Me and my RQ

res_ques_5 I am a US citizen who has lived in Canada since 2004. My husband and daughter are Canadian citizens. Unlike the majority of RQ recipients I am white. Like the vast majority of RQ recipients, the CIC has given me no explanation or indication as to why they are withholding my citizenship indefinitely. In retrospect, I realize that I had many risk factors for receiving an RQ. I have worked only occasional freelance jobs since the birth of my daughter. I cross the border often to visit my parents in Maine with their youngest grandchild. I was off by a day on a couple of my trips to the US. I applied within days of meeting the residency requirement of 1095 days. Because my time on my previous student and work visas counted as half days, I had just 1097 days of physical presence at the time of my application.

But these factors don’t negate my right to citizenship. I have met the residency requirement. My life, family and work is in Canada. Misstating the day I left on a trip five years ago (Was it Tuesday? Or Wednesday?) is an honest and understandable mistake. It should not result in the indefinite withholding of my democratic rights.

I do not begrudge the CIC their right or even obligation to issue me a Residence Questionnaire. What I object to is their inability to process my response, and the responses of thousands of other applicants, in anything approaching a reasonable timeline. According to the recent ruling by Judge Rennie in the FSW mass backlog elimination case, the CIC has an obligation to process applications in a timely manner. We need to speak up for that right.


4 responses to “Me and my RQ

  1. Just so you know, you’re not the only white person stuck with an RQ. There are plenty of us Persians that got it, too 🙂

    • You are right Sina. Truth be told we do not know the national origin or race of RQ recipients because of the CIC’s extreme opacity on the matter. MP Hsu has questioned this in the House of Commons and is hoping to receive an answer from the CIC in mid-September.
      I have been in contact with RQ recipients from USA, England, Germany, Guinea, Somalia, Iran, India, Pakistan, Venezuela, Russia, etc. This is not an issue that only affects one race or one nationality. We all deserve fair and timely processing. I was trying (perhaps awkwardly), to acknowledge that I might not be the prototypical RQ recipient. But perhaps a better point would be to highlight the diversity of those affected by the citizenship delays. We are the family members, coworkers, colleagues and neighbours of Canadians.

  2. I submitted my application last Sept and received the RQ one week ago. Very disappointed. Actually the only reason I applied for a Canadian citizenship is that I recognize this country and also want this country recognizes me. In the past 5 years, I finished my M.Sci. here, work as an engineer here, bought a house and have a baby girl. I am a hard worker, decent resident and honest tax payer.

    I feel really unfair and insulted for the additional documents they request. Basically it covers all my personal and family history.

    It is their responsibly to determine if the 1095 days are met not me as I have already provided enough information with my original application.

    It is a shame for this reason to be a Canadian one day.

    • hi Bill, As a fellow RQ-recipient I understand the incredible disappointment of opening the RQ envelop. The excitement of knowing you’re finally receiving the test or oath invitation after all these months of waiting followed by the dawning realisation that the document you’ve received means you are the subject of unspecified, unknowable suspicions and will face months or years more of delay.

      That said, the burden of proof regarding eligibility falls squarely upon the applicant under the current citizenship act. I believe the CIC does a very bad job of communicating this to permanent residents, new immigrants and citizenship applicants. So it ends up feeling like a bait-and-switch. The citizenship application makes no suggestion or reference to the need to be ready to provide years worth of documentation. Years worth of rent receipts, travel documents and bank statements. And then the CIC demands them with the insinuation that if you can not promptly provide all this, you are probably a fraud.

      Frankly it’s inefficient, opaque and unfair.

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