Author Topic: Citizen of Canada; resident of nowhere - what to say at immigration checks?  (Read 8357 times)

Twilight

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I'm hoping that someone can give me a solution to an ever-increasing problem. Going through some immigration checkpoints is becoming an ever-increasing nightmare.

I'm a Canadian citizen, a single female and a senior citizen.

I left Canada in 1997, went to China and became a non-resident for tax purposes.
Spent 12 years in China - as a resident, with proof of residence).
Then in Jordan, nearly 3 years - as a resident, with proof of residence.

In mid-2012, left Jordan and went to UK to visit family, but by then my Jordanian residency had expired, and I had no intention of renewing it.

Going through UK immigration was nothing short of a nightmare!

UK immigration clerk: What country are you normally resident in?
Me: I'm a citizen of Canada, but right now, I'm a resident of nowhere.
UK immigration clerk: Get over to that bench now!!! Do not leave! Do not talk to anyone! Do not use your cell phone! [Then she stormed off to get her supervisor.]
Me: [Immediately got out my phone to ring my son waiting in the arrivals hall.]
UK immigration clerk [turning around, shrieking at the top of her voice]:
I TOLD YOU NOT TO USE YOUR CELL PHONE!!!

Supervisor: What makes you think you can enter the UK just because your sons live here? Well???
Me: Have you immigration people here at the airport ever heard the term 'courtesy'? How about even 'common sense'?

After nearly 40 minutes, I was 'released', but not before a notation had been written in my passport.

So in the following three years, I went from the UK --> Republic of Cyprus --> Turkish Republic of North Cyprus --> Turkey (where I simply bought a year's residency permit, as a matter of convenience) --> France (immigration guy at the Chunnel saw the UK notation in my passport and demanded to know which country I was normally resident in, so just showed him my residency permit from Turkey) --> UK --> Portugal --> Morocco --> Tunisia --> Serbia --> Montenegro --> Bosnia & Herzegovina --> Serbia (to get passport renewal) --> Malta --> UK --> Portugal --> Romania (which is where I'll be in less than a month).

I always stay about 10 days less than the permitted visa-free tourist period at any one destination, with the exception of Tunisia, which I loathed from Day 1 and left within a month.

Travelling in the Balkans was no problem. Not only don't they care what country you are 'normally resident in', they don't even bother stamping the passport.

Entering Malta was no problem. The immigration guy just stamped my passport and waved me through. (Of course, Malta is a signatory to the Schengen Agreement and for non-EU citizens, the Schengen Agreement presents it's own set of limitations.)

But, returning to the UK (with my 'clean' passport), I was asked the same old hackneyed question: In which country are you normally resident?

This time, I simply said 'Canada', even though I haven't been back to Canada in nearly 20 years, and I am officially a non-resident.

This time (at UK immigration), I also had with me a 4-page A4 printout of all my 'residences' for the preceding three years - complete with name, address, contact details, dates, and number of days at each residence in each country. If immigration got picky, then they, in their infinite wisdom, could decide exactly which of the countries listed was the country I normally reside in. (Fortunately, it didn't come to that.)

If it weren't for the fact that I have kids in the UK, I'd never set foot in the place.

Now I have two questions:

1. When I'm asked 'Which country are you normally resident in?', what should I say?
If I tell the truth - that I'm a resident of nowhere, then the morons at immigration all seem to short-circuit and all hell breaks loose.
If I lie - which I hate doing, shouldn't have to do and am very poor at doing - then I feel enormous resentment that the ignorance of immigration people has forced me into a position of having to tell a lie.
Any suggestions?

2. While I can always fall back on saying 'Canada' when I'm in a country other than Canada, what on earth would I say, as I go through Canadian immigration should I want to return to Canada for a visit?
I cannot say 'I'm a resident of Canada' because I have no 'proof' that I am. I haven't been back to Canada for two decades and I'm also a non-resident for tax purposes.
Any suggestions?

Telling the truth doesn't seem to be a viable option; telling a lie isn't a desirable option. And the anticipatory stress is really starting to get me down.

Thoughts?? Suggestions??

Sent from my iPad

MMMaybe

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I would just say Canada. No need to borrow trouble :)

KCM5

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They're just trying to make sure you're going to leave. Tell them you're a resident of Canada and don't get all bothered about it. I'm a bureaucrat, so I totally get how they just ask a question to tick a box. Answering outside of the box throws them off.

Second the question about tax purposes - I'm assuming you no longer work are are living off investments - do you get any benefit from being a Canadian non resident for tax purposes now?

Cathy

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Regarding the three posts above:
  • OP cannot just "elect" to be a resident of Canada within the meaning of the Income Tax Act, RSC 1985, c 1 (5th Supp). If OP is not a resident of Canada, then he or she is not a resident of Canada. It doesn't matter whether she or he is getting a benefit from this; it can't be changed without the facts changing.
  • Lying to immigration officers is a very bad idea. I discuss this more below.


In the OP, the first question asks what the OP can do to enter countries other than Canada without trouble. The first thing to understand is that, as a matter of international law, OP does not have any right to enter countries other than Canada. "It is a received maxim of International Law that, the Government of a State may prohibit the entrance of strangers into the country." Arizona v. United States, 132 SCt 2492, 2511 (2012) (opinion of Scalia J, dissenting but not on this point) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The OP appears to be approaching this problem as if he or she has the right to enter countries and the question is just how to exercise this right. As a matter of law, that is the wrong perspective.

