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Frequently Asked Questions

1. General Questions

1.1 What rights does immigration visa give to me?
Once landed with immigration visa, an individual enjoys the right to live and work anywhere in Canada. The immigration visa entitles an individual to permanent resident status. The immigration visa implies certain rights and responsibilities which make it revocable.
1.2 How soon can I apply for Canadian citizenship?
A permanent resident can apply for Canadian citizenship after physically residing in Canada for 3 years. If you leave Canada during that period, this can delay your ability to apply for Canadian citizenship.
1.3 Does Canada recognize dual citizenship?
Yes, Canada recognizes whatever citizenship an individual has. If you have Canadian citizenship, Canada does not require you to abandon your original citizenship.
1.4 How much time do I have to land?
Immigration visa validity is one year since the issue date. An individual must land either before the visa expiry date or before the first anniversary of his/her medical check, whichever comes first
1.5 Can immigration visa be extended?
No, immigration visa can not be extended. If conditions mentioned in paragraph 1.4 have not been met, an individual will have to initiate the application process again from the very beginning.
1.6 Can Canadian citizenship be revoked&
If Canadian citizenship has been obtained through fraudulent immigration presentation it can be revoked. This applies to those who received Canadian citizenship through naturalization process.
1.7 Is there any advantage in professional assistance while applying?
Though the Canadian government does not require an applicant to have a representative, the statistics indicate that the chances to succeed increase if a professional is involved. The Canadian legislation is subject to frequent changes. It is implemented by Immigration Officer whose decision to a great extent involves discretionary authority vested in him. With the new Immigration Act and Regulations in place, the role of the file preparation increases as there could be no personal interview. The Canadian and Quebec Immigration laws and regulations provide for the extensive use of discretionary authority by immigration officers. Such discretion must be exercised in precise and well defined limits. There are a number of issues which are more complex than the average applicant (and in many cases, Canadian visa officers, general consultants, etc) fully understand and which merit the participation of reputable Canadian legal counsel in the process of planning for and acquiring Canadian permanent resident status. These issues are the subject of volumes of reported case law and Immigration Board decisions and are referred to in part, in Government of Canada procedures manuals, Government Operations Memorandums, and the like and provide for the full-time employment of a number of persons in the public sector within the Department of Citizenship & Immigration Canada. A professional licensed consultant, will be able to ensure the filing and perfecting of applications in the appropriate manner. As well, effective counsel will be able to recognize the presence of irregularities in the use of discretionary authority, the misapplication of immigration directives and guidelines, the misapplication of regulatory definitions and the committing of fundamental breaches in the legal duty to act fairly during the assessment process and, intervene with the visa office on an ongoing basis where required. An experienced and competent attorney will ensure that irregularities are raised within the proper delays, and that the issues in question can be properly addressed before the appropriate authorities.

2. Requirements

2.1 Who can apply for immigration visa?
Any individual from any country of origin or residence who meets the requirements set by the Canadian government may apply for immigration to Canada.
2.2 What is principal applicant?
Principal applicant is a family member who according to his/her personal data scores the best number of points under the selection criteria set by the Canadian government.
2.3 Whom can I include into my application for immigration visa?
An applicant can include his/her spouse and dependent children into the application. Other family members, such as parents or brothers and sisters, can not be included into application. Once an applicant lands, parents can be sponsored under the Family Class. The sponsor has to meet financial requirements set by the Canadian government.
Applicant's or his/her spouse's brothers and sisters, while applying on their own, will enjoy better points under the selection criteria.
2.4 Do I need to have some assets?
The Canadian government does not provide financial assistance to independent immigrants who are expected to be self-supporting. All independent immigrants must prove that they have enough money to support themselves and their dependents for some time after they arrive in Canada. You will be asked to provide a proof of readily transferable funds.
2.5 What is the point system?
Applicant's personal data are assessed against the selection criteria and are awarded points for the factors under consideration. An applicant must score the set minimum of points to qualify in the class or category under which he or she applied.
2.6 How do I know if I qualify?
You can request a Preliminary Application Questionnaire from a Canadian Consulate. Once you fill out and submit it, the Consulate will advise you if it's worth while for you to apply. Due to their workload it can take a while.
You can also get your personal data assessed by Northern-Gate Consulting. Please, fill out the online assessment form and we'll be back with the results within 2 to 3 working days. The assessment is free, confidential, with no obligation.
2.7 How can I choose the category to apply in?
Our assessment results will include recommendation with regard to the class or category which is the most preferable for you to apply in. We will also advise you who of your family is the most suitable to apply as principal applicant.

3. Application Process

3.1 Must I apply to the local Canadian embassy?
Canadian visa offices also known as Canadian Consulates, Embassies or High Commissions are spread all over the world. An application for a permanent resident visa must be made to the visa office that serves the country where the applicant is residing, if the applicant has been lawfully admitted to that country for a period of at least one year; or the applicant's country of nationality.
Applicants under the Business category have to submit applications to the processing posts specializing in evaluation of that type of applications.
3.2 What documents should I provide?
An applicant has to provide immigration application forms as well as supporting documents which are supposed to confirm their education level, language skills, experience, adaptability, matrimonial status, availability of assets, absence of criminal charges or convictions. Each visa office has specific requirements regarding submission of supporting documents.
3.3 Must I provide supporting documents together with the application?
Immigration Regulations require supporting documents to be submitted together with the application and processing fees. While some visa offices can request to provide missing supporting documents at a later date, if the file is not complete, some others can mail the file back to the applicant.
3.4 Must I submit original documents?
Applicants are required to submit copies of the supporting documents together with the application forms. All visa offices insist that applicants submit original police clearances and documents confirming settlement funds availability.
Applicants may be required to provide original documents at immigration interview.
3.5 Can I submit the documents in my native language?
If applicant's supporting documents are in a language other than English or French, they must be translated into either English or French. The translations must be certified.
3.6 Can I transfer my file to another processing post?
An applicant's file can only be transferred to another visa office if this does not compromise the integrity of the file processing. The visa office can approve file transfer if there are some reasons for applicant's request. For example, the applicant is moving to or is going to a long-term business trip to another country and will be there on legitimate grounds for at least a year. The applicant's file processing will start from the very beginning at the new visa office.

4. Medical Requirements

4.1 What is the medical examination about?
All applicants and their dependents, whether accompanying the principal applicant to Canada or not, are required to undergo and pass the medical examination. The medical examination is intended to check if applicant and their dependents meet the health requirements set by the Canadian government. If not, immigration visa can be refused.
4.2 What are the health requirements?
Applicants' and their dependents' medical condition should not be a danger to public health and should not be excessive burden on the Canadian public health or social systems. The factors considered during the medical assessment include whether or not hospitalization or medical, social or institutional care are required and whether potential employability or productivity could be affected.
4.3 Can any doctor perform the medical check?
No, medical practitioners designated by the Canadian government can only perform the medical examinations. The list of designated practitioners can be obtained from a Canadian visa office.
4.4 Do all my dependents have to take the examination?
All dependents of applicant in the Skilled Worker category, whether accompanying or not, must undergo the examination. If any of them does not pass the medical examination, the whole family will be refused immigration visas.
4.5 Can the examining doctor advise me about the results?
The doctor can advise you about health-related problems only. The medical immigration officer makes decision on whether or not the medical examination has been passed.
4.6 Will the results be available to me?
The results of the medical examination are never available to the applicant. They are property of the Canadian government. However, the applicant will be advised in writing if there is a problem with the examination results.
4.7 Where can I check out the list of diseases?
There is no list of diseases that can represent a reason for refusal on medical grounds. When assessing health condition, the medical officer checks not only for certain diseases but also evaluates the medical condition of the applicant and dependents at the time of the examination.
4.8 What does " Procedural fairness letter " mean?
The letter is mailed by visa office to applicant when there are serious problems in the medical condition of the applicant and/or their dependents. The letter provides a chance to the applicant to provide additional information that could change officer's intention to refuse on medical grounds.

