completing our free Online Eligibility Assessment Questionnaire will receive a response. In many cases, we may have an incorrect e-mail address from you or our response may have been filtered into your Junk/Bulk/Spam mail folder (if applicable). Please check your Junk/Bulk/Spam mail folder before you contact us.
3. I completed your Online Eligibility Assessment Questionnaire and got a response within minutes! Your Questionnaire MUST be automated. I would appreciate it if a lawyer reviewed my qualifications.
Please note that your Online Eligibility Assessment Questionnaire has been personally assessed by Mr. Jeffrey Abrams of our firm and, despite the speed of the evaluation, we wish to assure you that our e-mail is not an automated response. Mr. Abrams reviews and assesses all incoming Online Eligibility Assessment Questionnaires within one (1) business day, fifty-two (52) weeks per year and is known to work during non-business hours to accommodate the multitude of time zones around the world from which Questionnaires and inquiries originate.
4. Can I send you my curriculum vitae/résumé to assess?
No. If you would like your qualifications for Immigration to Canada assessed by our firm, we wish to advise you that we do not assess qualifications on the basis of a curriculum vitae/résumé. To have your qualifications assessed by our firm, please fill out our Online Eligibility Assessment Questionnaire.
1. I have questions related to your assessment of my qualifications for Immigration to Canada. I wish to telephone your firm. May I do so?
We would be delighted to speak with you over the telephone and answer any questions that you might have. We can be reached, via telephone, between the hours of 09:00 and 17:00, Eastern Time, Monday to Friday at +1-613-416-2919.
2. I will be in Toronto next month and would like to schedule an appointment to meet with Mr. Abrams to discuss his assessment of my qualifications for Immigration to Canada. May I do so?
By all means, you are welcome to come to our office. Because Mr. Abrams is responsible for maintaining correspondence, via e-mail, with our many clients around the world as well as the thousands of individuals, such as yourself, who seek information over the Internet, Mr. Adeel Muhammadmeets with potential clients in our office while Mr. Abrams looks after the e-mail. Should you wish to schedule an appointment, please telephone Mr. Adeel at +1-613-416-2919., Extension 23 (press 23 on your telephone when you hear the auto-attendant) between the hours of 09:00 and 17:00, Eastern Time, Monday to Friday. Generally speaking, Mr. Adeel charges a 300 CAD consultation fee for an appointment. If you subsequently become a client of Visas & Places, the 300 CAD consultation fee will be deducted from Visas & Places legal fees.
3. Can you tell me what documents I need to file in support of my Application for Permanent Residence before I become your client? I want to make sure I have them all.
Please be advised that we shall be pleased to answer any and all specific questions that you might have with respect to documentary requirements if and when you become our client. We cannot, however, inform you as to which supporting documents are required from you before you formally retain our services.
We strongly recommend that you do NOT go to the time and expense of acquiring and translating supporting documents until such time as you have received our firm’s preliminary package, which contains detailed instructions regarding the format and substance that your supporting documents must take to maximize your chances of success and interview waiver.
4. Do you have a branch office in my country?
Please note that we do not have branch offices. We effectively represent thousands of individuals on all six (6) continents from our offices here in Toronto, Canada, through the use of e-mail, fax, telephone, mail and courier.
5. Do you have a representative or agent in my country whom I can contact?
No, we do not have agents and no individual and/or organization is authorized to represent our interests in Canada and/or abroad. If individuals are interested in using our services, we would prefer that they contact us, directly, rather than through a third party.
6. Why do I need to use your services? Why can I not apply for Permanent Residence in Canada on my own?
We have been approached by countless individuals, who informed us that they knew that they were qualified to immigrate to Canada and had all of the necessary documents and then went ahead to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada on their own and failed. It is true that there is not much that our firm can do insofar as some of your documents are concerned (i.e. a birth certificate is a birth certificate, a marriage certificate is a marriage certificate, etc.); however, we caution you, now, that if your letters of reference are in the least bit deficient or your Application forms have not been completed, correctly, you will surely jeopardize the expeditious processing of your Application for Permanent Residence. Among the services that we provide are ensuring that your letters of reference comply with Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s standards; ensuring that your Application forms have been filled out correctly (incidentally, we rarely have seen the forms filled out correctly); and drafting written, legal arguments, which will accompany your Application package and which will argue why you should be issued Canadian Permanent Residence. The analogy we provide where our arguments are concerned is that of a painter. Paint, in and of itself, is beautiful. However, paint has no meaning unless it is used by a painter to paint a beautiful picture. In the Immigration context, your qualifications may be impressive; however, if you do not have effective representation whereby a lawyer will highlight your qualifications for Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials to appreciate, your qualifications can get lost/overlooked in your mountain of supporting documents.
