Top 10 Question: Permanent resident interrogated at border and “reported” for not living here

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Question: I am a permanent resident with a valid PR Card. I arrived at the airport and ended up being questioned for 3 hours about whether or not I can prove I live here. In the end the officer “reported” me for being inadmissible to Canada. Now I have to go back for another interview to deal with the report. What can I do?

The short answer is that you should not have engaged in the officer’s questions when you entered. A permanent resident has no obligation to answer any questions regarding residency or any other suspected ground of inadmissibility at the border. The CIC policy manual (. Section 11 of ENF 4) puts it this way (POE stands for Port of Entry, BSO stands for Border Services Officer):

 

“When a permanent resident appears at a POE for examination, the BSO must determine whether the person is a permanent resident. BSOs must remain cognizant of the fact that the Act gives permanent residents ofCanadathe right to enterCanadaat a POE once it is established that a person is a permanent resident, regardless of non-compliance with the residency obligation in A28 or the presence of other inadmissibilities.

 

“BSOs can refuse entry to a permanent resident only when the person has already lost the status in accordance with the provisions of A46 (such as a final determination has been made that they have failed to comply with the residency obligations or when a removal order comes into effect). In other words, once a permanent resident’s status is established, the person may enter Canada by right and the immigration examination under IRPA concludes.”

 

But once someone has answered the questions (and raised the suspicion of the BSO), then what? In my experience, you are stuck having to answer to the “report”. Generally, this means going back to the border (usually airport) at a designated date and time with all your supporting documents and being interviewed by another officer (who is referred to as “the Minister’s Delegate”). At this stage, you are risking a finding of inadmissibility (i.e. the beginning of losing permanent residence status) so it is imperative that you have an immigration lawyer assist you throughout. It is never good to go to an interview like this without a representative, even in cases where it seems like there is a simple answer or the border officer has just made a mistake.