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Old 07-20-2008, 01:17 PM
6 posts, read 41,637 times
Reputation: 13


Hello everyone,
First of all, let me say I am a newbie here, so I'm sorry for any mistakes in advance.
I have been reading posts for the last couple of days online and I have a question regarding physical absence for citizenship purposes.
I know this matter is FAQ, however I can't seem to find something specific for my case. I tried contacting a few citizenship lawyers in Toronto, but they all want to charge me $300+ for a 1 hour 'assessment'. For me that's bull, so I decided to look for info on my own online, and hopefully some of you have a similar case to mine.

Anyhow, here it goes: Basically I have almost 1300 days of basic residence with 900 days of physical presence. Out of the 400 days absent, around 320 I was away doing a co-op (internship) term for my University in Canada. I immigrated to Canada in 2003, became PR in 2005 and from 2003 to 2008 I did Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University in TO. My program had an option for a 5 year program, with a one year of practical experience. I chose to do so because I thought I would be more prepared for the job market as a graduate. So I did find jobs in the USA and in Spain, where I did the 320 days of internship.

A couple of questions:
-If I applied today, I know for a fact that I would be called for an interview with the citizenship judge (since applying with less than 1095 days). First of all, how long could my process delay up to because of this interview? I know it is a tough one to answer, but if I indeed waited for the 1095 days I would have to wait another year or so, so I thought, what the heck, I could try like this right now and will probably hear back the decision of the judge before I could even apply if I follow the 1095 rule.

-Second, and most importantly, I know the citizenship judge would decide on my favor if I fall under one of those "very special circumstances". I've read about people being deployed by a Canadian company temporarily, or doing a study abroad term. I didn't find any info on co-op terms and internship terms abroad. This is my case. The time I spent away was directly related to my life in Canada, in fact the work experience in the USA and Spain is fully recognized by my school in Canada (even my transcripts mention it). Also, I still kept full ties with Canada, since my whole family, including my wife, were all living in Canada, while I stayed away. Ok, long story short, what's your opinion? Do you think I could be convincing to the judge that those days away while in a co-op would count towards my citizenship?

I thought the worse it could happen is that they deny and I am back to square one and have to wait until next year, like I would've done so. Also, I heard that the processing time nowadays is much quicker (my parents and my brother did everything in 6 months).

Alright, that's it. I'd appreciate if anyone could give me their opinion on this matter. I know there is no CORRECT answer to this question, but I'd appreciate if someone with more experience than myself could comment on my case.
I read through literally hundreds of posts before posting mine, hoping to find an answer before 'bothering' you guys.

Anyway, THANK YOU very much for your help in advance.
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Old 07-20-2008, 08:18 PM
4,282 posts, read 15,746,402 times
Reputation: 4000
Why not actually pose your question to the folks at Citizenship and Immigration Canada? They have a toll free contact number on their web site.

The second question that occurs, is why you'd want to jump through all these hoops if you'll be eligible to apply with the normal 1095 days in a year? Unless there's some very pressing need to acquire a Canadian passport, why not just wait a bit and save considerable hassle/
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Old 05-12-2009, 02:07 AM
1 posts, read 7,271 times
Reputation: 10
Originally Posted by tiagodanda View Post
Hello everyone,
Anyhow, here it goes: Basically I have almost 1300 days of basic residence with 900 days of physical presence. Out of the 400 days absent, around 320 I was away doing a co-op (internship) term for my University in Canada.
Hi tiagodanda, I am in a similar situation as you. You posted this quite a bit of time ago, may I know if you receive any resolution to this? I tried contacting the CIC, but their call centre is only available for calls originating in Canada, while I am currently in the United States on an internship, and the overseas visa centre in LA is not qualified to answer. Thanks!
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:05 PM
6 posts, read 41,637 times
Reputation: 13
Default Update of my case

Since I wish I had more help when I was looking for answers, I'm listing below an update to my case so everyone can refer to this online (when needed). A person posed me a question about the status of my application and I decided to send him an email directly. Here's the email with my explanation:

Basically, you know my situation, as it was well explained in the forum thread .
After getting not really exciting answers in several forums, I didn’t give up. Even when a couple of people at CIC Call Agents told me NOT TO apply, I didn’t give up.
During my parents’ Citizenship Ceremony I spoke to the people at the Oshawa CIC Office. I met the senior person in that office and explained my situation. She told me that she wouldn’t be able to decide for me, and that most likely I would have to see the citizenship judge. But in her opinion she thought I had a valid reason for the Judge deciding in my favour. So I applied. I applied with 912 physical presence days. She told me to wait until I reached the 900 days physical presence.

