Author Topic: Citizen of Canada; resident of nowhere - what to say at immigration checks?  (Read 9859 times)

Twilight

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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.)



To Cathy:

So, just out of curiosity, what would YOU reply in my situation? ;-)

Cathy

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So, just out of curiosity, what would YOU reply in my situation? ;-)

I try not to give specific fact-based advice but I already said above that I thought the "the suggestion by 'former player' above is a sane and non-fraudulent way to handle this situation".
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Twilight

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So, just out of curiosity, what would YOU reply in my situation? ;-)

I try not to give specific fact-based advice but I already said above that I thought the "the suggestion by 'former player' above is a sane and non-fraudulent way to handle this situation".


Yep, indeed, you did mention 'former player's' advice, and I agree with it 100%. Given the large number of responses to my OP, I inadvertently missed that part of your reply. Sorry. And thanks again for taking the time to reply.


Cpa Cat

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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.)

I have to disagree with you - but I guess we'll agree to disagree!

Earlier, you seemed to be conflating Tax Act residency with what was being asked by UK Immigrations. Residency rules for tax purposes apply ONLY to tax statuses. They should never be confused with visa status or citizenship status. Being a resident for tax purposes does not entitle you to any legal residency status within a country. Likewise, being a non-resident for tax purposes does not exempt you from holding a visa or citizenship that entitles you to legal residency.

For example, though the IRS may demand that you file a tax return within the USA because you lived here, if you did so illegally, then USCIS can still deport you. Legal residency exists as a concept in US law, while tax residency exists as a separate concept according to the tax code.

The only time I would think that someone should answer that they are a "resident of nowhere" is if they truly have nowhere to return to (for example, because they are a refugee). This is why the OP encountered problems. Without intending to, she arrived in the UK and implied that she was a refugee - which a very serious claim to make. Of course, I'm in agreement that the officers involved were being obtuse - but with the current climate in the EU and its refugee issues, she was treading in iffy territory for them.


Cathy

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Earlier, you seemed to be conflating Tax Act residency with what was being asked by UK Immigrations.

Where do you see this in my posts? I never engaged in such a conflation.


Legal residency exists as a concept in US law, while tax residency exists as a separate concept according to the tax code.

The Internal Revenue Code does indeed have a concept of residency that is not related to immigration law. However, it's not true that there is a single concept of "legal residency" in US immigration law, contrary to what many webpages say. In fact, just off the top of my head I can think of three separate residency concepts in US immigration law, namely 8 USC 1101(a)(2) (defining concept of "lawfully admitted for permanent residence"), 8 USC 1101(a)(15) (referencing the concept of an alien "having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning"), and 8 CFR 214.6(b) (defining another concept of residency wherein the alien "must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the inspecting immigration officer that his or her work assignment in the United States will end at a predictable time and that he or she will depart upon completion of the assignment"). There are still distinct other residency concepts in US immigration law; these are just the three that I can cite without having to do research.

There is a common myth on the internet that US immigration law involves some global concept of "legal residence" but that is in fact not true.
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Cpa Cat

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I wanted to add that I come from the perspective that I am a citizen of three countries: UK, US and Canada. I live permanently in the USA and I normally travel on my US passport.

When I go through Canadian customs/immigrations, I go through as a non-citizen. When I'm asked what my citizenship is, I write down United States.

I do not complicate matters by switching passports or offering up additional details. If I were to do that, it would needlessly subject to me additional inquiry.

Once, in my younger days, I innocently offered up some additional information (ie: that I'm a Canadian citizen) and I was subjected to accusatory questions about why I wasn't traveling on my Canadian passport and then was bounced between desks because I was in the "wrong" line.

My mother used to do the opposite - travel to the UK using her UK passport and then back to Canada offering up her Canadian passport. But then once a border agent held her up for over an hour because she didn't leave the country on the same passport that she was entering with and she was told she was not "allowed" to do this (though no one seemed to be able to tell her why she wasn't allowed).

While I certainly don't advise lying outright to the officials, the fact of the matter is that the OP can choose to be a resident of Canada at any time, for any amount of time. Extra details about the fact that she has no permanent address aren't helpful or necessary.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2015, 11:51:23 AM by Cpa Cat »

Cathy

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You need to check domestic law for the countries in question before making decisions about which passports to carry and other such matters. For example, in the United States, it is generally unlawful for a US citizen to enter or depart the US or to attempt to enter or depart the US unless the citizen "bears a valid United States passport". 8 USC 1185(b).


My mother used to do the opposite - travel to the UK using her UK passport and then back to Canada offering up her Canadian passport. But then once a border agent held her up for over an hour because she didn't leave the country on the same passport that she was entering with and she was told she was not "allowed" to do this (though no one seemed to be able to tell her why she wasn't allowed)...

Various countries have information sharing agreements that they use to match up entries and exits and the systems use the passport number as an identifying link. That doesn't mean that it's illegal to use different passports, but it does mean it may cause delays. (Whether it's legal or possibly even required to do so will depend on the domestic law of the countries in question, a topic on which I express no view.)
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nereo

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As someone who spends the majority of my time in a country where I am neither a citizen nor a permenant resident I've been following the responses with interest.  I've triggered unnecessary difficulties in other countries by trying to say that I "live in canada but I am not a resident and i've been working in mexico while being a us citizen but I haven't been to the US in almost a year."

Personally, here's what I would say in your circumstances:
"I am a citizen of Canada, but now I travel, and in the last 2 years I have been in (list previous countries with a one sentence explanation of what you were doing there)"

I see this as neither fraudulent nor intentionally misleading.  It's also similar to the response formerplayer gave.

Remember that a border control officer has about 30 seconds to determine whether you pose a risk (security or financial burden) before deciding to send you to 'secondary' or grant you access.  He/she is asking questions which are simple for 99% of people to answer, but is more complicated for you.  I don't see the value in trying to make it more complicated.  If they want further clarification, they will ask.

Likewise +1 to not disobeying an order to not use your cell phone,
"Do not confuse complexity with superiority"

patrickza

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I imagine the answer "Canada" along with your Canadian passport would never be questioned. I wouldn't bother with anything else, you could always claim ignorance and most likely get away with nothing more than a small lecture.