Vancouvers holidays or a business trip may be only months away. If you, your clients, or anyone else you know is planning to move to Canada, set up operations in Canada, or just visit British Columbia for the e.g. in 2010 it was the Olympic Games, then you should be aware of Canadas immigration and admissibility requirements.
Passport - Dont Leave Home without It!
All visitors to Canada should be advised to hold a valid passport at the time of entry. Although that may seem to be stunningly obvious, the fact remains that Canadian immigration legislation continues to exempt certain individuals from the requirement of holding a passport on entry to Canada. Persons who are exempt from the passport requirement include American nationals who enter as visitors. However, the difficulty for American visitors will actually arise upon leaving Canada and attempting to return to or enter the United States.
The United States Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires all travellers, including US and Canadian citizens, to present a valid passport, or other approved secure documentation, when entering the United States from within the Western Hemisphere as of June 1, 2009. Therefore, although Canadian immigration law exempts US nationals from the requirement of holding a passport to enter Canada, the exception is of little value as US law now demands that Americans seeking to re-enter the United States carry a passport.
Temporary Resident Visas
Pursuant to Canadian immigration laws, foreign nationals seeking entry to Canada with passport in hand may also require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to travel to Canada. The most obvious exemption from the TRV requirement applies to citizens of the United States. However, there is an extensive list of TRV visa exempt countries set out in Canadas Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Foreign nationals anticipating entry to Canada should consult the list of visa exempt countries prior to making travel plans as TRV issuance may take several weeks.
Individuals requiring a TRV for Canada must apply from a Canadian diplomatic post abroad as TRVs are not available from within Canada. Any person applying for a TRV must demonstrate that the purpose of their trip is temporary, that they have sufficient funds to maintain themselves in Canada without working, and will leave Canada at the end of their stay.
TRVs may be issued for one entry or for multiple entries. Single entry visas are to be issued for a period of up to six months. Multiple entry TRV applicants may receive a visa valid for up to five years.
Medical Examinations - Can You Extend Your Stay? How Healthy Are You?
Most visitors to Canada do not require a medical examination in advance of their entry to Canada. The general rule is set out in Canada&146;s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) and states that those visitors who seek to enter Canada or apply to extend their temporary resident status for a period beyond six consecutive months, and who have resided or travelled in an area of the world designated as a health risk will be required to undergo and pass a medical exam.
The examinations are performed by designated medical practitioners selected by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration. These practitioners exist in virtually every country in the world and the list may be obtained by consulting the Citizenship and Immigration website.
Those individuals who fail the medical exam by reason of a health condition, considered a danger to public health and safety, or by a determination that their disease or disability will cause excessive demand on health or social services, may be denied admission to Canada.
Those individuals in Canada who fail the examination may face a removal order.
Those persons who have determined they meet the passport, temporary resident visa and, if necessary the medical requirements (refer to articles 1-3 in this series), can yet be denied entry into Canada due to either a conviction in Canada, or in some circumstances, the commission of an offence outside of Canada that equates to a conviction under Canadian law. A very common example of an offence making one criminally inadmissible to Canada is a conviction in a foreign jurisdiction for driving under the influence of alcohol. Notwithstanding that the conviction may have been treated summarily or as a misdemeanour in a foreign jurisdiction, such an offence will render an applicant inadmissible for a five year period after completion of sentence imposed.
Where the offence is punishable in Canada by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than 10 years and 10 years has elapsed since the completion of the imposed sentence, a person will be deemed rehabilitated. However, any individual seeking temporary residence in Canada should not assume that deemed rehabilitation provisions apply to them, without first contacting the nearest Canadian consulate or a Canadian immigration lawyer to ensure the deemed rehabilitation provisions apply. In certain instances rehabilitation legislation in the individuals own country may apply to relieve the burden of inadmissibility into Canada.
For those who are criminally inadmissible and not subject to deemed rehabilitation provisions, an application for criminal rehabilitation to Canada is required. Generally, criminal rehabilitation applications in Canada take a minimum of one to two years to process. In exceptional circumstances, an individual who is criminally inadmissible to Canada may apply for an interim remedy known as a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), a device which can be used to circumvent a number of grounds of inadmissibility including criminality. However, TRPs are difficult to obtain for various reasons and those persons appearing at a Port of Entry seeking admission by way of a TRP will be better served by applying at the nearest Canadian consulate or embassy or contacting an immigration lawyer in Canada, well in advance of any trips to Canada.
Canadian Entry for Members of the Olympic Family Let the TRVs Begin
We cannot depart from this topic without mentioning that in anticipation of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralypmic Winter Games, Canadian immigration regulations have been supplemented to allow for ease of travel for certain individuals traveling to attend the winter games. Specifically, implementation of Regulations issued pursuant to Canadas Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) addresses the entry of foreign nationals who have been identified by Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) as a functionary or a family member at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralypmic Winter Games.
In those instances, where a Temporary Resident Permit (TRV) is required for a foreign national, and the individuals identity has been verified as a functionary or family member by VANOC, the person is deemed to have applied for a multiple entry TRV and will be authorized to enter Canada during the period beginning December 12, 2009 and ending March 28, 2010.
Those travellers seeking entry during the period immediately prior to and through the Olympic Games in February 2010 should contact either the nearest Canadian diplomatic facility with an immigration function or alternatively a Canadian immigration lawyer regarding questions or concerns involving passports, visa issuance or issues of criminal inadmissibility that could potentially hamper plans to attend the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralypmic Winter Games.
For further information pertaining to visiting Canada during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, please contact Boughton Law Corporations immigration lawyers noted below: