Canadian visa
RX-1 visa PRTD

Posted on 19/11/2019

A PR card is your passport to freedom in many ways. However, you must comply with the residency and other requirements as a permanent resident. Remember, you do not have the same rights as a permanent resident, compared to the rights a Canadian citizen has. You are still a foreign national who has earned PR status and must comply with the rules and obligations of permanent residency.

The main one is the residency requirement. As a permanent resident you must have spent a minimum of 730 days physically present in Canada out of the 5 years immediately preceding your application for PR card. There are a couple of exceptions to this:

  • If your spouse or common-law partner or parent is a Canadian citizen and you have accompanied them abroad, or
  • If you have been in the employment of a Canadian business living and working abroad on a full-time basis, or
  • If you have been abroad in the employment of the federal public administration of Canada, or a provincial public administration, or
  • If you have been accompanying a spouse, common-law partner or parent who is a permanent resident of Canada and has been working abroad for either a Canadian business or the federal public administration or a provincial public administration

Aside from this exceptions, if you have not met the residency requirements, you may lose your PR status and have any application for PR card refused.

Now, sometimes family, or work, or other reasons force someone with permanent resident status to stay outside of Canada for longer than permitted under the residency requirements. When this happens and you wish to return to Canada, you may be refused a standard PR Travel Document that would have enabled you to return to Canada and continue your permanent residency.

Instead you may be given one of the two following visas:

RX-1 Visa

This is given when a negative residency decision has been made (usually because you have failed to meet the residency requirements) and is a way of allowing you to return to Canada to file an appeal or to continue the appeal process.

  • However, to qualify for an RX-1 visa, you must have been to Canada at least once in the past year and have either made an appeal to the negative residency decision or the appeal period has not yet expired.

RA-1 Visa

This is given when a negative residency decision has been made but you have filed an appeal and you have an appeal hearing in Canada that you are scheduled to appear at.

  • An RA-1 visa is usually issued on an order by the IAD (Immigration Appeals Division) to allow the holder of the visa to be physically present at an appeal. In other words, an appeal process is generally under way when an RA-1 visa is issued while this is not necessarily the case with an RX-1 visa.

What you must keep in mind is that these are generally short-term visas (2 year at most) that enable you to return to Canada in order to file an appeal or to be present at an appeal hearing. They are NOT a normal PR travel document. You must continue with or initiate the appeals process if you are given an RX-1 or RA-1 visa and you return to Canada.

These visas are NOT a guarantee that will you successfully appeal the negative residency decision. They only allow you to come back to Canada to appeal that decision.

If you return to Canada and file an appeal, you will do so under Section 63(4) of the IRPA or Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Section 63(4) states:

Right of appeal — residency obligation

(4) A permanent resident may appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division against a decision made outside of Canada on the residency obligation under section 28.

In other words, it gives you the right to try and convince the IAD that you had valid reasons for not meeting your residency requirements as permanent resident of Canada. Clearly, there will be a number of cases where an appeal under 63(4) fails. In that case, you will not be able to remain in Canada and will have to leave the country.

So, as we’ve repeated various times, an RX-1 and an RA-1 visa are NOT standard PR travel documents. They do NOT guarantee that you can remain in Canada. A positive PR Travel Document counterfoil would be marked either R-1 or RC-1 which is a decision based on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) considerations.

The frustrations and disappointments of many of those who have had to file a Section 63(4) appeal shows how important it is to meet the residency requirements as permanent resident of Canada. You should always do everything reasonably possible to make sure you meet the requirements. Remember, 730 days out of 5 years is not an unreasonable requirement. Do your best to comply.

Go here to use the physical presence calculator and try to keep careful records of all your travels outside of Canada. It may seem annoying, but it is a key detail that gets you that much closer to Canadian citizenship, after which you can travel freely around the world. It’s worth keeping track of your travels to get to that goal, remember!

Posted in Tips and tagged Immigration Appeal, PR Card, PR Travel Document

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