7. Are you Immigration Consultants?
Please note that we are NOT Immigration consultants; rather, we are Immigration lawyers. While lawyers and consultants are both regulated by their respective regulatory bodies, a lawyer has completed a university law degree, which is not a requirement for becoming licensed as a consultant. Please keep this information in mind when choosing your representative.
Please also note that should your Application for Permanent Residence in Canada be refused, only an Immigration Lawyer can represent you in the Federal Court of Canada. Immigration Consultants are NOT permitted to do so.
8. If I use your services, how quickly does your firm work?
The speed with which we work depends entirely upon you. If you give us what we need in a timely fashion and follow our instructions, we can work quickly. If you do not give us what we need in a timely fashion or do not follow our instructions, properly, processing will take longer.
9. How do I know that your law firm is authorized to represent me?
Much confusion has been generated by Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s announcement that Immigration Consultants must be registered with the ICCRC as it applies to Immigration Lawyers.
PLEASE NOTE: Lawyers do NOT have to be registered with the ICCRC. For so long as a Lawyer is a member of one of fourteen (14) law societies across Canada (see http://www.flsc.ca), he/she is AUTOMATICALLY recognized by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
The lawyers of Visas & Places, Vinc Abrams and Adeel Muhammad, are members in good standing of the Law Society of Upper Canada, which is the governing body for lawyers in the Canadian Province of Ontario and which is one of the fourteen (14) law societies across Canada. To verify this fact, you are welcome to contact Member Services of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
10. Are you sure that I qualify?
Please note that we are very cautious about the types of cases we positively assess. Our firm enjoys a near 100% success rate with clients, who retain us, via the Internet because we do not accept cases that are borderline and that have no hope of succeeding. Suffice it to say, if we positively assessed your qualifications for Immigration to Canada, we believe that you stand a very good chance of applying for and receiving Canadian Permanent Residence with our assistance. We do not believe in wasting people’s time and money and our reputation is far too important for us to risk making “quick” profits at our clients’ expense. Our firm thrives on referrals from satisfied clients.
1. I would like to retain/engage your services. How do I do so?
If you had completed our Online Eligibility Assessment Questionnaire and were favourably assessed, we would have provided you with links to our Agreement and Payment Instructions with your assessment.
If you would like to retain/engage our services, you need only print your name and insert your signature on the Agreement, where indicated, and return the document to our office with your initial payment of our legal fees.
The easiest way to remit payment is by credit card or VISA debit card online on our secure Online Payment Facility at https://www.visasandplaces.com/payment/
It has been our experience that sometimes, for your protection, credit/debit card companies refuse to authorize online payments if the amount exceeds a certain pre-set limit or if a payment is being remitted over the Internet, especially to an overseas company (for fear of a stolen credit/debit card and/or credit/debit card fraud).
Your best course of action might be to telephone your card issuer and advise them that you will be making an online payment to Canada. More than likely, they will pre-authorize the transaction and then you can remit payment online at https://www.visasandplaces.com/payment/
Should you follow this route, please note that our Online Payment Facility at https://www.visasandplaces.com/payment/ is secure. Please be advised that any personal information you supply is kept in the strictest confidence and, for your own protection, no information is held on any of our servers. Furthermore, our Online Payment Facility is secured by Paymentech and cannot be viewed by any third party. All transactions are processed directly with our banking institutions by Paymentech, the industry standard, at the highest available current encrypted security level.
If remitting the first installment of our legal fees, via wire transfer or credit card, the signed Agreement can be faxed or scanned and e-mailed to our office.
If remitting the first installment of our legal fees, via money order/bank draft/cashier’s cheque/traveller’s cheque, the signed Agreement can be sent to our office, via mail or courier, in the same envelope as that in which you enclose your payment. We recommend you use a courier service such as FedEx/UPS/DHL since international mail to Canada can take several weeks to arrive.
Just as soon as your initial payment has been received by our office, we shall prepare our preliminary package to send to you, via e-mail, which contains all of the necessary forms, document checklists, instructions and information so as to enable you to commence the Immigration Application process with our assistance.
2. I would like to retain your services but not until next year sometime. May I do so?
As Canadian Immigration laws, regulations and policies are always subject to change at any time without advance notice, we can make no assurances to you whatsoever that you will still qualify if you defer your proposed Canadian Immigration plans to a later date.
3. Can I pay your legal fees once I receive Permanent Residence and arrive in Canada?
Regrettably, our legal fees and schedule of payments are non-negotiable (i.e. we do not operate on a “fly now, pay later” basis).
