Help - expired CoPR with imminent lease expiry in the US

Hi all,

I’m in a tough situation right now and would really appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. My CoPR was approved prior to March 18, 2020. However, I could not travel and complete the landing due to the pandemic and my CoPR expired in May 2020.

After waiting tirelessly for IRCC’s next steps to travel, I decided to not postpone my wedding further and got married a month ago. Now, I intend to add my spouse as an accompanying dependent. The Web Form responses have been rather vague. I was told that they would not be able to add my spouse since my application has already been approved.

Please share your thoughts on the following questions:

  1. Based on getting authorization to travel, is my application still valid to complete a landing? I was single at the time my PR application was processed, so wondering if I can travel now after my marital status changed.
  2. With my situation of having an expired CoPR, is the only recommended way to go through the spousal sponsorship program to add my spouse? I understand that the primary applicant would have to reside in Canada for over a year during the processing. (This is something I am worried about)

Overall, what would be the guidance in my situation to complete the landing with my spouse for an already approved (but expired) CoPR? I’d be grateful for your thoughts as I’m in a tough situation with an imminent expiry on rental and car leases. I need to be making quite a lot of decisions based on the outcome of my PR application.

  1. You absolutely should not attempt landing before your spouse has been added to the application. One of the questions that they ask you if you have any dependents other than the ones listed on your application and based on my understanding they are supposed to disallow someone to land if they do.
  2. There’s no waiting period to sponsor immediate family members (spouse and children), however this is not applicable to you as you’re not a Canadian PR in the first place.

I don’t understand the family based immigration laws to provide you with a recommendation and would recommend that you talk to an Immigration lawyer (not a consultant) for advice on this matter.

My $0.02 worth of advice to other people in the same boat would be to complete their immigration landing (soft landing) at the earliest possible if your application is improved and if your marital status or family status (i.e. a newborn) is going to change in the future. It becomes much easier and smoother to handle these two things either before your application is processed or after you’re a PR.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, @panditji .

  1. You absolutely should not attempt landing before your spouse has been added to the application. One of the questions that they ask you if you have any dependents other than the ones listed on your application and based on my understanding they are supposed to disallow someone to land if they do.

This is sort of a deadlock, right? From the vague responses to my Web Form requests, the agents have been saying that it would not be possible to add my spouse since my application is already approved. If I cannot complete the landing, I cannot officially be a PR, thereby not making it possible to add my spouse. From your experience, has it been the case that folks with an approved application (CoPR) are allowed to add their spouses prior to landing?

There’s no waiting period to sponsor immediate family members (spouse and children),

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the spousal sponsorship program take about 12 months to complete? Are you referring to something else?

Overall, do you have any suggestions? I understand and I’ll make sure to talk to an immigration lawyer, but just curious if experienced folks here might have some guidance.

The spousal sponsorship takes about a year to complete, yes. But your spouse can accompany you to Canada if they had a tourist visa and you were a PR and could continue to live in Canada while the application was detected.

Personally I’ll try contacting IRCC again, I’m not convinced that them not allowing you to add the spouse is correct.

I have created three WebForm requests and two of them have got the same generic reply stating that it would not be possible to add my spouse since the application is already approved.

This was their reply:

We verified the information you provided and can confirm that it is not necessary to update your information if you do not currently have an application in process with IRCC. Since a final decision was already made on your application, the information you provided will not be added to your file. If applicable, we invite you to include this information when you submit a new application.

Do you have any suggestions? Thanks once again for taking the time to provide your insights.

I got similar responses when I tried adding my spouse, there was some confusion. There’s something in the COPR instruction page which asks you to inform IRCC of any changes in family composition immediately. Quote that in your next communication with them, that will help them understand.

Also give a call to +1-613.944.4000 to reach CIC (expect long wait times)

Call them as soon as they open up ( I think its 8:30am eastern - the automated voice will give you the timing once you get connected) to get to the head of the queue.

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@ak45 , thank you so much for letting me know. This slightly relieves my worries.

