There are many cases where individuals who are illegally in the U.S. or another country want to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents. Many of these individuals are scared to apply because they do not want to be sent “back home”.
While the general rule is that a person should apply for permanent residency in the country in which they are a citizen or legal resident, certain illegal aliens in the U.S. (and other countries) can apply to immigrate to Canada.
Who can apply for Canadian permanent residency while illegal in the U.S.?
Persons who have been “lawfully admitted” to the U.S. for at least one year can apply for permanent residence in a Canadian Visa Office in the U.S. As a result, if a person was initially “lawfully admitted” to the U.S. for one year but overstayed their U.S. visa and are currently illegal in the U.S., that person can apply to immigrate to Canada.
Is there a minimum time period the person must have been in the U.S.?
It is not necessary that the person have actually been in the U.S. for one year. It is only necessary that the person have been “lawfully admitted” for one year. For instance, if a person got a one year visa to the U.S. but, after 6 months in the U.S., had that visa taken away, he would still be able to apply to immigrate to Canada.
If a Canadian immigration interview is needed, will the illegal alien have to go “back home”?
If a Canadian immigration interview is needed, the illegal alien in the U.S. would normally be interviewed at the Canadian Visa Office in the U.S. that is processing the application unless “program integrity” reasons dictate otherwise. If the Canadian immigration application is denied, Canada will not require the illegal alien to leave the U.S.
While Canada will not require the person to leave the U.S., being in the U.S. illegally does have consequences. Not only is it a violation of U.S. laws, the circumstances relating to the illegal presence in the U.S. can effect the Canadian immigration assessment.
If a family member has been “lawfully admitted” but his/her spouse or children have not been “lawfully admitted” can the family still apply?
According to current Citizenship and Immigration Canada interpretations, family members who are included on a permanent resident application do not need to have been lawfully admitted to the country in which the “applicant” has submitted an application.
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 lawyer with the law firm of Aikins, MacAulay & Thorvaldson LLP and practices in the areas of immigration law and corporate & commercial 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