5. Police Clearance and Background Check

5.1 What is police clearance?
Police clearance is a document that certifies that an individual has no criminal record. Applicant and each dependent over the age of 18 must provide no criminal record certificates from all countries where they resided for 6 months or more since the age of 18 years.
5.2 When should police clearance be submitted?
Police clearance documents must be submitted together with application forms, supporting documents and processing fees. Visa offices accept only original no criminal record certificates. Visa offices usually consider them valid for 6 months since the issue date.
5.3 What if police authorities refuse to provide the certificate?
Visa offices assume that police clearance must be obtained. In case of refusal, applicant can submit the official refusal letter instead.
5.4 What is background check?
Background check is conducted to check out if applicant or any of his dependents could be involved in espionage or terrorism activities or be of any other danger to Canada. Background check starts shortly after the application was logged in and is conducted parallel to application consideration without applicant's participation.
5.5 How long does the background check take?
There is no set timeframe for background check. Its duration can be affected by such factors as military service, foreign trips, membership in political organizations. It takes as much time as it requires.
5.6 What is security interview?
Security interview is different from selection interview. It is a part of the background check and designed for the same purpose as background check. Applicant can be called to security interview even if selection interview has been waived.

6. Skilled Worker Applications

6.1 Can I apply in any occupation?
An applicant can apply in an occupation that is in the category of Skill Type 0, or Skill Level A or B on the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC). If applicant's occupation is not in the List, the application will be refused.
6.2 Can I apply in an occupation other than in my diploma?
Yes, you can apply in an occupation other than in the diploma if you have experience in the occupation and it's in the category of Skill Type 0, or Skill Level A or B on the NOC.
6.3 Do I need professional experience to qualify?
Applicant must have at least one year experience in an occupation as listed above to apply. If they do not, the application will be refused, there will no further consideration.
6.4 When the experience should be obtained?
The experience must be obtained at any time within last 10 years preceding the application.
6.5 Do I need a Canadian job offer to qualify?
This is not a requirement to qualify. But applicant will benefit if they have a job offer from a Canadian employer which could entitle them to up to 15 extra points for the arranged employment factor.
6.6 Will I score points for my spouse's personal data?
Applicant is entitled to points for adaptability which includes points for spouse's educational background, previous work or study in Canada, availability of relatives in Canada.
6.7 Can I get selection interview waived?
Selection interviews will not happen too often under the new Regulations. Now interview is mostly required if officer needs to verify the verassity of the documentation and facts. In other cases, he will be able to make decision based on the documentation and information provided.
6.8 What is settlement funds?
The Canadian government does not provide financial assistance to independent immigrants. They are supposed to have assets to support themselves and their dependents upon arriving to Canada. Applicant must demonstrate the availability of the required amount before immigration visa is issued. If an applicant has an arranged employment in Canada he does not have to provide a proof of settlement funds availability.
6.9 How do I know whether I qualify?
You can get your personal data assessed by Northern-Gate Consulting. Please, fill out the online assessment form for Skilled Workers and we'll be back with the results. The assessment is free, confidential, with no obligation.

