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I am at a loss here. Here's a brief summary of what happened to me:

I was born and raised in the Philippines. I was granted permanent residency at birth because my parents were already permanent residents of the Philippines at the time of my birth. About five years ago, while applying for a renewal of my PR card along with a change of address, the bureau of immigration looked into my file and said that I shouldn't have been issued native-born permanent residency as my parents weren't permanent residents yet when I was born (I don't know where they got this info from). They asked for an explanation and our agent just told them I was young and a nice person and all, without providing sufficient evidence as to why I was a rightful permanent resident cardholder (evidence that my parents became permanent residents months before I was born). They were not satisfied with the explanation, which led to them issuing an order forfeiting my native-born status and asking me to downgrade and to secure the appropriate visa (my agent told me not to downgrade to a tourist visa or any other visa because once I did, I would not be able to fight for my PR status again). I was a dumb teenager at the time and didn't understand the gravity of the situation.

About two years ago, I realized that they were wrong to downgrade my status. We got another agent and I gave them all the evidence showing that my parents were already lawful permanent residents when I was born. A motion for reconsideration was filed and the bureau of immigration looked into my file again, and after about a year, they issued another order stating that I was qualified under the native-born category and reinstated my status as a permanent resident. My agent told me that my status is clear now, but I am still worried.

I don't know what to do now. Should I check yes or no for this question? By asking to get my PR card renewed and them basically saying no and asking me to get another visa, does it count as visa refusal? I'm so scared. Moving to Canada has always been my dream and years of my life have already been taken from me. Can you please help me? :(

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    You probably need an immigration lawyer, as following incorrect procedures has later consequences - as your own story shows. Ethically, I would have no problem answering 'No', as you haven't really been denied entry, ordered to leave or overstayed anywhere - but in these cases following the correct legal steps trumps ethics. Or - if answering 'Yes' gives you the opportunity to clarify your circumstances, do that.
    – morsor
    Aug 19 at 5:49
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    An immigration lawyer is something I can't afford right now. We have already been scammed thousands of dollars by so many agents before, and the funds I have available now are just enough for Canada. :( Would overstaying be considered a problem if it's not in the question? I don't really know if what I did would be considered overstaying. I didn't apply for the appropriate visa so I basically didn't have a visa or anything until I was able to get my status reinstated a few years later. :(
    – Maya
    Aug 19 at 6:03
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    It's entirely possible that reinstating your status means you are considered to have been a PR all along but it's not safe to assume anything. Same thing for the distinction between “overstaying” or staying without a status and being ordered to leave. Are you in the clear because the authorities did not make any effort to enforce immigration law? You really need to get a lawyer and it won't be easy to find one with exactly the right knowledge.
    – Relaxed
    Aug 19 at 8:31
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    It is always allowed to answer "yes" and then explain what happened. If they don't think it matters, they will ignore it and there will be no penalty. Keep it short, though. Were you actually ordered to leave the country?
    – user253751
    Aug 19 at 11:21
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    Replacing this comment. What country or countries are your parents citizens of? What country or countries are you a citizen of?
    – CGCampbell
    Aug 19 at 13:03
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First, the caveat. I am not a lawyer. Your personal history is complicated enough that using one would definitely be recommended.

However, as you say you cannot really afford one, then you must go by risk. I will give you what I think I would do in your case. Whether or not you choose to view the facts the same as me, is up to you. Remember, I am some unknown and anonymous Internet person that you don't really know.

First, re-read the question as asked, but broken out into one part at a time.

  • Have you ever been refused a visa by any country?
  • Have you ever been denied entry into a country?
  • Have you ever been ordered to leave a country (officially)?

If your answer to each of those parts is no, then that is your answer to the whole.

The next important thing you state is that "A motion for reconsideration was filed and the bureau of immigration looked into my file again, and after about a year, they issued another order stating that I was qualified under the native-born category and reinstated my status as a permanent resident." So, the Philippine government has stated that you are qualified under the native-born category and has granted permanent resident status.

That means you are a resident of the Philippines. All that went on before is moot. They've now granted you permanent-residency as of the day you were born. Seems to me, legally (again, IANAL) from then to now, you were and are a permanent resident and can disregard all of the stuff that happened in the middle.

