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Definitions

A - H

Applicant: The person applying for permanent residence status in Canada.

Business Class Application: People experienced in business who can invest in, or start, businesses in Canada.

CIC: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the federal ministry charged with conducting, implementing, and overseeing the immigration policies of Canada.

Common-law Partners: Two people of the same or opposite sex who are in a committed and interdependent relationship who have been living together (cohabited) for at least one year. They may have lived together in any country.

Immigration regulations state that two people who have been in a conjugal relationship for at least one year, but who have been unable to cohabit due to persecution or legal restrictions may be considered common-law partners.

Conjugal Partners: Two people in a genuine committed and interdependent relationship of some permanence. The partners must have been in the relationship for at least one year. They must have met and spent some time together.

Family Class: An immigration class that is used to reunite families. Same-sex relationships have been recognized in the Family Class since June 28, 2002.

Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C): Humanitarian and compassionate grounds allow for processing of applications from people who do not meet the regular immigration requirements, but still have compelling H&C reasons for immigrating to Canada. This was the process used by same-sex partners who came to Canada before the law changed on June 28, 2002. This is no longer the process used by same-sex partners. Same-sex partners are now considered as part of the Family Class.

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J - P

Judicial Review: A review of immigration decisions by the Federal Court. If your application has been denied, contact a lawyer to discuss options for judicial review or appeal of your application. You have a very limited time in which to do this.

LGBT: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Medical Exam: All immigration applicants must be examined by a medical practitioner approved by CIC. The list of approved medical practitioners (doctors) and the forms to take to the doctor are in your application kit or you can download them from the CIC web site.

Medical Waiver: All applicants to immigrate must have a medical examination. Applicants who have a medical condition that will require expensive medical or social services will usually be refused. Spouses, common-law, conjugal partners and dependent children are not refused for this reason. They are not required to meet the same health requirements as other applicants. This exemption is called the medical waiver.

Permanent Resident (formerly known as a Landed Immigrant): A person who successfully immigrates to Canada. This person receives permanent resident status (previously known as landed immigrant status) when they arrive in Canada, usually at a Port of Entry. A permanent resident has many of the same rights and responsibilities as a citizen. As a permanent resident, you can work, live and travel anywhere in Canada, and anywhere Canadians can travel in the world. Permanent residency is the first step towards applying for citizenship.

There are some limitations to permanent resident status. As a permanent resident you do not have the right to vote. You can lose your permanent resident status if you are outside of Canada for an extended period. A Permanent Resident must physically be present in Canada for 2 years in every 5 year period. Permanent residents convicted of criminal convictions may also lose their status.

Point System: The point system does not apply to same-sex partners or family members entering under the Family Class. People applying to immigrate using the Skilled Worker Class are evaluated on a number of factors like education, experience, age, and language. Applicants are assigned points for each factor. Applicants applying under this class must meet a minimum number of points to be considered for immigration.

Port of Entry: The place at which a person enters Canada. This can be an airport or a border crossing.

Police Certificates/Security Clearances: For security reasons, applicants and their dependent children aged 18 and over must have background checks. Usually, a police certificate is required from every country applicants have lived in for more than six months since age 18. Specific information on how to get police certificates is available at the CIC web site.

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R - S

Right of Appeal: If an outside Canada Family Class application is denied there is a right of appeal. This means you can ask for a decision to be reviewed by the Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board. If your application is denied contact a lawyer immediately.

There is no right of appeal for In Canada Class applications. If an In Canada application is denied, applicants may file for leave to go to Federal Court for a Judicial Review only. If you are in this situation contact a lawyer immediately.

Skilled Workers (Formerly Independent Applicants): These are applicants who feel they have the education and work experience required to earn enough points to pass the point system assessment.

Spouses: A spouse is someone who is married to you. The marriage must be legally recognized both under federal law in Canada and in the country where it took place.

The status of same-sex marriage is currently under consideration in Canadian courts and Parliament.

Sponsor: The Canadian citizen or permanent resident who applies to sponsor their overseas partner's application for permanent resident status. This is a legal agreement. The sponsor agrees to be financially responsible for their partner's living expenses for three years. Some conditions apply. The sponsor cannot:

  • be receiving welfare (unless these are disability benefits)
  • have an undischarged bankruptcy
  • have failed to support a previously sponsored family member
  • have sponsored a spouse in the previous three years
  • have failed to make a court ordered support payment to a spouse or dependent children

There is no minimum income requirement to sponsor a spouse, partner or dependent child. However, there are minimum income requirements to sponsor other family members.

Statutory Declaration: A Statutory Declaration or Affidavit is a legal document stating facts. The person making it swears that the information in the declaration is true. A "Commissioner of Oaths," (a lawyer or a notary public) signs the document. There is usually a fee for this service.

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T - V

Temporary Resident Permit (formerly called a Minister's Permit): This permit allows a person who does not meet immigration requirements, either as a temporary resident or an immigrant to enter or remain in Canada. This permit is rarely granted.

Temporary Resident Status: All people authorized to enter Canada who are not Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents are authorized to enter Canada as temporary residents. They are given temporary resident status for a limited period of time. Temporary Resident Status includes visitors, students with study permits, and temporary workers with work permits. If there is no stamp or date entered in your passport at time of entry, your status expires six months from the day you arrived in Canada.

Temporary Resident Visa: Formerly called a Visitor's Visa, a Temporary Resident Visa is a document issued outside Canada. This allows a person to travel to Canada.

Undertaking: A Canadian sponsor must sign an undertaking. The undertaking is a promise to provide financial support for your partner's basic requirements and those of their dependent children. Basic requirements include food, clothing, shelter and other everyday needs. The undertaking ensures the new Permanent Residents do not require social assistance. Your obligations as a sponsor begin as soon as you sign the undertaking, and last for three years from the date the applicant becomes a permanent resident. Your sponsorship obligations continue for three years even if the relationship ends.

Visa Office or Regional Processing Centre (RPC): A Canadian consulate, embassy or high commission outside of Canada that processes immigration applications. Not all consulates or embassies process immigration applications. Different regions have different procedures. If you plan to immigrate to Canada, be certain to first check the CIC web site or call CIC for the location of the processing centre for your region of the world.

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Last update: Nov. 15, 2003

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