7. Business Applications

7.1 What is the Business Immigration Program?
Business Immigration Program allows individuals with venture capital, business skills and experience to apply for Canadian permanent resident status. This category includes investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed persons.
7.2 What documents must I submit?
Applicants under the Business Category are supposed to provide documents demonstrating their business skills and experience in addition to the documents submitted under the Skilled Worker Category.
7.3 What are the language requirements?
The language requirements in the Business Category are not as strict as in the Skilled Worker category.
7.4 As a business immigrant, am I supposed to make an exploratory visit to Canada?
Such a visit is not a requirement to qualify but is encouraged by immigration authorities. Such a visit will be beneficial for an applicant as it allows to examine the market conditions in the province of their choice. It also demonstrates to the processing officer the applicant's specific qualities such as motivation and knowledge of Canadian realities. Exploratory visit to Canada entitles applicant under a Business category to 6 additional points.
7.5 As a business immigrant, can I settle in any province?
A business immigrant can live and run business in any province of their choice. However, the ten provinces and two territories of extent Canada are different in size, of industrial development and rate of economic growth. These differences affect applicant's ability to profit from your investment or to recover the capital.
7.6 Must I submit a detailed business plan to immigration?
Not really. An applicant is rather supposed to provide a business idea, concept. Applicant is also expected to demonstrate their previous business experience which is considered as necessary prerequisite for successful business operation in Canada.
7.7 Should I apply as Investor or as Entrepreneur?
If you have a net worth of at least $800,000, you may qualify for immigration in either category. If you do not intend to be actively involved in the management of your own business, apply as an Investor. If you plan to become actively involved in the management of your own business or a partnership, apply as an Entrepreneur.
7.8 Should I apply as Investor just to get unconditional visa?
A visa with terms and conditions is not an obstacle for an Entrepreneur. Visit the province of your choice. If it is Ontario, attend the Business Immigration Branch seminar in Toronto and undertake some basic market research. You should have no difficulty in developing a good business opportunity that will also satisfy the terms and conditions of your visa within three years of your arrival in any province. If you want to be an Entrepreneur but you apply as an Investor, your capital in your immigration-qualifying investment will not be available to you or your new business for at least five years.
7.9 Do I have to own property in Canada to receive immigrant visa?
No. While you may own land or buildings in Canada, it will not affect whether you get a visa or how long it takes to get a visa. Business immigrants are selected for their business background and ability to settle in Canada in economic sense.
7.10 How do I know if I qualify or not?
You can get your personal data assessed by Northern-Gate Consulting. Please, fill out the online assessment form for Business Applicants and we'll be back with the results as soon as possible. The assessment is free, confidential, with no obligation.
7.11 May I inherit the required net worth and be eligible?
Yes, the net worth is considered qualifying if it has been obtained in a legal way.
7.12 How can Investor demonstrate the source of funds?
An applicant under the Investor Program is supposed to prove the source and process of accumulating the funds through reliable third-party documents.
7.13 Must Investor run a business?
Investor is not obliged to run business in Canada but he may if he'd like to.
7.14 When Investor is supposed to invest the qualifying funds?
An applicant under the Investor Immigration Program must pay the funds to the Receiver General for Canada before the immigrant visa is issued to them.
7.15 What happens to the funds if Investor does not receive visa?
The full funds will be returned.
7.16 Can Investor invest funds into any fund of his choice?
The qualifying funds must be placed with the Receiver General for Canada. The Canadian Government decides on the funds distribution. invested into an approved fund or business. An approved fund or business is on
7.17 What is the difference between Entrepreneur and Self-Employed visas?
A self-employed immigrant receives visa on condition to start a business to support himself and his family. An entrepreneur immigrant receives immigrant visa on conditions set by immigration authorities.
7.18 How much money do I need to qualify as Entrepreneur?
Entrepreneur under the Federal Business Program must have a legally obtained net worth of at least CDN$ 300.000.
7.19 As Entrepreneur, can I establish any type of business?
Except those that are primarily targeted at deriving profits from passive investments.
7.20 Can Entrepreneur change his business plan upon arrival?
If upon arrival to Canada Entrepreneur's initial plan does not work he may change it to another. However, a new business plan must be submitted to immigration officer for approval.
7.21 Can Entrepreneur satisfy visa conditions through a partnership?
Entrepreneur may enter a partnership with anyone. The partnership may involve an existing business or may create a new business.
7.22 Can Entrepreneur invest in his friend's business?
Entrepreneur may invest in any business that meets the guidelines for acceptable business investments and in which the Entrepreneur will take an active management role.
7.23 Can Entrepreneur invest in his own project?
Entrepreneurs can invest in their own project or a partnership provided they are actively engaged in the management of the business.

