Exit/Entry Program & Residency Requirements
Posted on 29/01/2020
Listen up if you are a temporary resident or are applying to renewal your Permanent Resident Card or applying for citizenship of Canada, or if you are any other sort of visitor to the country, there’s a new data sharing program in place called Entry/Exit whereby IRCC officials can access the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) system to see when and how often an individual has entered or left Canada. How easy is it? Very easy. Officials with IRCC merely use the Entry/Exit tab in their Global Case Management System (GCMS) to access CBSA’s data. As of July 2019, data on land crossings is now available and as of June of 2020 data on air departures and arrivals should be available to IRCC authorities.
Your travels will now be one tiny click away from any IRCC official’s prying eyes.
Not only that, but CBSA under the program will also be sharing data with US customs and border officials as well as directly with airlines.
Why does this matter? Because of residency requirements that are part and parcel of most Canadian immigration programs and streams. In order to be eligible, you must comply with residency requirements. If you don’t, you risk losing your legal status in Canada and that often means you will be unable to remain in Canada and may be deported. It can even affect your eligibility to receive healthcare in many provinces if you do not comply with their residency requirements.
Here are some of the ways in which IRCC will be using the shared data, according to IRCC’s official website:
- Verifying residency requirements for programs like grants of citizenship or permanent resident cards
- Helping assess an individual’s application for travel documents
- Verifying if an applicant for a temporary resident document has overstayed their allowable period of admission in Canada
- Verifying that sponsors (of spouses or others) are in fact residents of Canada
- Verifying the residency of spouses and their partners
- Verifying whether a refugee claimant entered Canada using travel documents
- Providing support to fraud investigations including immigration, citizenship, passport programs, and travel documents
While IRCC officials are only allowed to disclose entry and exit information if it is relevant to the administration of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) as well as any applicable Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) or similar information sharing agreements, that still covers a very wide range of situations. Essentially, Canadian immigration authorities have the right to share your travel information with other agencies or governments under many situations. Don’t assume your exit and entry data is private. It’s not.
The following list of visas, permits, and other programs are authorized to use your entry and exit data that can then also be shared:
Temporary Residence application types:
- Temporary resident visas
- Temporary resident permits
- Visitor records
- Work permits and work permit extensions
- Study permits and study permit extensions
- Electronic travel authorizations (eTAs)
Permanent Residence application types:
- Permanent resident cards (PR cards)
- Permanent resident travel documents
- Overseas refugees
- Family class sponsorships
- Remember that PR residency requirements are for 730 days every 5 years
Inland Refugee claims
- Applications for in-Canada asylum
- Applications for citizenship
- Flagging potential loss of permanent resident status
- Flagging need for police certificates depending on how long and where you travelled to while a permanent resident of Canada
- Verifying you complied with physical presence requirements for resumption of citizenship – 365 days in Canada in the 2 years immediately preceding your application for citizenship
- Assisting in revocation (cancellation) of citizenship – generally over misrepresenting your physical presence in Canada
- Assisting with investigating an applicants’ use of travel documents and how it might conflict with their actual travel history which could result in refusal to grant a passport or revocation of an existing Canadian passport.
The take-away from the Exit/Entry program is that it will now be even harder to misrepresent your physical presence in Canada – whether on purpose or by accident. You should never try to present false information regarding your physical presence in Canada. As well, you should keep an accurate diary of all your travels and ensure you meet all and any residency requirements under any application type listed above that might apply to your situation.