Canadian entry records?
April 3, 2014 9:26 AM   Subscribe

I am a permanent resident of Canada, and have been since 2010. Between 2010-2012 I lived in New York attending school, but moved back to Toronto in 2012 and have lived here full time. For most of my departures and entries into the country there are stamps in my passport to show. However, last October and November I took 2 trips to the US entirely by land, both trips were only a few days. I just now realized that upon re-entering I never got a stamp from either trip. I'm worried that there will be no proof of me coming back to Canada and the last 6 months of my residence won't count. Does the Canadian border keep a record of the permanent residents they let back in? Where can I find this information?
posted by atetrachordofthree to Law & Government (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could try contacting Canada Border Services.

Meanwhile, though, this might not be an issue if you have other proof of residency in Canada over the past 6 months. Are you paying rent? Bills? Do you work? Do you have a provincial health card? Does the Canada Revenue Agency have your current address in Toronto? As a Canadian citizen who has moved provinces several times, and also been a non-resident of Canada then returned and resumed Canadian residency, I can tell you that at least in my case, various provincial and federal government agencies are all satisfied with non-border-related proofs of my residency. I'm not sure if my passport has ever been stamped at the US/Canada border.
posted by snorkmaiden at 9:41 AM on April 3, 2014

I'd try calling Border Services. They may provide the records informally if they have it. Worst case scenario you could probably make a request under the Privacy Act for the records.
posted by Kurichina at 9:43 AM on April 3, 2014

You can file a request under the Privacy Act for their records of your entries to Canada. I would recommend including photocopies of all of your travel documents (passport and PR card) that were valid for the period covering your inquiry.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:46 AM on April 3, 2014

I'm a dual citizen, my spouse is a permanent resident of Canada, and I have a lot of experience crossing this specific border (Niagara/Fort Erie) by land.

You say:

I'm worried that there will be no proof of me coming back to Canada

How would the Canadian government even know you left?
posted by yawper at 10:30 AM on April 3, 2014

I didn't have any trouble with that when I renewed my permanent residency last year. I had to list my trips out of the country on a form, and sign to legally attest that the info was complete and correct. But I did not have to provide photocopies of my passport or the entry visas therein or anything like that. (Heck, they don't even stamp my passport always when I fly between the US and Canada.)
posted by eviemath at 12:30 PM on April 3, 2014

How would the Canadian government even know you left?

After June 30, 2013, if you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, the U.S. government shares information with Canada about your entry to the U.S. from Canada by land, and the Canadian government shares information with the U.S. about your entry to Canada by land.

Before that, if you entered Canada by land, you were obviously in the U.S. for some undetermined period prior to that, so the Canadian government knows you left at some point prior to your last entry to Canada—they may just not know exactly how long you were gone. (Apparently, this is still the case if you're a U.S. citizen who's a permanent resident of Canada, since your land entries to the U.S. aren't being shared with the Canadian government.)
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:58 PM on April 3, 2014

I applied for my Canadian citizenship recently. I assume this is the reason that you are looking for this information (and the source of your worry).

There's nothing to worry about from your end. The citizenship application has a place where you authorize Citizenship and Immigration Canada to request your border crossing records from the Canadian Border Services Agency.

If you are unlucky, you may have to fill out the onerous Residence Questionnaire, which will demand border crossing records from other countries' customs agencies. In the case of the USA, that means filing a Freedom of Information Act request with US Customs and Border Protection. I'm still waiting for mine -- looks like it takes about 8 months to get that done.

(Side note: you will have to list all of your trips out of Canada on your application. Even if you keep fastidious records of your entries and exits, you will probably miss some, and the CIC bureaucracy will notice. So submit your application a month or two after you think you need to, or else you'll end up like me, crying over a ten-day deficit while sadly filling the RQ...)
posted by cinoyter at 1:07 PM on April 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

it's not from stamps in your passport that they know you've passed through - it's documented elsewhere. (they never ask to look at your passport to view the stamps in order to make sure your residency reqs are fulfilled).

i go between canada and the US and they never stamp my passport, but it's all there. no prob.
posted by andreapandrea at 8:59 PM on April 3, 2014

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