4. I would like to wire transfer my legal fees to your trust account. What is your banking information/SWIFT code/IBAN number
Visas & Places operates two (2) sets of accounts in both Canadian and U.S. Dollars. The information for both accounts is as follows:
Canadian Dollar Trust Account Beneficiary Bank Name: The Bank of Nova Scotia Swift Code/BIC: NOSCCATT Canadian Clearing Code: CC000283212 Beneficiary Bank Address: 555 Yonge Street
Beneficiary Account Number: Transit: 83212
Account Number: 0009512
Beneficiary Account Name: Visas and Places Beneficiary Address: 250 Merton Street
U.S. Dollar Trust Account Beneficiary Bank Name: The Bank of Nova Scotia Swift Code/BIC: NOSCCATT Canadian Clearing Code: CC000283212 Beneficiary Bank Address: 555 Yonge Street
Beneficiary Account Number: Transit: 83212
Account Number: 0036919
Beneficiary Account Name: Visas and Places Beneficiary Address: 250 Merton Street
IBAN #: Canadian Banks have ABA (American Banking Association) numbers but not IBAN numbers.
However, they have SWIFT codes (which are provided, above) and which any bank in the world can use to direct payments. To wire money to Canada, all that is needed is the SWIFT code, address of the bank and the account number of the beneficiary (all of which are provided, above).
If paying by wire transfer (whether in U.S. or Canadian Dollars), please ensure to provide us with the following information:
(i) the date the remittance was made; (ii) the amount sent; (iii) the financial institution through which the remittance was made; and (iv) the name of the payor (i.e. the person or organization who made the remittance) if the payor was not yourself.
5. My courier company told me that my shipment would arrive at your office, today. Why have you not acknowledged receipt of my signed documents and initial payment?
If we have not confirmed receipt of your shipment, we have not received it. It is not our practice to receive courier shipments and then remain silent. If you would like to ascertain the current status of your shipment, we suggest that you contact your courier company.
1. Where do I apply for Permanent Residence in Canada?
Most Applications for Permanent Residence in Canada are filed, initially, with a Case Processing Centre or Centralized Intake Office in Canada and then they are ultimately processed to completion by a Canadian visa office, which has geographic responsibility for the country in which the applicant has been lawfully admitted and has resided for a period of at least one (1) year. Otherwise, it is the Canadian visa office, which has geographic responsibility for the applicant’s country of citizenship that will process the Application to completion.
2. How long does the Application process take?
Processing times will depend on:
- the type of Immigration Application;
- the Case Processing Centre/Centralized Intake Office/Canadian visa office processing the Application;
- whether an Immigration interview is deemed necessary in your case;
- the complexity of your case;
- how well your case is presented; and
- the existing caseload in a Case Processing Centre/Centralized Intake Office/Canadian visa at a given time
Nobody can promise you a specific processing timeframe and any lawyer/consultant that guarantees processing times is being less than truthful with you. Lawyers/consultants can give estimates; however, they CANNOT guarantee processing times as processing times are ALWAYS subject to change WITHOUT advance notice.
Do not choose a law firm on the basis of how quickly they promise your case will be processed. Rather, choose a law firm that you feel will be competent to prepare your case correctly and expeditiously and be attentive to your needs
3. What are my chances of interview waiver?
The majority of cases, these days, are approved without the need for a personal interview, although an applicant can be convoked to interview if there is a security issue and/or there is an issue concerning the applicant’s claims and/or supporting documentation. Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials also randomly select very qualified applicants for “Quality Assurance Interviews” whereby the Department has an opportunity to satisfy itself that it is making the right decisions as to which cases merit waivers of interview
4. I was born in Mauritius (a bilingual country) and I am fluent in English and French. Do I have to undergo language testing?
All principal applicants (even those born and living in an English-speaking country) must now undergo the IELTS (www.ielts.org). Citizenship and Immigration Canada only accepts the IELTS general test results and NOT the academic test results and results are only valid for two (2) years. IELTS test results must be included when we file your Application.
Similarly, if claiming French language ability, all principal applicants (even those born and living in a French-speaking country) must now undergo the TEF (http://www.fda.ccip.fr/). This is the only French language test that is acceptable to Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials.
5. Does my spouse have to attend the interview?
The Government of Canada has vacillated back and forth on this issue. It used to be that all applicants age eighteen (18) and over had to attend the interview with the understanding that if a spouse or adult child could not, for whatever reason, attend the interview, the requirement of his/her attendance would be waived. Then the Government changed its policy and stated that adult dependants did NOT have to attend the interview. Now, the pendulum has swung back to the original position and adult dependants must attend the interview. Ultimately, it is subject to the discretion of the visa officer, having carriage of the file, as to whether to waive the requirement that an adult dependant be interviewed if he/she does not present himself/herself at the interview.
