In many cases, an immigration application can be sent in by regular mail or courier. While either method is valid, immigration lawyers typically advise clients to sent in all correspondence to visa offices by courier or another method by which delivery can be confirmed. While couriers are more costly than regular mail, the court case of Li Fang Mei shows why an investment in a courier can sometimes be the difference between an application being approved or refused.
In Mr. Mei’s case, Mr. Mei applied for and was approved under the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. After his application was approved in Manitoba, he submitted his application to the Canadian Embassy.
After receiveing the application, Citizenship and Immigration Canada visited the business where Mr. Mei worked and questioned his boss and Mr. Mei about his employment. The investigating officer found contradictions in the statements between Mr. Mei and his alleged boss and determined that the business would confirm employment for individuals who did not work for them.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada then notified the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program about the visit and gave Mr. Mei 30 days to provide reliable and verifiable proof of employment. Mr. Mei sent in his response by regular mail but the Embassy never received it.
Three months later, the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program withdrew Mr. Mei’s Certificate of Nomination because of the submission of false documents. A month and a half after this, Citizenship and Immigration Canada refused his application for permanent residence. Because of the refusal, Mr. Mei was barred from reapplying to immigrate to Canada for 2 years.
In Mr. Mei’s case, the main issue was whether the letter that he sent to the Embassy should have been deemed to have been received by the Embassy. If the court accepted Mr. Mei’s argument, the decision by the officer would be a breach of procedural fairness.
In this case, the judge found that immigration applicants are allowed to send responses to visa offices by regular mail if no particular procedure is set out as to how they should communicate to the office. However, the judge also found that the general rule is that the applicants must satisfy visa officers that they comply with all of the requirements under immigration law. As a result, even though a person can send correspondence to a visa office by regular mail, it is an applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the visa officer receives all requested documents within the time period set forth in the officer’s letter.
Mr. Mei tried to argue that it is impossible to verify if a letter sent by regular mail has actually been received. However, because the court found that he had the responsibility to ensure that his letter was received by the visa office, the visa officer was entitled to make a decision without receiving it.
It is always best to send any communication to the visa office in a manner by which delivery can be confirmed. This can be achieved by sending documentation by way of an email that allows for receipt confirmation, a fax that allows for receipt confirmation, or by courier. While regular mail is acceptable, sending materials into visa offices by regular mail results in an unnecessary risk.
This Article is prepared for general information purposes only and is intended to provide comments for readers and friends of the Filipino Journal. The contents should not be viewed as legal advice or opinion.
Reis is a partner with Aikins Law and practices in the areas of immigration law. His direct line is 957-4640. If you would like to know more about Reis or Aikins you can visit the firm’s web page at www.aikins.com, follow Reis on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/ImmigrationReis, or connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/reispagtakhan