Can you please elaborate on the final outcome/next steps after you contacted them? Did they agree to send a renewed CoPR with details of you and your spouse in order to allow both of you to travel together?

It’s taking almost a month to get a response for each WebForm, so to receive a generic reply saying it would not be possible to update my file has been disappointing.

This is the webform message that got me a response:

I’m getting married in a few months and would like to know how to handle the change in my marital status. I’ve already received my COPR and yet to make the landing in Canada. Could you clarify what changes are necessary to my travel documents? The instructions on the COPR state that I need to report changes in marital status before I become a PR. My marital status has been printed as “single” on my COPR and Visa.

To which they replied:

Thank you for contacting Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

If you are the principal applicant of a permanent residence application already in process, you could add your spouse or common-law partner, dependent children, and their dependent children to your application, even if they were listed as a non-accompanying dependant in the initial application.

To do so, we invite you to write to this email address: CPC-CTD-Ottawa@cic.gc.ca

Please include in your email :

  • Your name,
  • Your client ID number,
  • Your application (file) number,
  • The name of the family member you wish to add to your application, and
  • Their relationship to you.

What happens next?

  • The Case Processing Centre (CPC) in Ottawa, Ontario will write back by email or through your account. They will provide the instructions to follow in order to add the family member to your application.
  • Please note it may be impossible to add a member of your family to the application if a final decision has already been made.

NOTE: I applied from the US early 2019 and was asked to contact CPC Ottawa. YMMV.

After I emailed CPC Ottawa, the online application was reopened with additional options for uploading documents for my spouse.

Each step of the process took several days; depends on their load. It took me 6-8 weeks from the time I contacted CPC Ottawa, got the application reopened, uploaded additional docs & got medical exam done, and received the final message on the portal to submit our passports for stamping. Not sure how your expired COPR would change things here, but once the application is updated both of you will receive new COPR’s and Immigrant Visas with a new expiry date.

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@ak45 , not sure how I should thank you, but please know that I’m really appreciative of you taking the time to respond in detail with specifics and providing relevant context.

Your response is definitely helpful. I’ll make sure to write to them in a similar way.

One final clarification. The thing that worries me is the last line in the IRCC response that you pasted -

  • Please note it may be impossible to add a member of your family to the application if a final decision has already been made.

In both WebForm responses I received, they mention that a final decision has been made. Do you happen to know at what stage an application is deemed to have a final decision? As things stand, my CoPR was granted in Feb 2020 and my CIC profile indicates the update as “Final decision”.

Do you know if your CIC profile status was at the same stage when you contacted them?

This is the timeline of events on my profile:

-Review of additional documents
February 4, 2020. We are reviewing the additional documents you provided.

  • Interview
    You do not need an interview. We will send a message if this happens.

  • Biometrics:

August 28, 2019 Completed.

  • Background check:

August 28, 2019. Your background check was completed.

  • Final decision:

February 26, 2020. Your application was approved. Check your messages below for details.

Yes my application had a ‘final’ decision before I got it reopened after my wedding. I think its a catch-all term for all their immigration applications. Once they add your spouse and request addiotional docs, it goes back to in progress.

If the webform gets you the same generic response again, it may be worth contacting CPC Ottawa or your respective processing center directly.

You’re welcome and best of luck to you and your spouse!

Are you married already or planning to ? I would advice that your complete your marriage rites first before informing them . They normally give 30 days to submit requested documents . If you are not married at the time of receiving that request , it becomes a problem for you . It is standard practice for you to add your spouse at any point of the processing ( be it post AOR or after receiving your COPR) as long as you haven’t landed as a permanent resident .

Thank you so much for confirming. I’m just hoping that my previous request informing them of my intention to travel and complete the landing will be placed on hold and they accept my add-on request.

Really appreciate all your insights and suggestions.

I got married earlier this year while I was waiting for IRCC to get back to me with an authorization letter to travel with my expired CoPR.

Thank you for letting me know that it’s standard practice to add the spouse even after receiving the CoPR.