The most common methods of obtaining permanent residence in Canada are through Family Sponsorship or the Express Entry system. Once you’ve applied, and if you are approved for permanent residence, you will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (“COPR”).
What is COPR?
A Confirmation of Permanent Residence (Form IMM 5292 or IMM 5688) is a document that new Permanent Residents receive from the immigration authorities. A COPR officially documents your legal status in Canada (i.e., it proves that you are a Permanent Resident), as well as your time and date of landing in Canada.
If you are outside of Canada when you are granted Permanent Resident status, your COPR will likely be issued to you before you travel to Canada. You will have to show it to the border authorities when you arrive. If you are already in Canada, your COPR will be sent to you here so that you can formally “land” in Canada. If you are not in Canada, and your COPR wasn’t issued to you prior to travel, it is sometimes possible to receive your COPR at the Port of Entry.
In addition to requiring your COPR to enter Canada, it is also helpful to have if you ever intend to apply for Citizenship, a Social Insurance Number, or Old Age Security Pension. If you physically lose your COPR, you will need to apply for a Verification of Landing document.
What should I do if my COPR has expired?
The COPR processing time is currently about three months. Typically, a COPR is valid for one year from the time your application is approved. If you have an expired COPR, you will not be allowed to come to Canada as you cannot enter Canada with expired documents. Instead, you will have to apply for a new one and wait for it to be issued to you again.
As such, you should plan to travel to Canada within one year of being approved for permanent residence. While foreigners are currently allowed to travel to Canada, there could be new travel restrictions in the future. For example, non-essential travel to Canada was banned from March 18, 2020 to June 21, 2021. Travelling to Canada to take up permanent residence before your COPR expired was not considered essential travel. Thus, thousands of people had their COPRs expire before they could come to Canada and take up permanent residence.
In general, COPRs cannot be extended. While it is possible that in the future the authorities will create a blanket policy to extend COPRs for anyone delayed in travelling to Canada (for example, due to the COVID-19 pandemic), this is not what happened after the non-essential travel bans were lifted this past summer. Instead, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) reached out to all those with expired COPRs with instructions on how to get their COPR re-issued. IRCC gave applicants 10 days to respond if they were still interested. If an applicant did not respond within 10 days but still wanted permanent residence, they would have to reapply in the future.
A qualified and experienced immigration lawyer can help you if you are applying for permanent residence, especially if you have a complicated situation. Consulting with an immigration lawyer is particularly important to ensure that you are in fact qualified to apply, and to make sure that your application is prepared, filed and processed properly.
At the Law Office of Matthew Jeffery, we are experts on Express Entry, Family Sponsorship, and all other types of permanent residence applications. We have years of experience successfully assisting our clients to navigate Canada’s complex immigration system.