6. I would like to include my parents on my Application for Permanent Residence in Canada as accompanying dependants. May I do so?
Only spouses/partners and dependent children can be included on an Application for Permanent Residence in Canada as accompanying dependants. Parents cannot. You may, however, be eligible to sponsor your parents to immigrate to Canada as Members of the Family Class once you are residing here as a permanent resident of this country and meet Minimum Necessary Income requirements as established by Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials.
7. I would like to include my children on my Application for Permanent Residence in Canada as accompanying dependants. They are both over twenty-two (22) years of age. May I do so?
Unfortunately not. In order for children to accompany a parent to Canada as dependants, the children must be under age nineteen (19) or over age nineteen (19) and mentally or physically disabled and dependent on his/her parent(s).
8. I do not want to arrive in Canada for several years. Can you arrange that?
Once you become a permanent resident of Canada, you can remain outside of Canada for up to three (3) years within any five (5) year period without being deemed to have abandoned your Canadian Permanent Residence.
9. Can I visit Canada while my Application for Permanent Residence is in process?
Your temporary entry to Canada is subject to the discretion of the Immigration officer at the Canadian port of entry and they may refuse you entry if they know that you have applied for Permanent Residence in Canada and are, thus, an intending immigrant and not merely a visitor. If questioned whether you have an Application for Permanent Residence in progress, you must answer this question, truthfully; however, you should emphasize that your visit to Canada is merely temporary in nature and that it is your full intention to leave Canada upon the completion of your visit. Generally speaking, most of our clients in your situation have never experienced any difficulties, attempting to enter Canada as visitors while their Applications for Permanent Residence were in process although entry is NEVER guaranteed.
10. Aside from your legal fees, are there any other fees that I must pay?
Please note that aside from our legal fees, you must ALSO pay the Government of Canada’s fees. The Government of Canada’s fees consist of non-refundable processing fees and Right of Permanent Residence fees, which are only requested by Citizenship and Immigration Canada at the successful conclusion of the Application process. Visas & Places will inform you of the exact amount of these fees when you are a client.
11. Do I have to bring any money with me to Canada?
Certain categories of Immigration require the applicant to meet settlement fund requirements. Visas & Places will inform you of the exact amount of settlement funds that need to be shown (if applicable) when you are a client.
1. I have already applied for and received Permanent Residence in Canada on my own. Can you assist me to find a job and accommodation in Canada?
Regrettably, we do not provide job search/settlement services separate and apart from our Canadian Immigration legal services.
2. Can your firm assist me to apply for Canadian Citizenship?
Yes we can. If you believe you are eligible to apply for Canadian Citizenship and wish our assistance, please submit your inquiry online at http://www.visaandplaces.com/contact and we will provide you with full information, regarding our fees and services.
3. I applied for Permanent Residence in Canada on my own but I am having difficulties, dealing with the Embassy. Can your firm assist me?
Please take note of the fact that we do not accept cases of individuals whose cases are already in progress and who are encountering difficulties with the processing of their Applications for Permanent Residence in Canada. Our firm handles cases from start to finish and most of our clients have their interviews waived and their cases finalized within a relatively short period of time. We do not, however, get involved in cases, midway through the process.
4. I do not need a lawyer’s assistance; however, I need some advice, regarding my Immigration plans. Do you offer consultations?
Mr. Adeel Muhammad of our office (the lawyer at Visas & Places who would ultimately have carriage of your file were you to retain/engage our services) offers individuals, such as yourself, a consultation, either by telephone or e-mail, according to your preference (and mutual agreement). There is an associated fee which varies according to the complexity of the consultation (never exceeding 300 USD), which can be paid online by credit card or VISA/MasterCard debit card at https://www.visaandplaces.com/payment/. Once payment has been made, Mr. Adeel will contact you, via e-mail, to arrange the date and time and method of the consultation. If you become our client, the consultation fee will be credited towards our legal fees when you retain our services.
5. I would like to be your agent in my country. Please send me your agency agreement.
Unfortunately, we regret to inform you that we are not interested in your proposal. If individuals in your country are interested in using our services, we would prefer that they contact us, directly, rather than through a third party.
6. Can you provide me with legal advice specific to my case?
Please note that although we provide a free assessment of Immigration qualifications over the Internet, we do not provide free summary legal advice or descriptions of Canadian Immigration laws, regulations or policies in the same fashion.
IF YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL QUESTION(S) THAT IS/ARE NOT ADDRESSED BY THIS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS PAGE, PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR INQUIRY ONLINE AT https://www.visaandplaces.com/contact AND A MEMBER OF OUR STAFF WILL RESPOND TO YOU WITHIN ONE (1) BUSINESS DAY.