Turning to the correct approach, countries have the power to decide which foreigners they will admit into their country and, in countries that follow the rule of law, the criteria will be prescribed in statute or other written instrument. Before planning a trip to a given country, the first thing to do is ascertain is whether you actually have the right to enter that country. Many countries do not permit you to visit unless you have a residence in another country. For those countries, if you have no residence in another country, you are not allowed to enter. Thus, before planning to visit a country, OP first needs to determine whether having a residence nowhere is a problem. If OP is not permitted to enter a given country, then she should not attempt to enter it, rather than engaging in fraud as two of the posters above suggest.

As for the UK in particular, the power to control who can enter the country is within the power of the Queen, which power is exercised on her behalf by the Home Secretary. The Home Secretary has in turn promulgated a set of written rules describing how his or her discretion will be exercised. "The status of the immigration rules is rather unusual. They are not subordinate legislation but detailed statements by a minister of the Crown as to how the Crown proposes to exercise its executive power to control immigration." R (on the application of Alvi) (Respondent) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Appellant), [2012] UKSC 33, 9 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). A review of the relevant rules for visitors reveals that there is no specific requirement to have a residence outside of the UK. However, the proposed visitor must satisfy the immigration officer that, among other things, the proposed visitor "will leave the UK at the end of their visit" and "will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK their main home". Immigration Rules V 4.2.

OP should review all of the immigration rules but it looks like OP may qualify to enter as a visitor despite not having a residence outside of the UK. This possible conclusion is further backed up by the fact that the immigration officer in OP's story actually allowed OP to enter the UK. Why did OP have difficulties then? It was most likely because OP had a poor attitude when making submissions to the immigration officer. The OP appears to approached this situation as if OP has the right to enter any country she or he wants (which is wrong), and that kind of attitude comes out in how people to speak to immigration officers, and always leads to a bad time. The correct approach is to be respectful and demure. Anything you say should be tailored to explaining how you meet the requirements in the rules. If the officer tells you not to use your phone, then you do not use your phone. If OP needed to contact her or his son, he or she should have asked the officer for permission. Generally, OP's problem was almost certainly rooted in her general approach to making submissions, rather than a failure to meet the requirements.

For countries other than the UK, the situation may be bleaker as OP may not actually be permitted to enter without a residence elsewhere. I would strongly advise not lying when attempting to enter these countries, contrary to the advice other posters gave above endorsing fraud.



As for the second question, the OP asks about possible immigration problems when entering Canada. Again, OP should just tell the truth. There is no need to be concerned when entering Canada because, under the Constitution of Canada, "[e]very citizen of Canada has the right to enter [and] remain in ... Canada". Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Part I of Constitution Act, 1982), 6(1). If you are a citizen of Canada, you cannot be excluded from Canada. In fact, even if you don't have a Canadian passport, you still have the right to enter Canada if you are a citizen (although it might be a bit harder to prove that you are a citizen).
« Last Edit: October 13, 2015, 09:29:06 AM by Cathy »
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MoonShadow

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I'd say that KCM5's opinion of the situation is the correct one, and that the low level bureaucrats at the airport have no earthly idea why they are supposed to ask for a country of residence from someone with a valid passport.  Neither common sense, nor even the actual royal dictates have any real bearing on how the situation on the ground actually goes.  I'd wager the floor manager had to call a higher up to find out that said rule was asked only to make certain that the traveler had somewhere else to go, should Britain decide she should leave.

Furthermore, I'd say that this is the first of many new rules we shall all see in Europe.  The influx of refugees is going to really cause problems of this sort. 

EDIT:  It's also strange that Britain must ask this question of a citizen of the former British Empire.  Perhaps because she was coming from Jordan instead of Canada?
« Last Edit: October 13, 2015, 09:26:35 AM by MoonShadow »

MoonShadow

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Twilight, I know that traveling in retirement might be the true reason, but doesn't the cost of traveling around so often, and paying the fees for all those visas, undermine the tax advantages of non-residency status anyway?

Cathy

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It's also strange that Britain must ask this question of a citizen of the former British Empire.

Citizens of Canada are not exempt from the normal UK immigration rules.
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former player

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I would suggest that if OP is asked this question at the UK border again, she says -

"I'm a citizen of Canada and entitled to live there permanently.   As I'm retired and have an independent income, I am spending my time travelling and don't currently have a permanent home in Canada.   I've come to the UK to see my sons, who live here.  I expect to stay for a few weeks and then leave to go to [whatever country is next on the itinerary] by [date]."

It's entirely truthful but has enough information to reassure the immigration officer (who is doing his/her job according to the rules given to them) that they will not be letting in someone who will overstay their visa or start claiming state support.

And yes, politeness always pays, even if you feel the other person has been rude first.
Be frugal and industrious, and you will be free (Ben Franklin)

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Saying this as somebody who got close to being kicked out of the Philadelphia airport for telling the TSA that I was refusing the spinning scan thing to get in their way, I'm not sure why you treated the UK immigration official that way. You're presenting an unusual situation, they're going to have a hard time dealing with it.

(I was polite with the TSA, just honest that as they basically provide a checkbox for protesting security theater, I was checking it at the cost of my testicles getting bumped. I am a short skinny white guy who can't be mistaken for other than American when I speak and even being polite probably wouldn't work for somebody who looks Middle Eastern.)

MoonShadow

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It's also strange that Britain must ask this question of a citizen of the former British Empire.