Now, here’s the catch: the decision will ALWAYS be done by the Judge. You won’t know 100% for sure until you have your hearing with him. And this is where it gets complicated. Depending on the office you are assigned to, it can take anywhere from 2 months to 15 months (if not longer) to get a hearing with the citizenship judge. To my luck, I am in a relatively low demand area (Whitby, ON) under the office of Oshawa. They told me it wouldn’t take more than 3 months to get the citizenship judge hearing. So, I took the chance. You may want to research online how long it takes for you to get the hearing with the judge in your area. I heard that Mississauga, Scarborough and Montreal are reaaaaaally slow. So I would recommend this being your main decision factor whether to apply or not. If your office takes a really long time to schedule hearings with the judges, then it may be more intelligent to wait until you have the 1095 days. Once you apply, you CANNOT reapply until you have a decision reached. So, let’s say you apply with less than 1095 days and your office is slow, it can take longer to have a decision than if you’d wait until you reached the residence requirement. Decide with caution.

In my case, at the time I applied, I would have to wait one more year in order to apply with more than 1095 days. So, I thought, well I am going to wait anyways. The worst it can happen is that the judge will deny my application for citizenship. And then I would be back to square one. But again, that is assuming that my application processing would take less than 1 year (since I knew that my office in Oshawa process are usually quickly).

The current status is the following: it took them 6 months to open my case in Sydney, NS, and another month to transfer it to Oshawa. As soon as my case arrived in Oshawa, they sent me a request for a residence questionnaire. In this questionnaire, they ask questions such as (where have you lived since arrived in Canada, work and study history in Canada, trips outside of Canada, places you stayed while away, where your family members reside, and then questions about your ties to Canada). I may be able to send you the questions in the questionnaire, but I don’t have it in my home computer (it’s saved in my work computer). If you remind me later, I’ll hook you up. Also, you need to provide ANY documentation that you feel that will support your ties to Canada. I prepare a VERY comprehensive package. I included a letter from the internship coordinator from my university recognizing that I had this internship experience internationally. So, they received my package and a month a half later I received a letter in the mail to appear to a citizenship judge hearing this May 21st. I don’t know what exactly to expect for this hearing, but I suspect that he will validate the documents I provided with the Residence Questionnaire, ask me a few questions about my history in Canada, and at the same time I will be tested for knowledge of Canadian Culture and Laws. So my written test will actually be an interview with the Judge. I am hoping to come out of the hearing with a definite answer. I am very confident I will be granted citizenship. Why? Well, I wish I had this pdf to send it to you right now as well, but I found somewhere online a PDF that explains the procedure that the citizenship judges decides whether or not to grant you citizenship. In this document, it is more like a manual for a citizenship judge to check if the person should receive the citizenship based on the answer to a few questions. If you remind me again, I will send you this pdf later. It is VERY VALUABLE in knowing whether or not you have good chances.

Anyway, this is the summary to what happened to me. I will be in my interview with the judge next week and if you get back to me on the 22nd of May, I will let you know what happened.

I’m also open to answer any questions you may have.

I just wish I had the same help at the time I was in doubt whether to apply or not.


Life is a BOLD DARING adventure or nothing at all!
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:07 PM
6 posts, read 41,637 times
Reputation: 13
Default Residence questionnaire questions

Residence questionnaire questions (I’ve found it online):

*When did you first come to Canada and what was your status?

*When did you become a PR?

*Do you work, study or live outside Canada?

*List where you have lived since coming to Canada.

*List where members of your family live.

*Give details of spouse’s workplace and children’s school.

*List property and business you own inside and outside Canada.

*List your work and education history.

*Did you terminate your employment outside Canada before becoming a PR?

*List details of absences from Canada.

*Describe your social ties in Canada.

They also ask to attach copies of all pages of current and expired passports, any documentary evidence that demonstrates your ties to Canada such as rental agreements, receipts, leases, mortgage documents, property tax bills, utility bills, bank and credit card statements, letters from your doctor stating dates of visits etc, and documents proving employment.

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Old 05-13-2009, 07:09 PM
6 posts, read 41,637 times
Reputation: 13
Default More resources that will help.

More resources that will help.



Settlement.Org Discussion Area - How Citizenship Judge actually makes the decision

I hope I have helped someone.
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Old 07-10-2009, 08:36 PM
2 posts, read 14,146 times
Reputation: 11
thanks for all your useful feedback! did the judge approve your application and you are now a citizen?
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Old 07-12-2009, 12:22 PM
6 posts, read 41,637 times
Reputation: 13
Default Citizenship granted!

