Question: I am crossing the border (or working through other immigration travel procedures and documentation). What will cause Immigration Refugee Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to declare I am “misrepresenting” myself?
Answer: It requires two main elements:
- Your information was incorrect, by giving a misleading statement or by not disclosing actual information; AND
- As a result of such action, Immigration Canada made an error in applying immigration law; as a result of which, you have received some benefit.
For example, in Canada, we note our date as “month-day-year” in general. So for a birth date, you put June 1, 2000 as 06/01/00. However, many other countries note the date as “day-month-year” – so June 1, 2000 is noted instead as “01/06/00.” In this case, by June 1, 2018, the person is still 18 years old in both cases.
However, if this person were to apply in February, 2018, he could be represented as either 17 years old or 18 years old, depending on how he writes his birth date – different forms and application fees may apply!
Worse still, if this person was born in 1996, the proper declaration and interpretation of their birth date will determine whether they qualify as a minor on their parents’ applications (the individual could be either 21 or 22 years old – 22 year olds are no longer considered minors). So, if IRCC understood the individual to be 21 years old, they would have given an inappropriate benefit to this person as a result of this misleading information.
On the other hand, if you declare your birth month is January, but in fact, it is March, by May, it would not make any difference as to your age; thus, IRCC would have made the same decision. Then, no misrepresentation occurs.
One of the most frequent situations of this nature we work through with our clients is with regards to relationship status. Let’s say your girlfriend (or boyfriend) wants to visit you in Canada. You declare her as “my friend” when she enters into Canada. After 3 months, you get married and apply for her sponsorship. In that application, you state that “we got engaged about 1 year before we got married” or “I asked her to marry me during Christmas of 2017” (attempting to demonstrate love and commitment). Well… then your girlfriend lied at the port of entry in March, 2018 when she stated that she was just a “friend”; apparently, she had already accepted your proposal of marriage at Christmas, 2017! As a result, IRCC gave a benefit to your girlfriend to enter into Canada as a genuine visitor, when she in fact intends to remain in Canada permanently with you (different forms, requirements, and benefits are involved).
Once misrepresentation has been detected and confirmed, the IRCC may ban you or your significant other or both of you from making any applications to Canada, up to 5 years from the time of such determination.
“Do it right the first time” is our advice – plan out your entire immigration plan and decide a) what risk you are taking in each stage, and b) how such risks impact your final goal of successfully settling in Canada.
Contact our office by phone (519-744-3570) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have further questions or need more legal consultation regarding your travel preparation.