Citizens of Canada are not exempt from the normal UK immigration rules.

Why not this one?  All the former colonies have extradition and deportation agreements/treaties, including the United States.  Residency or not, Canada isn't going to refuse a Canadian citizen from Britain.  Nor would Australia, New Zealand or the United States.  The reverse is also true, so it's easy peasy for a Canadian or British citizen to get a visa into the US; but not so easy for any citizen of the continents of South America or Africa.  It's actually pretty easy for a Mexican citizen, with an actual Mexican passport, to get a visa to the US; and for similar reasons.

Cathy

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Residency or not, Canada isn't going to refuse a Canadian citizen from Britain...
(Emphasis mine.)

As mentioned above, Canadian citizens have a constitutional right to enter Canada. However, they do not have a freestanding right to enter the UK. Nor do citizens of the UK have a freestanding right to enter Canada.

Canada and the US actually have a much more relaxed immigration relationship than do Canada and the UK, but I don't have time to go into all the history right now.
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KCM5

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It's also strange that Britain must ask this question of a citizen of the former British Empire.

Citizens of Canada are not exempt from the normal UK immigration rules.

Why not this one?  All the former colonies have extradition and deportation agreements/treaties, including the United States.  Residency or not, Canada isn't going to refuse a Canadian citizen from Britain.  Nor would Australia, New Zealand or the United States.  The reverse is also true, so it's easy peasy for a Canadian or British citizen to get a visa into the US; but not so easy for any citizen of the continents of South America or Africa.  It's actually pretty easy for a Mexican citizen, with an actual Mexican passport, to get a visa to the US; and for similar reasons.

This just isn't the case. Ask my British husband when he got turned away at an airport in Ohio. Oh, if only it were that easy.

And the OP didn't have a visa - he or she was asking to be permitted to enter on something like a visa waiver program.

MoonShadow

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Residency or not, Canada isn't going to refuse a Canadian citizen from Britain...
(Emphasis mine.)

As mentioned above, Canadian citizens have a constitutional right to enter Canada. However, they do not have a freestanding right to enter the UK. Nor do citizens of the UK have a freestanding right to enter Canada.

Canada and the US actually have a much more relaxed immigration relationship than do Canada and the UK, but I don't have time to go into all the history right now.

I acknowledge this fact, but I don't think it is relevant to my argument.  They were, obviously, detaining her on the basis that a bureaucratic form requires the agents to ask for residency, for the end purpose of making sure that the person isn't some form of refugee with no safe place to be deported to, if it came to that.  So why don't Canadians citizens wiz past this one?  Since that requirement is already satisfied by default of possessing a valid Canadian passport?  If she were not privileged to a visa for other reasons, fine; but that isn't what happened here, is it?  The last I checked, Canada wasn't a conflict zone, nor a chronic human rights violator.  I understand that this is just another example of bureaucratic bullsh*t, for which the British are the original masters of crap; but as you already noted, it doesn't even take a new law from Parliament, it only takes the Home Secretary to say, "yeah, duh; Canadians don't need to answer the residency question, obviously".

MoonShadow

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This just isn't the case. Ask my British husband when he got turned away at an airport in Ohio. Oh, if only it were that easy.

If you are referring to Cincinnati International Airport, it's actually not in Ohio.  It's actually in Hebron, Kentucky.  Yes, I know, that makes no sense, and confuses the hell out of everyone.

So why was your British born husband refused entry?  I would find it hard to believe that it was because he didn't have residency in Britain.

Cathy

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I acknowledge this fact, but I don't think it is relevant to my argument.  They were, obviously, detaining her on the basis that a bureaucratic form requires the agents to ask for residency, for the end purpose of making sure that the person isn't some form of refugee with no safe place to be deported to, if it came to that....

The concern isn't just about having a safe place to deport the alleged visitor. The concern is also that somebody with no home might just disappear into the UK and not ever leave nor be easy to find. Having a home elsewhere is one way to prove that you aren't going to do that, although not the only way. The suggestion by "former player" above is a sane and non-fraudulent way to handle this situation.
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Argyle

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Saying you're a resident of nowhere does not give them any information to help them decide; it merely suggests strongly that you are about to ask for asylum.  They have massive numbers of asylum-seekers and a huge political/logistical problem as to what to do with them, so it would be both courteous and to your advantage to take pains to let them see that you are not among those.  It is only confusing to show that you've been living in umpteen different countries.

In my view, "In what country are you normally resident?" is a shorthand way of asking "What country 'owns' you and is the place that you will go back to in which you are not just a visitor?"  So "Canada" suffices here.  Canada is the place that will take you in if other places do not.  Canada is the default option.  They want to know that you have a default option and that your default option is not "Throw myself on the mercy of the UK and try to make them let me stay here."

But if you absolutely feel that answering "Canada" will not suffice which makes trouble for both them and you you could say, "I'm a Canadian citizen but I've been living in Hong Kong, though right now I'm in the middle of moving to Malta.  I'm visiting my son for three weeks here in England, but then I'll be flying on to Malta where I have an apartment" or whatever the situation is. Just give them enough information to know that you have a plan, you have a place where you're going where residency is already set up, you are not planning to throw yourself on the mercy of the UK government with no other plans in place.  Think of what they need to know, not all the extraneous details about your life path.  For added reassurance, show them a printout of your flight itinerary with the onward portion clearly visible, just as you described.