8. Family Class Applications

8.1 What is family sponsorship?
Canadian citizens and permanent residents, aged 18 and over and living in Canada, may sponsor the applications of certain relatives who wish to immigrate to Canada. This is known as family class sponsorship.
8.2 What financial requirements must sponsor meet?
Sponsor's income will be evaluated to determine whether it is sufficient to support sponsor's immediate family and sponsored relatives. A sponsor must be able to provide for the lodging, care, maintenance and normal settlement needs of the applicant and accompanying dependents for 10 years. This means that sponsored relatives should not need financial help from the government.
If a spouse or a dependent child are sponsored, the financial requirements may be omitted.
8.3 What if sponsor does not meet the financial criteria?
If sponsor is married, their spouse can be a co-signer to take the obligations to the sponsored relatives. In this case, the co-signer is equally responsible for the support of the sponsored relatives.
If sponsor does not meet the financial requirements or sponsor's and co-signer's combined income does not meet the financial requirements, the application for sponsorship can be refused.
8.4 Does sponsor have obligations to the Canadian government?
A sponsor signs the Undertaking which is a legal contract between the government and the sponsor and a promise by the sponsor to provide for the needs of the sponsored relatives without resorting to social benefits for the period of 10 years. If the sponsor fails to meet the obligations, legal actions can be taken against the individual.
8.5 Can a relative other than listed be sponsored?
A Canadian citizen or permanent resident who does not have a relative a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, sibling, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece in Canada, and who does not have a family class relative to sponsor, may sponsor one relative regardless of relationship and age.
8.6 What rights and responsibilities have sponsored relatives?
Once landed, the sponsored relative becomes a permanent resident in Canada and has all rights and responsibilities that go with the status.
8.7 Can a sponsored relative lose permanent resident status?
A sponsored relative can lose the status on the same grounds as any permanent resident.
8.8 Must sponsored relatives support themselves?
Sponsored relatives are supposed to do their best to support themselves, unless elderly.
8.9 Can sponsored relatives receive pension in Canada?
A sponsored relative enjoys the same rights as any permanent resident. To be eligible for such government benefit as Old Age Pension, a sponsored relative must have lived in Canada for a minimum period of time and be a minimum age. A sponsored relative may have to live in a province for a certain amount of time before being eligible for free health care.
8.10 What is the application process for Family Sponsorship?
A sponsor must apply for sponsorship approval within Canada. He has to submit the application and pay the processing fee. Once the application has been approved, the sponsor will receive the application kit that must be sent to the sponsored relative. The relative is supposed to complete the application forms and submit them to the specified visa office. The relative and his/her dependents must meet the health and security requirements.
8.11 How long applications for sponsorship are processed?
The time frame depends on various factors. However, family class applications are considered high priority and processed ahead of business and skilled worker applications.
8.12 Will be interview required?
Sponsor may be called for interview within Canada to check the financial details. The sponsored relative may be called for interview to the processing post. The relative may be asked to provide details about the ties of relationship.
8.13 What are the reasons for refusal?
A family class application may be refused for a number of reasons. For example, the sponsor may not meet the financial requirements or proof of relationship or other documents may be unavailable or unsatisfactory or the applicant may have a serious medical condition or have a criminal record.
If the application is refused, the visa officer will write to the applicant giving the reason for the refusal. The sponsor will also be notified and will be informed of the right to appeal.

This compilation of Frequently Asked Questions has been prepared by Northern-Gate Consulting for the intended reference by interested individuals and is not intended to create a counsel - client communication. This compilation may be reproduced for the personal non-commercial use of interested individuals on the express or implied condition that the contents herein are neither edited, modified nor altered in whole or in part, directly or indirectly without the express written consent of the author herein.