Nearly four months have passed since the trauma of undergoing my immigration medical for my Permanent Residency application, and it seems that the end is now in sight! At the end of February I received an email from my new best friend, Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CiC), letting me know that ‘The processing of my application for permanent residence in Canada is almost complete.’ YEY!
After reading the email all the way through, I was so excited to see that only five relatively small tasks were standing between me and my illustrious Permanent Resident card:
- Family Composition – “Has your family composition changed since our last correspondence?” i.e. Am I still in a common-law relationship with the person listed in my application? This was an easy one to evaluate (yes I am!), and as this means that no action is required, 1.5 seconds later I was ready to move onto the next step.
- Right of Permanent Residence Fee – “Every principal applicant and his/her accompanying spouse/common law partner are required to pay a Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF) in the amount of 490 Canadian dollars. The RPRF is a separate fee that must be paid in addition to the processing fees that you have already paid.” Yes, this means paying ANOTHER $980 total (for two of us), though as this is the final fee it’s one I’m more than willing to pay! The payment was easy to make by credit card through the CiC website, and I emailed the proof of payment to them immediately.
- Passport Scan – “You are exempted from obtaining a visa to visit Canada under Regulation 190 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; therefore you do not need to submit original passports to finalize your application.” Good news! Instead, we just had to print off a scanned copy of each of our passport photo pages, which we have a stock of after so many visa applications.
I previously blogged about my application for Canadian Permanent Residency through the BC Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), and I’m excited be writing an update on my progress. Since applying to the PNP in February I have received my Certificate of Nomination (April), applied to the federal office for Permanent Residency (July), had my forms returned for missing a signature (August) and applied for a second time (September). My application was officially ‘received’ by Citizenship & Immigration Canada on September 13th (though I didn’t receive notification of this until mid-October) and I was expecting to wait another 4-6 months before hearing any further news. To my surprise, on November 9th an email arrived in my inbox with instructions for undergoing a medical examination. Progress!
I knew I had to go through a medical exam as part of the application process, but I had no idea what was involved. The email included a list of approved medical practitioners in BC, so I looked up the ones in Vancouver to get an idea of how much this was going to cost. I’d assumed it wasn’t going to be cheap, but my jaw dropped when I discovered that the total cost of the medical exam was $260 per person. Granted, this included all aspects of the exam plus all the paperwork and sending of the documents to Ottawa by express mail, but still…$260 each?! At this point I didn’t have a choice, so I took a deep breath and booked the first appointment available on the upcoming Friday afternoon.
The doctor I’d chosen had a nice looking website and was situated in one of the medical buildings in Downtown Vancouver. I arrived at the office with my passport, three passport photos and the medical form the CIC had sent me. After filing out a patient registration form I was sent straight downstairs to the X-Ray room with the first set of papers. There I paid $50 to change into a hospital robe for a front and back chest X-Ray (technically two X-Rays as the first one didn’t work, or something). I went back upstairs to the doctor’s office to report on my process, and went into the medical examination. After testing my vision and checking my height and weight I was ushered into the examination room and asked to undress and wrap myself in a weird, synthetic sheet. When I was ready the doctor came in and proceeded to literally poke and prod me for the next five minutes. The final test was a sharp tap right below my kneecaps which had me shrieking in hysterics, so unexpected was it. The doctor did not seem amused, and simply let me know that everything was fine.
Usually I’d avoid writing two posts in a row about visa applications, but this time I’ll make an exception as this is a Really. Big. Deal. This afternoon I mailed the 30+ sheets of paper that make up my application for Permanent Residency to the Citizenship & Immigration centre in Nova Scotia. Oh yes, the first step on my journey to becoming a fully fledged Canadian is now complete.
Oh, so you must really like Vancouver then?
Well yes, I do. Enough to want to apply to live here longer than the two more years my working holiday visas will allow me too. Applying for and receiving Permanent Residency doesn’t mean that I will stay here forever, but it does mean I have the option to. And I’m all about keeping my options open.
What about your other half?
I did come to Vancouver with my boyfriend, and I’m not about to send him on the first boat back home. We’ve been living together for two and a half years now, which means we are technically ‘common-law partners’ in the eyes of the law. Any couple who have been living at the same address for 12 months or longer is classed as common-law, meaning that they share a lot of the same legal rights as any couple who are married. Including the right to name one partner on the other’s Permanent Residency application.