KCM5

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This just isn't the case. Ask my British husband when he got turned away at an airport in Ohio. Oh, if only it were that easy.

If you are referring to Cincinnati International Airport, it's actually not in Ohio.  It's actually in Hebron, Kentucky.  Yes, I know, that makes no sense, and confuses the hell out of everyone.

So why was your British born husband refused entry?  I would find it hard to believe that it was because he didn't have residency in Britain.

Ha, yes - but it was Cleveland.

He was refused entry because he was intending to become my husband. It was totally a legit reason to refuse entry - a person cannot enter the US with the intent to marry a citizen, but can enter and then decide to get married. If upon entry they intend to marry a citizen they must get a K1 visa. We actually were intending for him to leave to adjust status to a permanent resident after marriage, but apparently they either didn't believe us or just didn't want to let him enter.

MoonShadow

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I acknowledge this fact, but I don't think it is relevant to my argument.  They were, obviously, detaining her on the basis that a bureaucratic form requires the agents to ask for residency, for the end purpose of making sure that the person isn't some form of refugee with no safe place to be deported to, if it came to that....

The concern isn't just about having a safe place to deport the alleged visitor. The concern is also that somebody with no home might just disappear into the UK and not ever leave nor be easy to find. Having a home elsewhere is one way to prove that you aren't going to do that, although not the only way. The suggestion by "former player" above is a sane and non-fraudulent way to handle this situation.

Sure, but only if the low level agents aren't just locked into following a script, which they almost certainly are.  The manager isn't, but then his reflex is to look at any scenario that requires his intervention as a hostile, or at least negative, situation; at least until shown otherwise.  This actually is common sense from the manager's perspective, and most of the time the low level agents can't actually be trusted to make those decisions anyway, which is also common sense from an immigration/systems perspective. 

Cathy

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...But if you absolutely feel that answering "Canada" will not suffice which makes trouble for both them and you...

Yes, engaging in fraud can make life a lot easier, so long as the fraud isn't discovered. However, it's still fraud. I don't understand why this forum attracts so many posters who expound the virtues of fraud.
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MoonShadow

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...But if you absolutely feel that answering "Canada" will not suffice which makes trouble for both them and you...

Yes, engaging in fraud can make life a lot easier, so long as the fraud isn't discovered. However, it's still fraud. I don't understand why this forum attracts so many posters who expound the virtues of fraud.

It's not the forum.  It's the nature of bureaucracies that encourages work-arounds to stupidity.  To call it fraud is to imply a malicious motive to deceive, wherein the vast majority of cases any deception is simply the consequence of 'smoothing out the bumps' in the way of accomplishing one's goals.

Jack

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It's also strange that Britain must ask this question of a citizen of the former British Empire.

Citizens of Canada are not exempt from the normal UK immigration rules.

Why not this one?  All the former colonies have extradition and deportation agreements/treaties, including the United States.  Residency or not, Canada isn't going to refuse a Canadian citizen from Britain.  Nor would Australia, New Zealand or the United States.  The reverse is also true, so it's easy peasy for a Canadian or British citizen to get a visa into the US; but not so easy for any citizen of the continents of South America or Africa.

You do realize that the "former British Empire" includes the following (incomplete list of) countries, right?

Central & South America:
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Guyana
  • Trinidad & Tobago

Africa:
  • Egypt
  • Sudan
  • Nigeria
  • Kenya
  • Gold Coast
  • Sierra Leone
  • Gambia
  • Uganda
  • Tanzania
  • South Africa
  • etc.

Asia:
  • Oman
  • Yemen
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Iraq
  • India
  • Bangladesh
  • Myanmar
  • Malaysia
  • Brunei
  • Papua New Guinea
  • A bunch of other South Pacific island countries


What you're really trying to say is that you think the UK should give special treatment to residents of countries that are former colonies and affluent and mostly-white.

Paul der Krake

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This just isn't the case. Ask my British husband when he got turned away at an airport in Ohio. Oh, if only it were that easy.

If you are referring to Cincinnati International Airport, it's actually not in Ohio.  It's actually in Hebron, Kentucky.  Yes, I know, that makes no sense, and confuses the hell out of everyone.

So why was your British born husband refused entry?  I would find it hard to believe that it was because he didn't have residency in Britain.

Ha, yes - but it was Cleveland.

He was refused entry because he was intending to become my husband. It was totally a legit reason to refuse entry - a person cannot enter the US with the intent to marry a citizen, but can enter and then decide to get married. If upon entry they intend to marry a citizen they must get a K1 visa. We actually were intending for him to leave to adjust status to a permanent resident after marriage, but apparently they either didn't believe us or just didn't want to let him enter.
And if you do get married in the US within the first 60 days of entry, good luck proving that this wasn't your intention all along. There are very specific instructions for fiances and how to demonstrate intent, but you already know this now. Too bad it cost you a plane ticket to be made aware of the rules. :p

Posthumane

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I don't understand why saying "Canada" in this case would be considered fraudulent. The question being asked is "In which country are you normally resident?" not "In which country do you currently reside?". You have lived in Canada most of your life, are a Canadian citizen, and would likely return to Canada in the event that you had to leave a country forcibly, which makes "Canada" a legitimate and truthful answer to the question.

MoonShadow

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What you're really trying to say is that you think the UK should give special treatment to residents of countries that are former colonies and affluent and mostly-white.