Yeah, I got the interview with the judge. It was nerve braking. He was asking me all kinds of question such as randomly looking at my passport stamps and asking me to explain what I was doing at a X place during Y time of Z year. But I had nothing to hide and I explained my situation to him again.
I think that my responses to the residence questionnaire really helped. I provided much more than I was asked and in a VERY organized way. He said that the responses there helped him realize my case was good enough. He also did the citizenship test right on the spot orally... So no multiple choice options for me my friend! Anyway, I did very good in the oral test and I think that also helped me convince him.
In the end he asked me: why should I grant you citizenship? And then I explained all of what I already wrote above etc, and in the end I was granted citizenship. My ceremony was July 1st, on Canada Day!

So in summary, the decision will always be done by the judge. It is your job to prepare a very good case in the residence questionnaire responses, in a very organized, neat and convincing way. Also, STUDY A LOT for the citizenship test. It is not hard, but it becomes a little bit tricky when it is done orally and in front of a judge (you can get nervous). Also, be clear, don't hide anything, be sincere and say that you really want to become a Canadian citizen (have good reasons for it). Basically you have to persuade him that you have a special case, and that you DESERVE to be a Canadian citizen.
After all, it's all good. You be good friends with the Judge and soon you will be receiving your ceremony date!

Anyway, that's my story! I hope that people can use this information to their benefit!
Good luck to all!
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Old 07-12-2009, 03:36 PM
2 posts, read 14,146 times
Reputation: 11
U r awesome! congratulations again!!
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Old 03-09-2011, 05:22 AM
6 posts, read 41,637 times
Reputation: 13
2 years later and I still get questions on this issue. I have just typed a long reply to a direct message and decided to post here so people can refer to it.
It may repeat a lot of what I have said above, but in any case, it may help.
All the best future CANADIANS!!
Hey mate,
I'll try to remember everything as this was a long time ago. I am actually living in Australia right now.
But anyway, to answer your questions.
1) No, they will never reject your application just because you are under the 1095 days. What will happen FOR SURE though they will transfer your case to a citizenship judge. If you are under the 1095 days, the only person that can grant you citizenship is the judge.

2) Since you are going to see a judge in an interview, this may cause problems for you as you may have to fly back to Canada for the interview. Make sure that you have an address IN Canada and that you will have someone to open the mail for you.
As you are going to see a judge, this is basically you vs the judge. You have to convince him that you deserve the citizenship. At least that's what happenend with me. The judge was very serious at the beginning and before anything else, he did the citizenship test orally. YOU HAVE TO PASS. Also, study hard and answer all of the questions right! This way it will show him that you have knowledge of Canada and its customs and this may help him to decide on your favour. After that, he reviews your case. You will have to submit a residence questionnaire that will be sent prior to the interview. This is where you will tell your story. There is absolutely no format, you can do whatever you want to prove your case. In my situation, very similar to yours, I put my case together based on the fact that even though I was outside of Canada, I still have strong ties to Canada, that is my family and my school. This may count on your favour. I did a VERY ORGANIZED, CLEAR AND CONCISE "package" to present my case to the judge. He mentioned to me during the interview that he had liked it and that helped him understand my situation better. I mean, you have to be persuasive the whole time, as any lawyer would do. But you are very close to the 1095 rule, so if you say you had ties to Canada, you should be fine. Just do your homework and prepare your case well. He will check for accuracy and will ask you random questions during the interview trying to see if you are lying or not. He opened my passport at random pages and looked at some of the stamps and asked me "where were you at such date?" "what were you doing" etc. Just to check for anything you might've missed. Anyhow, after the interview, he granted citizenship to me right at the spot and booked me for the ceremony, roughly a month after that. YOU BETTER BE THERE. So you have to plan this well, make sure you will be able to attend the interview and the ceremony (roughly one month apart). Maybe you want to negotiate with your employer.

As a last note, please check online the processing/waiting time for interview with judges in your local CIC office. I lived in a smaller town near Toronto and my application was only delayed by 2 months because of the interview. But the office was very quick actually. I heard people in Mississauga or Toronto having to wait more than a year for the interview with the judge. And that's why you will read in forums people advising NOT TO apply before the 1095 days, because your application may take longer than you'd have to wait to meet the minimum days. You, very similary to me, couldn't wait and applied anyways, even though the processing time would be longer. What I could suggest is that you have another address outside of big cities, so your application will be transferred to that "local office" and the processing time will be quicker. If you go through the Vancouver office, if they are like TO, you may have up to wait 2 years to see a judge. There is only one judge per office in my understanding, and the number of applications forwarded to a local office are based on the location you live, hence big cities have longer queues.

To sum up, if you plan this well, make sure you tell a convincing story you should be ok. I applied with 912 days only, you are much closer than I was. But I must make the point that I WAS VERY VERY PERSUASIVE when responding the residence questionnaire and during the interview. I prepared a lot for it.

Also, please note that this happened in 2009 and I have no clue what has happened since then. Maybe the situation is better nowadays, do your own homework.

I hope this helps you! Because I am actually tired from typing!! lolol
Good luck! All the best!
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