It seems like in the new world that has been created by the COVID-19 pandemic the only constant is change, and the constant change is perhaps most aptly demonstrated by Canadian immigration regulations, which have been in a state of flux since March 2020. For those thinking of immigrating or travelling to Canada, it is important to stay updated on the regulations in order to avoid being cut out by a potential change.
Last week, the Government of Canada announced that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will be increasing fees for all permanent residence applications. The fee increase will impact economic, permit holder, family, and humanitarian class applications.
The last time that immigration fees were increased was in 2020, when Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada raised immigration rates to account for inflation. When immigration rates were increased in 2020, it was announced that there would be an increase in the fees every two years in order to adjust for inflation.
The overall increase in the amount of fees required for permanent resident applications is generally not significant, with the maximum increase being $50, some fees only being increased by $5, and some fees remaining at the same number they were set at in 2020. The fees for permanent resident travel documents, certification or replacement of immigration documents and permanent resident cards are not due to increase as a result of the changes. The fee increases will become effective on April 30, 2022. Those looking to make an application for Canadian permanent residence may want to try to have their application completed before the end of April in order to take advantage of the lower fees. Still, it is preferable to have a complete application submitted rather than rushing to complete an application to save on the application fees, so those in that situation should wait in order to submit a completed application. After April 30, the fees should be consistent for two years so it will be easy to anticipate the cost of an application until April 30, 2024.
On top of the fees for permanent resident applications increasing, the right of permanent residence fee, a fee that is required to be paid on top of any other fees for an application is increasing as well. The right of permanent residence fee will be increasing from $500 to $515 on April 30 when the other fees increase. The right of permanent residence fee is a fee that must be paid when an application for permanent residence is approved. It can be paid at the time of application and will be refunded if an application is denied or withdrawn. The Canadian Government insists that paying the fee at the time of application will help to avoid delays in the application approval process. Further, there are severe consequences for not paying the fee, as the fee must be paid in order for the applicant to be granted permanent residency. If an applicant cannot afford the fee, the Canadian Government offers loans in order to pay the right of permanent residence fee. One must apply for a loan for the fee in order to be considered. The Canadian Government provides instructions on how the fee can be paid depending on where the applicants want to pay the fee from.
The right of permanent residence fee does not apply to all applicants, as some applicants are exempt. The right of permanent residence fee does not apply to the dependent children of a principal applicant or sponsor, sponsorship applications for adopted children, sponsorship applications for an orphaned brother, sister, niece, nephew or grandchild, and sponsorship applications for protected persons, including applicants eligible on humanitarian and compassionate grounds and convention refugees.
As borders around the world open up again, the Canadian Government anticipates that more Canadians will be travelling internationally. In order to help accommodate Canadian citizens travelling abroad, the government has simplified the renewal process for passports.
As of March 31, Canadians in Canada and outside of Canada can use the simplified process to renew expired passports as long as the passport was issued in the last 15 years. The simplified process applies to more than just expired passports, as it is also available to Canadians who have had their passport lost, stolen, or damaged. Before March 31, the simplified renewal process was not available for passports that had expired for more than a year or passports that were lost, stolen or damaged.
The simplified renewal process allows applicants to renew without having a guarantor or providing their original documents, like proof of citizenship or photo identification that was needed for the original passport. Now, all that is needed is two photos, two references, a completed passport renewal form and payment of the fees for renewal.
The simplified renewal process will help Canadians with expiring or expired passports receive a new passport in a shorter amount of time. The Canadian Government has said that passport renewal requests are starting to increase as borders around the world reopen and recommends that Canadians apply early for new passports if they are needed.
Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. We successfully guide clients through the immigration process, with an eye toward the ever-changing regulations in light of COVID-19. We will work to find an effective solution for your individual immigration needs and ensure you are positioned for success with respect to your application.
The immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law are continuing to monitor the immigration fallout in relation to COVID-19 on both sides of the border and will provide updates as the situation develops. If you have any questions about if you will be able to travel during these uncertain times, do not hesitate to reach out to us online or by calling us at 416-321-2860.