I was thinking of the "five eyes", not the colonies in general, so your criticism is fair.  However, do you have any particular reason why those affluent, mostly white, former colonies shouldn't get "special treatment"?  Is my point that these same affluent, mostly white, former colonies tend not to produce refugees (or illegal immigrants, if you prefer), regardless of the race of the actual person, incorrect?  Or do you just wish to imply that my point is racist without addressing that point directly?

Jack

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What you're really trying to say is that you think the UK should give special treatment to residents of countries that are former colonies and affluent and mostly-white.

I was thinking of the "five eyes", not the colonies in general, so your criticism is fair.  However, do you have any particular reason why those affluent, mostly white, former colonies shouldn't get "special treatment"?  Is my point that these same affluent, mostly white, former colonies tend not to produce refugees (or illegal immigrants, if you prefer), regardless of the race of the actual person, incorrect?

I have a hard time thinking up any good reason why those countries should get any kind of special treatment that shouldn't also be afforded to equally-affluent non-white or non-former-colony countries. In other words, allowing open borders between the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand would be fine, but why not also include the Shengen Area, Japan, and anywhere else sufficiently high on the IHDI?

MoonShadow

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What you're really trying to say is that you think the UK should give special treatment to residents of countries that are former colonies and affluent and mostly-white.

I was thinking of the "five eyes", not the colonies in general, so your criticism is fair.  However, do you have any particular reason why those affluent, mostly white, former colonies shouldn't get "special treatment"?  Is my point that these same affluent, mostly white, former colonies tend not to produce refugees (or illegal immigrants, if you prefer), regardless of the race of the actual person, incorrect?

I have a hard time thinking up any good reason why those countries should get any kind of special treatment that shouldn't also be afforded to equally-affluent non-white or non-former-colony countries. In other words, allowing open borders between the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand would be fine, but why not also include the Shengen Area, Japan, and anywhere else sufficiently high on the IHDI?

I don't know.  If those nations can come to mutual agreements, and neither is violating that agreement with a noticeable number of economic or political refugees, why not?  Such agreements already exist between those affluent, mostly white, former colonies; btw.

Villanelle

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I would suggest that if OP is asked this question at the UK border again, she says -

"I'm a citizen of Canada and entitled to live there permanently.   As I'm retired and have an independent income, I am spending my time travelling and don't currently have a permanent home in Canada.   I've come to the UK to see my sons, who live here.  I expect to stay for a few weeks and then leave to go to [whatever country is next on the itinerary] by [date]."

It's entirely truthful but has enough information to reassure the immigration officer (who is doing his/her job according to the rules given to them) that they will not be letting in someone who will overstay their visa or start claiming state support.

And yes, politeness always pays, even if you feel the other person has been rude first.

This.  The truth, in as brief a version as possible, paired with some humility and manners, will go a long way. Being standoffish not only gives them no reason to try to be helpful, but it can certainly make one look like they have something to hide. 

MoonShadow

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I would suggest that if OP is asked this question at the UK border again, she says -

"I'm a citizen of Canada and entitled to live there permanently.   As I'm retired and have an independent income, I am spending my time travelling and don't currently have a permanent home in Canada.   I've come to the UK to see my sons, who live here.  I expect to stay for a few weeks and then leave to go to [whatever country is next on the itinerary] by [date]."

It's entirely truthful but has enough information to reassure the immigration officer (who is doing his/her job according to the rules given to them) that they will not be letting in someone who will overstay their visa or start claiming state support.

And yes, politeness always pays, even if you feel the other person has been rude first.

This.  The truth, in as brief a version as possible, paired with some humility and manners, will go a long way. Being standoffish not only gives them no reason to try to be helpful, but it can certainly make one look like they have something to hide.

Where does this assumption that she had a bad attitude come from?  My own experiences tells me that her own version of events is entirely realistic.

Paul der Krake

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Cell phones are a big no-no at every border in the world. Pulling one out immediately after being told not to is a great way to receive shitty treatment.

MoonShadow

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Cell phones are a big no-no at every border in the world. Pulling one out immediately after being told not to is a great way to receive shitty treatment.

She got shitty treatment before that.

iowajes

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Where does this assumption that she had a bad attitude come from?  My own experiences tells me that her own version of events is entirely realistic.

Pulling out a cell phone after being told not to.

This statement, "Have you immigration people here at the airport ever heard the term 'courtesy'? How about even 'common sense'?"

Yes- she had already had a very intense reaction to "I am a resident of nowhere" which possibly was said in the politest way possible; but that is an incredibly non-standard answer, so the agent may have thought she was being a smart ass, even if she wasn't.  Then the other things cited, from her own story, certainly didn't help.

Argyle

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I don't see saying "Canada" as fraud at all; I see it as answering what they're really asking. 

Twilight

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To FliXFantatier:

Thanks for your response.

Passports indicate citizenship; not residency. ;-)
As to taxes: Yes, to some extent being a non-resident is still beneficial, although not to the same extent it once was.
BTW, depending on the particular type of Canadian income involved, taxes that attach to that income are automatically withheld at source, so am still paying taxes as a good Canadian citizen. ;-)

Twilight

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To MMMaybe:

Thanks for your response.

