Canadian Immigration Questions and Answers with Attorney David Cohen

CIC News
Published: March 23, 2017

Every month, Attorney David Cohen will answer a few general Canadian immigration questions submitted by our readers. These questions cover immigration programs, eligibility, processing, language requirements, investing in Canada, landing, admissibility, studying in Canada, working in Canada, and much more. Here are this month's questions and answers.

1. I am a regular subscriber to you articles, which I find very helpful. There is one question I would like you to answer for me: I am an international student in Canada and my common-law partner is here with me on an open work permit. Can she be the principal applicant?

That is a good question. In short, yes, your common-law partner may be the principal applicant on an application for permanent residence, but there are a few things worth considering.

First, it is important for both partners to determine your eligibility across the currently available programs. I say this because there are programs run by the federal government, such as the programs managed under the Express Entry system, as well as programs run by the provinces, including the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) and programs in Quebec. Depending on your credentials as individuals and circumstances as a couple, there may be reasons to pursue a particular route to permanent residence.

Study experience in Canada and work experience in Canada are both rewarded in many of the programs alluded to above. It could be the case that your partner should be the principal applicant, but it could also be the case that your immigration objectives could be met if you were the principal applicant. Indeed, in the Express Entry system both partners may create a profile, listing the other partner as the accompanying partner in both cases. This may have certain advantages, such as the possibility of greater exposure to Canadian provinces that manage PNP streams aligned with Express Entry.

To learn more, I encourage you both to complete a free online assessment.


2. Hi, I need a clarification. Suppose my Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score is 436 and I got an Invitation to Apply. And during the processing time (for example four months after getting my ITA), my birthday occurs, reducing my score to below the threshold needed to get an ITA in that particular draw. Will I get my PR visa to Canada in such a scenario? Expecting your valuable reply. Thanks in advance.

An Express Entry applicant, or potential applicant who has been issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA), may have a birthday after he or she receives an ITA. The change in age may occur before he or she submits an application for permanent residence, or before he or she receives confirmation of permanent residence. Fortunately, the government of Canada has established a public policy to exempt Express Entry applicants from certain age-based requirements between the moment of receipt of the ITA and the e-application being processed to completion. If no such policy was in place, a change in age could have the effect of a candidate's CRS score decreasing below the lowest score in the draw in which he or she received an ITA.

In short, there is no need to worry about an age factor affecting the validity of an ITA or an e-application after the ITA is issued.

That being said, if for some reason a candidate is unable to submit the application, or if it is refused and he or she wishes to re-enter the pool, he or she would have to satisfy the conditions for entry to the pool (i.e. he or she would have to be eligible under a federal economic program), and the number of CRS points awarded for age at this point would be affected by his or her most recent birthday. If anything, this highlights the importance of preparing and submitting a complete and accurate application the first time around.



3. Can I make multiple visits to Canada with an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)?

Yes, holders of a valid eTA may make multiple visits to Canada.

The eTA is valid for a period of five years from the day on which it is issued to the applicant or until the earliest of the following days, if they occur before the end of that period:

  • the day on which the applicant’s passport or other travel document expires,
  • the day on which the electronic travel authorization is cancelled, or
  • the day on which a new electronic travel authorization is issued to the applicant.

As long as the holder of the eTA remains admissible to Canada, he or she may make multiple visits to Canada over the course of the duration of the eTA’s validity.


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