Canadian Permanent Residency and photo requirements
May 30, 2014 9:38 AM   Subscribe

Applying for permanent residency in Canada. Struggling with obtaining important documents/photos of older children who are living in the US and not applying with us ("Not accompanying").

My husband (English), myself, and my 16 year old son (American) are applying for permanent residency in Canada. We have been here on work permits since 2009. I have two sons over the age of 18 who are not accompanying us - they are in the US and plan on staying there. This is our second time applying. Our first application was turned down because of a small error on a document (a letter not dated - so stupid, we are kicking ourselves). This time I want to be sure everything is completely correct, but I am struggling with one of the things asked for on the checklist:

"Photo Requirements
Supply six (6) photos for each member of your family, whether accompanying or not, and yourself. Follow the instruction provided in the section How to Complete the Forms of the application guide and in Appendix A: Photo Specifications
Photos must have been taken within six (6) months before application submission."

One of my sons is in the Army, and may be able to get the photos done, but the other is involved in Job Corps, has no car, struggles to even get to his bank, forgets his pin for his ATM card constantly, and has a history of procrastination and just generally not getting things done. The first time we applied it took us a good 6 months, google searches to find a place in the US near him that could do the right type of immigration photos, enlisting a friend of mine to ferry my son around, and me paypalling the friend money for the photos before we got them done. It was a nightmare.

I know you are not my lawyer. My questions, which I am hoping someone can chime in on, even if just anecdotally:

1. Is it an option to NOT put my older sons on the application? The wording is vague - not every child you had, but "members of the family." Is the "family" only those applying? If we don't list the two older sons, will they have issues coming to visit or being sponsored by us later?

2. What happens if you don't send the photos of the older kids and include a statement that they were not possible to get? Does anyone know?

Bonus Question: If anyone can recommend an affordable and honest immigration attorney in the GTA, please feel free to memail me.
posted by routergirl to Law & Government (10 answers total)
Ok - I am stupid, I just reread it for what is probably the hundredth time:
"for each member of your family, whether accompanying or not, and yourself."

So yeah, it seems to be required. My questions stand, though.
posted by routergirl at 9:42 AM on May 30, 2014

If they are over 18 and legal adults, they may not be 'members of the family' but you need a lawyer or someone from immigration to tell you this. A phone call to somebody now may save you a ton of hassle later. Find out who is dealing with this paperwork and call them. They don't need to hear the whole story of your son. Just tell them you have adult children who are over 18 and not living with you, and you are wondering if you need to list them.
posted by JoannaC at 10:06 AM on May 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not quite what you asked, but if your son is in the San Francisco area (or near Boston in early July), I would be happy to ferry him around to get his photos done.

He sounds a lot like two of my beloved family members, so I'm sympathetic to trying to get this sort of thing done at a distance. Also I have personal and professional experience with immigration paperwork (not for Canada, though) so I know how important it is to get it all exactly right!

Please MeMail me if I can help.
posted by Signed Sealed Delivered at 11:09 AM on May 30, 2014

Shockingly, I found CIC surprisingly helpful with relatively straightforward questions when my partner and I were navigating her PR application. They won't give you opinions, but they should absolutely be able to confirm whether it's necessary if he's over 18, or if there is any loophole in your situation. Just be prepared to wait on hold for a while.
posted by sabotagerabbit at 11:37 AM on May 30, 2014

I have no idea whether his rates are still reasonable, or not, but we used Michael Niren from Niren & Associates and were very happy with how things went. We did most of the paperwork and whatnot ourselves, but it was comforting to have someone look things over, confirm our interpretation of things, etc.
posted by VioletU at 12:12 PM on May 30, 2014

Can you download a photo/headshot from social media?

You can use 6 copies of the same photo, correct?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:13 PM on May 30, 2014

Can you download a photo/headshot from social media?

No, they're like passport photos and have to be a particular specification.
posted by randomination at 2:43 PM on May 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

OK so in Ontario, you can call the Lawyer Referral Service which connects you to a private bar lawyer who gives you 30 minutes of free advice, after which you can hire them if you want to. Or not. You will be connected to an immigration lawyer if you ask for one. See here.

Further, though you are likely financially beyond eligibility, a legal clinic law student can likely answer this question for you as summary advice, if you visit your local clinic. Enter your postal code here to determine what clinic's catchment you fall under. Be sure they offer immigration services.
posted by hepta at 6:23 PM on May 30, 2014

My PR application is in at the moment, so I feel your pain for all the paperwork. From a planning perspective, if your son is the unreliable link, get his photos done first and then once you have those, get the remainder of items completed. That way you don't have to worry about everything else timing out.
posted by arcticseal at 10:51 PM on May 30, 2014

If you want to make sure everything is correct, and you're not using a lawyer, you should really be reading the instruction guide, not just the checklist. I assume you're applying under the Canadian Experience Class, which uses the instruction guide "Application for permanent residence — Canadian Experience Class (IMM 5609)".

The instruction guide defines family members:
Your family members include your spouse or common-law partner, your dependent children and any children that are their dependent children…
Dependent children
Refers to the children of the applicant or those of the spouse or common-law partner.

They must:
  • be under the age of 22 and not have a spouse or common-law partner, or
  • depend substantially on the financial support of a parent and have been continuously enrolled and in attendance as full-time students in a post-secondary institution accredited by the relevant government authority since before the age of 22 (or since marrying or entering into a common-law relationship, if this happened before the age of 22), or
  • depend substantially on the financial support of a parent since before the age of 22 and be unable to provide for themselves due to a medical condition.
If your children are under 22 and unmarried, it sounds like they count as "dependent children" and "family members."

Operational manuals are not really easy reading but contain more detailed information about how your application will be processed. It looks like immigration officials will want to examine your family members for inadmissability, and that even if you somehow exclude them from your family for the purpose of this application you won't be able to sponsor them later under the Family Class.

Personally I would not even think about trying to get out of this requirement. I think you will have much more trouble if you do.
posted by grouse at 12:24 PM on May 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

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