Mon, May 12, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Canada announces more relaxed ‘Maple Card’ rules

By Chang Ling-ju  /  STAFF REPORTER

Starting on April 21, all Canadian permanent residents applying to renew their permanent residency (PR) cards — commonly known as “Maple Cards” — can hold on to their still-valid cards and return them to a Citizenship and Immigration Canada officer when they pick up a new card, the Canadian government announced last month.

The new policy also requires PR holders to return the cards with their applications for a new card if the old one has already expired.

In all cases, a replacement card will not be issued until the previous card is returned or otherwise accounted for, the official Web site of Citizen and Immigration Department said.

Canadian immigration lawyer Wang Jen-duo (王仁鐸) said the new policy allowed PR holders with a valid Maple Card to still travel outside of Canada while waiting for their new card to be processed. In the past, new card applicants were required to send back their soon-to expire card as part of their application for a new card. During the 65-day waiting period, applicants were not allowed to leave Canada.

Wang said those who do not wish to return to Canada to renew their cards could still complete the process via mail by providing enough documents to prove their identity at a Canadian government-approved law firm in Taiwan.

It takes about two months for the immigration department to prepare new cards, Wang said.

For more information, visit the department’s Web site at www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/prcard.asp.

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