What is Secondary Review?
“Secondary Review” is when your PR Card renewal application is sent from the main processing office in Sydney, Nova Scotia to the local IRCC office with jurisdiction for your area, to investigate whether or not you’ve met the requirements to maintain your permanent resident status in Canada.
You may be informed about secondary review by email, but normally, you’ll find out about it only if you check your status online or call IRCC to check your application status.
How long Does Secondary Review Take?
There is no fixed timeline for secondary review; depending upon your application, how many days you spent in Canada and what documentation you provided, it could take a couple of months to close to a year or more. There is no way to speed up the process and there is no way to find out how long your particular application will take. Basically, you just have to wait.
What Can I Do?
Well, the best thing you can do is to wait until you have at least 1,095 days in Canada within the last 5 years before you renew your PR Card. If you do not, and IRCC has reason to believe you when you state that on your application, your application should be processed normally (45 days, as of November 2016).
But once your application goes to Secondary Review, there’s not much you can do except wait.
If you must travel during this period, you will have to apply for a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) if you want to re-enter Canada by commercial vehicle (plane, train, bus, ship). (You do not need a PR Card to re-enter Canada by car.)
Applying for a PRTD is a risk if you haven’t met the Residency Obligation, i.e if you’ve spent less than 730 days in Canada within the last 5 years. If you apply for a PRTD under those circumstances, you could lose your status immediately. So only travel outside of Canada during Secondary Review if you
- Met the Residency Obligation (i.e. have spent more than 730 days in Canada within the last 5 years and can prove it)
- Can re-enter Canada by car.
What’s the Worst that Can Happen?
The worst that can happen is that your application is sent to an adjudicator who makes a decision on your PR Status. If that happens, and the adjudicator rules against you, you do have the right to appeal. Learn more.
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