Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has launched a pilot project as part of its plan to streamline procedures and improve services to newcomers. As of April 30, 2012, most permanent residents who apply for permanent resident cards no longer need to visit a CIC office; they will instead receive their permanent resident cards by mail. The pilot project will be evaluated after one year.
According to CIC, mailing permanent resident cards directly to applicants is expected to decrease wait times by up to four weeks. It also claims that the direct mail-out of permanent resident cards will reduce the burden on permanent residents who might otherwise need to travel long distances to a local CIC office.
Even before the pilot project, newly landed permanent residents did not need to apply for their permanent resident card, since it was directly mailed to them. However, applicants seeking renewals of their permanent resident cards (which are valid for five years at a time) were required to personally appear at a CIC office in order to pick up their card.
While most permanent resident cards will now be mailed directly to applicants, a small number of applicants will still be asked to pick up their cards at local CIC offices. This will allow CIC to gather information for analysis regarding the effectiveness of the program.
Upon issuance of a new permanent resident card, CIC will invalidate the previous card to ensure that old cards cannot be used. Permanent residents must destroy their old permanent resident card upon receiving their new one, as it will not be valid.
Blaney McMurtry LLP
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