'No need to borrow trouble'!
You're right on the mark here, which is precisely why I now do say 'Canada'. The only reservation I have about doing this is the technically I am not really a resident. Intuitively, I feel as though I'm being dishonest. ;-) But, yes, as you say, 'Canada' seems to be the easiest way to go. ;-)

Twilight

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To KCM5:

I like your answer, particularly since you're a bureaucrat. :-)

Your comment 'answering outside the box throws them off' really adds weight to my own long-held suspicions that, indeed, that's the case.
Re: your second comment ... Yep, you're right. I no longer work (got turfed because of age). Current income includes very small investment income and government pensions. In fact 'very small' is why I'm in the 'reluctant roving retiree' mode. For me, it's affordable; Canada is not.

Thanks for your response.

Twilight

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To Cathy:

Thanks for taking the time to provide such a detailed response. I see you've approached this issue from a legal perspective.

Let me clarify ....
First, I have never assumed that I have the right to enter ANY country other than my own.
Second,
'Thus, before planning to visit a country, OP first needs to determine whether having a residence nowhere is a problem. If OP is not permitted to enter a given country, then she should not attempt to enter it, rather than engaging in fraud as two of the posters above suggest.'

Realistically, how many travellers resort to law books or to legal precedents prior to travel in order to determine if entry to a given country requires the prospective visitor to have a 'residence'?

Most typical travellers check out their own country's travel advisories and/or the Consular websites of potential destinations.

Re OP's attitude: I beg to differ that I had a 'bad attitude'. In fact, I had/have a very congenial attitude. ;-)
Could it be that some immigration officials have a 'bad attitude' or is that not possible?

However, I will concede naivety by having expected that some normal level of courtesy would have been extended to a Canadian citizen, given that the Queen of England is also the Queen of Canada! But that was me being silly, of course. ;-)

Re your point:
'I would strongly advise not lying when attempting to enter these countries, contrary to the advice other posters gave above endorsing fraud.'

Good grief!!! I've entered the UK dozens of times, and I typically don't 'lie' - if, in fact, 'lying' is what I'm doing.

Can you - or anyone else - provide a SPECIFIC, UNIFORM definition of 'resident'? Probably not - and neither can immigration officials!

I simply don't know if I'm lying or not. Why? Because no one can provide me with a standard definition of 'resident'. The term means different things to different people at different times in different locales and for different purposes.

[Since you seem to enjoy the use of legalise, you might find this item interesting: McFadyen v. The Queen, 2000 DTC 2473 (TCC), affirmed 2003 DTC 5015 (FCA). If you read it all the way through, you'll find some interesting references to the term 'residence'.] ;-)

I am also well aware that I need only a Canadian passport to enter my own country. :-))

However, as KCM5's response suggests, immigration officials are programmed to tick the right box, and if there's NOT a box labelled 'other', 'none' or 'nowhere', then these guys simply short-circuit, and become frustrated, flustered and extremely unpleasant.

Twilight

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To MoonShadow (really like your user name):

'I'd say that KCM5's opinion of the situation is the correct one, and that the low level bureaucrats at the airport have no earthly idea why they are supposed to ask for a country of residence from someone with a valid passport.  Neither common sense, nor even the actual royal dictates have any real bearing on how the situation on the ground actually goes.'

Exactly! I agree with this 100%!

'EDIT:  It's also strange that Britain must ask this question of a citizen of the former British Empire.  Perhaps because she was coming from Jordan instead of Canada?'

Yes, that thought went through my mind as well. ;-)

I had naively assumed at least being afforded a minimum amount of courtesy, given that the Queen of England is also the Queen of Canada. Silly me. ;-)

Thank you for taking the time to respond. :-)

Twilight

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To MoonShadow:

'Twilight, I know that traveling in retirement might be the true reason, but doesn't the cost of traveling around so often, and paying the fees for all those visas, undermine the tax advantages of non-residency status anyway?'

A very good question, MoonShadow.
I travel not as a matter of choice, but as a matter of circumstance. I simply cannot afford to live in my own country anymore.

Re the cost of travelling around:
Since I'm already based in a European domain, going from one place to another is relatively cheap. Whenever possible, I use the cheapest form of land transportation, as I have a crippling fear of flying. When I do fly, I fly on El Cheapo airlines. (They strap me to the outside surface of the fuselage, so I get an even cheaper rate, ;-))))

I typically live in 1-star (or no-star) accommodation and never eat in restaurants.

Many countries offer significant senior discounts, which I also take advantage of.

I carry only one small piece of luggage, which I sling over one shoulder and a small purse, which I sling over the other shoulder.

I don't typically pay for visas, as in most countries, Canadians are allowed to stay up to 90 days out of every 180 days, visa free. The Schengen Agreement makes life a little more challenging because it allows me only 90 out of every 180 days in the Schengen zone and that zone comprises most of Europe.

Travel, as a holiday is definitely not the same as travel as a way of life. However, I have a reasonably good sense of humour and consider my lifestyle as 'character building'. :-)

Twilight

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To Former Player:
Excellent response - one I am going to adopt! Thank you for having taken the time to reply. ;-)

Perhaps my seeming rudeness was the result of witnessing the hundreds of what appeared to be economic migrants in the adjacent queue all being received with the greatest of courtesy, while I was 'ordered' to a bench and to remain silent! ;-)

Twilight

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To ShoulderThingThatGoesUp:
'You're presenting an unusual situation, they're going to have a hard time dealing with it.'

Exactly. And that's why it's simply easier just to say 'Canada'.

Thanks for your response.

Twilight

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Argyle ... You're next, but will have to wait until I re-charge my ipad. ;-)

Twilight

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Wow, thanks for all the response!

