Almost a permanent resident! Decisions, decisions…

It’s a good thing I checked the status of my permanent residency application online, as the request for my passport had slipped through the cracks of my e-mail. (Must’ve looked spammy.) So I’m in the final stages of my application, hooray! Now I need to send my passport to the Buffalo consulate so that they can stamp my passport, and then I’ll leave Canada and land as a permanent resident.

Complications:

  • I have at least one upcoming trip, and perhaps two. I’m flying to the Philippines on December 26 to hang out with my family and friends over the break, and I may have either an Innovation Discovery workshop or a training session in mid-November.
  • I can’t leave the country without my passport.
  • The immigration visa is a single-entry visa. When I land using the immigration visa, they will cancel my current work permit and my temporary resident visa(?). A permanent residency card is supposed to be mailed to me within 30 days after landing (although many people report getting it around 60 days afterwards).
  • Once my visa is cancelled, I can only reenter Canada with the permanent residency card, or a travel document for permanent residents abroad. The travel document costs $50, is single-use, and needs to be obtained from the Canadian embassy.

This is like those logic puzzles I so loved to solve as a kid. ;) (Still do!)

I have two variables to play with here:

  • Go to Buffalo in person, or mail my passport
  • Do this before or after my November training trip

So, what are the options?

  • Go to Buffalo to have my passport processed in person. I will need to go on a Tuesday or a Thursday, and it will probably take my entire day (so there’ll be some moving around of work). However, coming back to Toronto from Buffalo will use up the immigration visa. I will probably not receive the permanent residency card in time, as the call centre agent says that computer-related delays mean that processing time is around 60 days.
    • If I do this before the mid-November training trip, I will definitely need a travel document for the training trip, and there’s a small risk I may need a travel document for my Philippine trip as well. The travel document will be difficult to obtain in Boston because I will be busy with training, and the Canadian consulate in Boston does not provide visa or immigration services.
    • If I do this after the mid-November training trip, I will definitely need a travel document for the Philippine trip, but at least I’ll keep my passport with me.
  • Mail my passport to Buffalo, including an Xpresspost return envelope. They promise to return it in at most 15 business days, plus two days for the Xpresspost delivery to them and another two days for the Xpresspost delivery back. Someone reported a turn-around of 10 days from mailing to receiving. On the other hand, someone else took 22 days.
    • If I do this before the mid-November training trip, there’s a risk that I won’t get my passport back in the 18 business days (26 days total) before training.
      • If I do not go to the training, then I can go through the landing process when I return from the Philippines (with my cat!), and no travel document is needed.
      • If I make it to the training, I will need to get the travel document from the Canadian consulate in the Philippines. The website says this is usually decided within 3 working days.
    • If I do this after the mid-November training trip, there’s a risk that I won’t get my passport back in the 24 business days between the end of the training trip and the beginning of my Philippine trip. The Philippine trip is much harder to move. On the plus side, I can go through the landing process when I return from the Philippines, and I won’t need to apply for the travel document. There is also a risk that the mid-November training trip will move. If it moves too late, I may not be able to make it because my passport will be away.

Looks like the best option is to mail my passport to Buffalo after the training trip. There’s still a risk that I won’t get my passport back in time, but that’s the lowest risk of all the options.

Yay decision trees!