After you have compiled all the required documents and completed your TRP application, you must then submit it to the Canadian government for consideration. If you are an American citizen or have permanent resident status in the United States, there are two places you can submit your application:
- To a border agent at the Port of Entry (POE) as you cross the border, or
- To the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles, California.
Regardless of how you submit the application, there is a $200 CAD fee for each application. The processing times for TRPs depends on the method of submission of the application. Applications submitted at the port of entry are determined on the spot, and therefore typically take under an hour. On the other hand, applications submitted to Immigration Canada at the Consulate may take up to twelve months to return a decision. One might then ask, if the fee is the same, and processing times are shorter at the port of entry, is there any benefit at all to submitting my TRP application to the visa office at the Consulate?
The below information summarizes the differences between submitting a TRP application at a port of entry and submitting a TRP application in advance to the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles.
Applying at a Port of Entry to Canada
A Port of Entry (POE) is a place where a foreign national can legally enter Canada. These include border crossings by car, landing in a Canadian airport, and arriving at a port by ship. If you are seeking entry to Canada in the near future and are unable to wait for your Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) application to be processed at the Consulate, you may apply for a TRP by the border agent at the port of entry.
The advantage of applying at a port of entry, as mentioned above, is the fact that the application will be processed immediately. However, there is never a guarantee that an application will be approved, regardless of the circumstances regarding the criminal inadmissibility. Therefore, receiving a denial at the port of entry will require you return home immediately, risking losing any travel deposits or missing important meetings. Furthermore, if you are travelling with others and must stop and present your TRP application, it may cause delays and raise questions from your fellow travelers as to why you are being stopped. As criminal histories are sensitive matters, this has the potential to be uncomfortable or embarrassing.
If you must apply at the port of entry, the likelihood of success of an application varies depending on the nature of the port and the presence of fellow travelers. For example, if visiting for personal reasons it may be beneficial to travel with young children or elderly relatives. This is by virtue of the decreased probability of the traveler posing a risk to Canadian society under the circumstances. Also of consideration is the increased level of inconvenience caused by refusing an entire party’s entrance, which would require the entire group to return to their country of origin.
The below information summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of applying for a TRP on the grounds of criminal inadmissibility at the three different ports of entry:
Applying for a TRP at the airport is only advised to those who feel confident with their application. Large international airports will have experienced and knowledgeable officers who will properly assess the application, while smaller airports might have less experienced staff. These individuals’ lack of familiarity with immigration laws may lead them to reject the application simply from a misunderstanding of the legislation.
However, it is worth noting that if an officer denies an application in any airport, he or she is required to walk with the applicant and oversee their purchase of an immediate return ticket. This effort, as well as the delay it causes other travelers, may increase the chances of an approval.
Finally, if the foreign national arrives in Canada with a pre-purchased return flight for only the duration of their stated trip, this lends support to their TRP application as it is clear that they will not be staying longer than necessary; they have already committed to returning home through the purchase of the ticket.
Applying at the border is the most common method of applying at POEs, however does have considerable disadvantages. As the traveler was able to drive the distance from their initial location to Canada, the border agent understands it is not too much trouble to drive back. This knowledge that the traveler can easily return home does influence the agent’s likelihood to deny the application and to ask them to leave Canada.
Furthermore, remote border crossings might prove to be more complicated since the approval of a TRP application requires the presence of an experienced supervisor. Since many of these rural border crossings do not always have these supervisors present, the applicant may have to wait a longer time in order to have their application reviewed.
Travelling to Canada by ship or waterway may result in an easier approval as border agents at secluded ports may not even check to see whether the passengers of the boat have a criminal record or are criminally inadmissible to Canada; henceforth, no TRP would be needed. However, most large ships, such as cruise ships, are required to send passenger manifestos to the ports before they arrive. Therefore, an officer reviewing the manifesto might see that you are criminally inadmissible to Canada, and you will need the proper documentation if he boards the ship.
Nevertheless, much like traveling by air, it is harder to refuse someone who is travelling by boat. One of the advantages shared with air travel is that the TRP applicant may be spending a very short amount of time in Canada. In the case of arriving by cruise ship, there is little chance that someone will stay longer than the cruise subscribes, which officers look favorably upon.
Applying at the Canadian Consulate
Despite the longer processing times, applying for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) from Canadian Immigration at the Consulate in Los Angeles is typically considered the safer option. Primarily, this is because the immigration officer or visa officer reviewing the application has extensive experience with TRPs and criminal rehabilitation applications. He or she is allotted as much time as necessary to fully assess the application, including a thorough appraisal of all relevant documents. As a result, these decisions are often more balanced and well-thought out.
Furthermore, once the applicant has received the approval for their temporary stay in Canada they may travel into the country without delay. This avoids any potentially uncomfortable questions from coworkers or family members when applying at the border, as well as ensures that any travel deposits made by the permit holder will not be wasted. A final benefit of applying through the Consulate is that the officials typically grant TRPs with longer periods of validity, or multiple-entry TRPs. This is unlike border agents at the port of entry, who are more likely to grant only a single-entry visa (TRP) for only the stated duration of the trip.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
Whether you decide to file a TRP application at a port of entry or from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada office at the Consulate, contacting an experienced Canadian immigration lawyer could be of significant benefit to you. Immigration lawyers like those at our firm, FWCanada, can provide you with a thorough checklist of all documents and information you need to include in your application, provide insight as to how to best strengthen your application, and guide you throughout the entire Temporary Resident Permit Canada process.
Each month, FWCanada helps individuals with a number of different immigration concerns, including those who are criminally inadmissible, those seeking spousal sponsorship, or those seeking to become a temporary foreign worker. FWCanada’s lawyers can lend their expertise to anyone seeking a temporary resident permit, criminal rehabilitation, a Canadian work permit or work visa, a study permit, a visitor visa, foreign worker status, and permanent residence. For more information on our services and areas of expertise, contact us here!
FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration follow FWCanada on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.