Do forgive this series of seemingly disjointed responses.  I joined this forum only yesterday and haven't yet figured out how to respond to individuals. ;-) And do forgive the odd typo, as my Ipad screen is a 'mini', making the screen almost microscopic!

Will continue with my responses later, after I've recharged my Ipad. ;-)

Twilight

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To Posthumane:

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Your reply is excellent, and something, I, myself, should have tuned into: 'normally' vs 'currently'.

Twilight

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To those who have suggested fraud on my part ....

This is complete nonsense. There was/is no deliberate intent on my part to deceive anyone for personal gain! (Entry to the UK can hardly be considered a 'gain') :-)

And, if, indeed, I were into 'fraud', I wouldn't be wasting my time and 'skills' on trying to get by UK immigration officials. (It's taken me 10 minutes to stop laughing!)

;-)))

Nope! I'd be going for the big-bucks type of fraud that would provide me with sufficient financial resources, such that I COULD go home to a country I now cannot afford to live in!! ;-)))))

Maybe a review of Bernard Madoff, Ken Lay, and Nick Leeson is in order just to put the concept of 'fraud' into proper perspective. ;-)))

As for expecting 'special treatment', how about just common courtesy!

As for maybe seeking asylum .....
'They have massive numbers of asylum-seekers and a huge political/logistical problem as to what to do with them, so it would be both courteous and to your advantage to take pains to let them see that you are not among those.'

In my view, courtesy is a two-way street, not a one-way lane.

As to seeking asylum in the UK???? (Am trying to stop laughing again.) Time for a reality check here.

Why on earth would a Canadian citizen - surely obvious by a Canadian passport - seek 'asylum' in the UK??? The cost of living in the UK is even higher than the cost of living in Canada!! But then I guess if one seeks asylum, everything is paid for by others anyway. (Sorry, but I pay my own way.)

Oh, and did I forget to mention ...
In my particular situation, the asylum-seekers, complete with their extended families, were standing in the OTHER queues and were being treated with far more courtesy than I was!!!!

No matter. Thank you all so much for having taken the time to respond. Much appreciated. ;-)

Jack

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Do forgive this series of seemingly disjointed responses.  I joined this forum only yesterday and haven't yet figured out how to respond to individuals.

Each post has a hyperlink labeled "Quote" in the upper-right corner. Click it, and it will open a reply window with that post's contents already inserted as a quote. If you wish to quote multiple people in one post, you can move the cursor to the location in your response where you want the additional quote inserted, then scroll down to the list of posts below the editor and click the "Insert Quote" hyperlink on the one you want.

Alternatively, you could open multiple Quote hyperlinks in separate browser tabs and copy/paste as necessary,

Cathy

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Good grief!!! I've entered the UK dozens of times, and I typically don't 'lie' - if, in fact, 'lying' is what I'm doing.

Can you - or anyone else - provide a SPECIFIC, UNIFORM definition of 'resident'? Probably not - and neither can immigration officials!
I left Canada in 1997, went to China and became a non-resident for tax purposes.
A very good question, MoonShadow.
I travel not as a matter of choice, but as a matter of circumstance. I simply cannot afford to live in my own country anymore.


I agree with you that the meaning of "resident" or "normally resident" or "ordinarily resident" is fairly wishy-washy and means something different in every context where it arises and the precise meaning probably also varies by the intent of the speaker. However, regardless of the exact meaning, I am sceptical that you can credibly claim to be normally or otherwise resident in Canada when:
  • You have not lived in Canada in 18 or so years;
  • You do not have a home in Canada; and
  • You will not be establishing a home in Canada in the foreseeable future because, by your own admission, you "cannot afford to live in" Canada.

The meaning of the term "resident" for the purpose of the Income Tax Act, RSC 1985, c 1 (5th Supp) is not directly relevant to what UK immigration officers mean by the term, but I understand that you cited McFadyen, infra, just to illustrate the complexity of term "resident", so I discuss it in that basis.

In the Tax Court case you cite, one of the decisive holdings was that the taxpayer had left Canada only to accompany his wife on a temporary overseas posting with a defined end. During the temporary absence abroad, the taxpayer continued to maintain ownership of residential properties in Canada for the purpose of living in them when he returned. When he returned to Canada after the posting, he in fact lived in the properties he had been maintaining while overseas. McFadyen v. Canada, [2000] TCJ No 589, 104. The Court also implied that the fact that the taxpayer had been out of the country for only 3 years was relevant. The Court contrasted this to another case where a taxpayer was found to be nonresident after being out of the country for 6 years on a temporary overseas jobs. Beament v. Canada, [1952] 2 SCR 486, quoted in McFadyen, 100-104 et seq. The Federal Court of Appeal case that you cite does not contain additional substantive discussion on the meaning of "resident", but merely asserts without discussion that the deferential standard of review does not permit the appellate court to interfere with the decision of the Tax Court judge on the question of the taxpayer's residency. McFadyen v. Canada, [2002] FCJ No 1756, 1. (I imagine this is why you cited the Tax Court case, rather than just the appellate case.)

I don't think McFadyen assists you in claiming that you are a resident of Canada, normally or otherwise, even assuming that the definition of residency discussed therein is relevant to what the immigration officials of various countries mean by the term.

