Articles/q&a

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Before proceeding with any application or travel to Canada, you should always check the current entry requirements related to COVID-19, which are continuously evolving and may affect your circumstances.

My relative from Hong Kong was a permanent resident of Canada many years ago, but was ordered removed because he had a criminal conviction that he failed to disclose prior to coming to Canada. As over 12 years have passed since he returned to Hong Kong, he would like to return to Canada, just for a visit, as I am planning on getting married and it is very important to me that he attend the wedding. As he does not require a visa to enter Canada, I would like to know if he requires a special document or permission to come Canada.

 A person with a criminal record will be normally required to apply for criminal rehabilitation. Depending on the nature and severity of the crime, your relative may be deemed rehabilitated due to the passage of time, or may have to apply for individual rehabilitation. In either case, he will have to collect and submit all relevant documents well in advance. Also, your relative will need to know exactly what the basis of the removal order was, as it may have been misrepresentation, criminality or both. Depending on the type of removal order he had, he will likely require an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) as a person subject to a deportation order is permanently barred from re-entering Canada unless he can obtain ARC based on his particular circumstances. Finally, if your relative is successful in obtaining both rehabilitation and ARC, he will require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) which he can apply for online. As you see, this process will require some time so he should begin well in advance of your wedding.

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I have been in Canada on a visitor visa for two years so far, to accompany my son who is studying at a local primary school. My multiple entry visa will expire in 8 years. Last week, on our return from a summer trip to China, I was stopped by an officer at the airport who asked me questions for two hours about my residence in Canada. Finally, she let me into Canada, but I she told me I could only stay for six months. As I need to stay with my son all year, and he is only in Grade 7, I am not sure what I should do. It has always been our plan that I visit Canada until he graduates from high school. 

You need to obtain proper legal advice right away, to ensure that you do not run into difficulties later. Any visitor admitted to Canada will be admitted for a period of six months or shorter, depending on the circumstances. If a visitor wishes to stay longer they must apply for an extension of time prior to the expiry of the period authorized, or they can leave Canada and return at a later time to receive a further six months. In either case, an officer can review all of the circumstances and decide whether to allow the person to remain in or re-enter Canada, as the case may be. In order to be allowed to stay or return, the officer must be satisfied that you have sufficient funds and have no intention to remain in Canada permanently. In some cases like yours, officers believe that you intend to remain permanently because of the very long-term plan you have to accompany your child. In order to obtain future extensions or re-admission, you should prepare a clear explanation on your plans in Canada along with supporting documents. You could also consider applying for permanent residence, depending on your background. In any event, you will need to discuss your situation with an Immigration lawyer. 

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My friend has a green card from the United States but is still a Chinese citizen holding a PRC passport. He wants to visit me in Canada and it is not clear if he needs a visitor visa or an ETA. Which one does he need?

If a border services officer refuses entry to a person with a valid temporary residence visa it is usually for a good reason. If your friend was found to not be a genuine visitor, it means that the officer either had evidence that he had other purposes in Canada, or your friend responded to questions inaccurately or in a contradictory manner. Normally, an officer refusing entry will cancel the temporary resident visa and advise the person concerned. If your friend is not clear on this, he should make an application for Access to Information to obtain his computer file. It would not be advisable to seek re-entry without being completely clear regarding the validity of the visa. If the visa is still valid, then technically your friend can try to enter Canada again, however, he should obtain legal advice prior to this to avoid future difficulties.

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My friend obtained a visitor visa in China but when he arrived to Canada the officer did not believe he was a genuine visitor so he refused to let him enter the country. As he has a multiple entry visa, he would like to know if he can use it in the future to return to Canada.

A citizen of China with lawful permanent residence status in the United States (a green card), may enter Canada without a visitor visa.  If your friend flies to a Canadian airport, he must obtain an eTA prior to arrival. If he comes to a land border by car, bus, train or boat, he does not need an eTA but he must provide both his Chinese passport and proof of valid US permanent residence status.  

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Our family friend is preparing a very beautiful wedding for their son and his fiancee, which will take place next year. They would like to invite a famous Chinese singer to perform at the wedding and they would like to ensure that they complete the proper paperwork well in advance of the event. Will he require a work permit to perform at the wedding? Are there any other requirements?

If the singer is a Chinese national, he will require a temporary resident (visitor) visa to enter Canada but will not require a work permit. Foreign performing artists and their key staff may perform for a limited engagement or a private event without the need for a work permit. If the singer already has a valid multiple entry temporary resident (visitor) visa which will not expire by the time he is expected to perform for the wedding, he will not need to file any additional paperwork. If not, he should apply for a temporary resident (visitor) visa well in advance of the wedding – for example, if he has no previous applications or refusals, and processing times remain at current levels, 2-3 months in advance. He will need to provide all of the typical documents for a multiple entry visitor visa which are clearly indicated in the application package, including proof of employment/income, sufficient funds for travel and proof of ties to China. If he has specific issues such as a previous refusal or any other issue, he should obtain proper legal advice prior to applying.

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Our company invited a colleague from China to come for a two-week visit, but his visitor visa was refused. The reason for the refusal was that the officer searched our company on the internet and believed that our business was not compatible with the purpose of the visit. No one from the Canadian embassy ever contacted us to ask any questions and they did not know that our website only deals with one part of our business. In fact, we have several different businesses and we were not given any chance to explain. Is there any way to reverse the decision of the visa officer?

Business visitors must satisfy an officer that they have a legitimate purpose to visit Canada and they meet all of the regular requirements for a temporary resident visa, including intending to leave Canada prior to the expiry of their visa. If the visa officer doubts that the person is really coming to conduct the business activities for which he is invited, then the application will be refused. The onus is on the applicant to prove that they have a valid purpose and will abide by Canadian law. As the applicant submitted an invitation letter from your company and it appeared that your company did not conduct business relevant to the invitation, the refusal is probably valid. Having said that, the applicant can submit a new application with more information and detailed documents to provide evidence that the business is legitimate and compatible with the purpose of the visit. Your company and the applicant should obtain detailed legal advice prior to re-applying, as it is difficult to overcome a previous refusal and the application must be prepared very carefully. 

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I am in Canada on a work permit and my wife and child are accompanying me. My wife has a visitor visa and my daughter has a study permit. I will be leaving Canada to take a position in the United States, however, my daughter wants to continue her high school education in Canada. Will there be a problem extending my wife’s visitor status and my daughter’s study permit so that they can stay in Canada for the next three years even though I am going to the United States? 

Your wife and daughter are entitled to apply inside Canada for an extension of their visitor status and study permit, respectively. However, they will no longer be able to apply as dependents of a work permit holder so they will need to demonstrate that they independently meet the requirements of the immigration regulations. This means that your daughter will need to provide proof of admission to a Designated Learning Institution (such as a public high school), proof of sufficient funds to study in Canada, and a willingness to depart Canada upon the expiry of her future study permit. Your wife will need to explain the purpose of her continued visit in Canada, proof of sufficient funds to support herself without working illegally, and a willingness to depart Canada upon the expiry of her visitor status. It would be advisable to obtain proper legal advice prior to applying to make sure that the application is clear, complete and well-documented.

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