However, you do make one fair point. If you give an incorrect answer to a question because the question is unclear, that is not fraud. However, in this case, it's debatable whether there is any plausible interpretation of the question where you could non-fraudulently answer "Canada" despite the three facts outlined above.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2015, 09:04:44 AM by Cathy »
This post contains only general information on the issues raised by this topic. This post does not provide help tailored to your specific situation. There are many facts that could be relevant to your specific situation and I am not in possession of those facts. If you need help tailored to your specific situation, you should retain an appropriate professional and not rely on this post.

MoonShadow

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To MoonShadow:

'Twilight, I know that traveling in retirement might be the true reason, but doesn't the cost of traveling around so often, and paying the fees for all those visas, undermine the tax advantages of non-residency status anyway?'

A very good question, MoonShadow.
I travel not as a matter of choice, but as a matter of circumstance. I simply cannot afford to live in my own country anymore.

Re the cost of travelling around:
Since I'm already based in a European domain, going from one place to another is relatively cheap. Whenever possible, I use the cheapest form of land transportation, as I have a crippling fear of flying. When I do fly, I fly on El Cheapo airlines. (They strap me to the outside surface of the fuselage, so I get an even cheaper rate, ;-))))

I typically live in 1-star (or no-star) accommodation and never eat in restaurants.

Many countries offer significant senior discounts, which I also take advantage of.

I carry only one small piece of luggage, which I sling over one shoulder and a small purse, which I sling over the other shoulder.

I don't typically pay for visas, as in most countries, Canadians are allowed to stay up to 90 days out of every 180 days, visa free. The Schengen Agreement makes life a little more challenging because it allows me only 90 out of every 180 days in the Schengen zone and that zone comprises most of Europe.

Travel, as a holiday is definitely not the same as travel as a way of life. However, I have a reasonably good sense of humour and consider my lifestyle as 'character building'. :-)

Have you considered a cruise ship tour or two?  I have heard that a lot of American retirees find that taking discounted bookings on whatever ship they can find out of Miami on a revolving basis is also a relatively cheap way to travel in retirement, but you might not get a choice about where you are headed.  Or you could learn to sail, and head down to the Med for the winter and back into Britain and the EuroZone for summer.  Much like the 'snowbird' retirees do here in the Eastern US; moving to Florida or the Bahamas for winter, and back to where the grandkids live during summer.  One of my own bucket list line items is to sail the Great Loop.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Loop

Cpa Cat

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Look at this as an immigration question - not a tax question or any other type.

The only place that you have legal residence - for immigration purposes - is Canada, where you are a citizen. If you are asked this question at a Canadian border station, then the correct answer is that you are returning to Canada after living/travelling abroad for some time. As a Canadian citizen, it is your right to return to Canada as a resident at any time.

Unless and until you have a visa demonstrating that you reside somewhere other than Canada, then you remain a Canadian "resident."

Once again - Remember that "resident" for Tax Act purposes is not the question that immigration guards are asking you. They are not asking how/if you file your tax return. They are asking what your legal residence is for visa purposes - where do you have a the legal right to reside? You only have one answer available to you - Canada.

As you've encountered, saying "nowhere" is bad, because it implies that if they allow you to enter, there's nowhere for them to deport you to, so they're stuck with you. But this is not true in your case. They can deport you to Canada - where you retain the permanent right to reside.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2015, 09:19:26 AM by Cpa Cat »

Jack

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I travel not as a matter of choice, but as a matter of circumstance. I simply cannot afford to live in my own country anymore.

How's that work? I mean, I understand not being able to afford to live in Toronto or Vancouver, as (from what I've seen on HGTV) those places are ridiculous. However, I find it difficult to believe that there's nowhere affordable in some random town in Saskatchwan or something.

Traveling the world is almost certainly a more attractive option than that, of course, but that's not the same as claiming you have no choice.

Cathy

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They are asking ... where do you have a the legal right to reside? You only have one answer available to you - Canada.

I can't agree with this because under this definition of "residency", "residency" means the same thing as "citizenship". The UK immigration officer in OP's story was already aware that OP had the right to reside in Canada just from seeing OP's Canadian passport. The officer must have been asking for something more than was already apparent from the passport. The question was not asking where OP had the right to reside, but rather where OP actually resided. I agree that that term is wishy washy, but there's no plausible interpretation under which OP is a resident of Canada, normally or otherwise.

As I described in my first post in this thread, the UK immigration rules do not require the prospective visitor to have a residence out of the UK. It may be a nonstandard situation, but it's not fatal to entering the UK as a visitor. It would potentially be fatal to entering some other countries though -- for example, for the purpose of entering as a visitor, USA is definitely concerned with where you actually have a residence, not where you have a right to reside. See 8 USC 1101(a)(15)(B). Having no actual residence outside of the US is fatal to entering in certain nonimmigrant classes (although not all of them); for those situations, it absolutely is not sufficient that you have the right to reside somewhere outside of the US. As mentioned, however, the UK does not require this, so there is really no need for OP to say he or she has a residence outside of the UK.

The global concept of "resident for immigration purposes" does not exist in the law of nations, or in the domestic law of at least some countries. For example, the US has no global concept like this, contrary to what many webpages say. (The US has a variety of different residency concepts depending on the specific immigration context.)
« Last Edit: October 14, 2015, 10:14:57 AM by Cathy »
This post contains only general information on the issues raised by this topic. This post does not provide help tailored to your specific situation. There are many facts that could be relevant to your specific situation and I am not in possession of those facts. If you need help tailored to your specific situation, you should retain an appropriate professional and not rely on this post.