Were you me, and were I attempting to travel, I believe I would have no problems answering NO to the question asked. Now you have to view this using your own "risk meter", so to speak.

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  • Sorry about the confusion, but yes, native-born is a visa category. It's given to people like me whose parents were already permanent residents at the time of birth.
    – Maya
    Aug 19 at 14:51
  • The thing that I am worried about is this question - "Have you ever been refused a visa by any country?" I was only applying to get my PR card/i-card renewed and in the process, I lost my PR visa/status. I don't know if this would count as visa refusal? Sorry, am I just overthinking this? I guess what happened to me before was traumatizing and even just answering a question as simple as this but one that could get me banned for 5 years if answered incorrectly really scares me. :(
    – Maya
    Aug 19 at 14:55
  • Also, does Canada even share immigration information with a country like the Philippines? I know they have access to immigration records from countries like New Zealand, USA, Australia, and the UK (the Five Eyes), but if they don't share anything with the Philippines then I feel I might just be digging myself a hole
    – Maya
    Aug 19 at 14:59
0

The safest is to take these questions absolutely literally. Did you ever ask Canada, The Philippines, Italy, Germany or any other country for a visa and it was refused, then you should answer “yes” with an explanation obviously why this shouldn’t count against you.

Have you ever been denied entry? Have you ever arrived at an airport and been told to fly back? That’s “entry denied”. Did you call an embassy and enquired whether you can get a visa, or travel to a country without visa? If they say “no, we would most likely not give you a visa if you applied”, that’s not “denied a visa”, and being told “you’d be returned home if you tried entering” is not being denied entry.

So answer the questions absolutely literally, and truthfully.

-2

If you want to one day apply to remain in Canada permanently when your studies are done you will have to answer a much more detailed set of questions about this and affirm them in an in-person interview with someone who is trained to notice if you are nervous because you think you're lying. Trying to hide this now if you will have to explain it later in order to be truthful during the more rigorous/intrusive Canadian PR process is likely to cause more anxiety and potential real consequences.

In the experience of this one stranger on the internet: Writing something like "On X date I was refused Y visa because my application did not include the required supporting documents and evidence. I appealed the decision and submitted the required evidence to support my status. As a result I was granted Y visa on Z date." should not adversely affect you.

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    See, the thing is, I was technically not trying to apply for a visa. I already held a permanent resident visa and was just trying to get my PR card renewed. I didn't realize that it would lead to all these issues. I'm just worried if I say that my visa was refused (even though I never applied for it), they might get confused and question whether I was even a PR from the time I was born. I don't think people lose their PR status unless they do something super illegal, and I really don't want them to think that that was the reason I lost mine. :(
    – Maya
    Aug 19 at 17:12
  • Nothing about what happened to you will make you ineligible to enter or remain in Canada. Giving inconsistent information over time on Canadian documents can affect your eligibility to enter or remain in Canada. Having a Canadian officer decide you're untrustworthy because you're nervous and shifty when answering questions about this can affect your eligibility to enter or remain in Canada. In the absence of a Professional expert on the specifics of how Canada interprets Phillippine documents and statuses I don't know what else we can tell you.
    – Affe
    Aug 19 at 17:18
  • I actually don't think Canada does interviews for those who want to apply for permanent residency. It's all done online. My cousin who got her PR didn't have one. I also won't get interviewed for my student visa. Unlike the US, we just need to write a statement of purpose explaining our background and reasons for choosing Canada. That's actually another thing I am worried about. If I answer "yes" here, I'll have to answer yes for life, no matter which country I go to, so I don't know how other countries would take it. I just don't want my life to be unnecessarily more difficult, you know? :/
    – Maya
    Aug 19 at 17:25
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    -1 OP was never denied anything. A change in visa status is not a denial. And there’s no interviews for the PR in Canada - you’re confusing it with the Green Card in the US.
    – JonathanReez
    Aug 19 at 18:01
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    I agree with Jonathan here, you're simply overthinking it. It would be different if they had issued you a (new) PR status as of some date, and where you were out of status for some amount of time before then, but as you say they've re-authorized you as native-born, your status is PR from the day you were born, so in effect, there ends up being no break in status any longer. And you never applied for a visa to have it denied. They thought they needed to change your status, you supplied your proof, and they reinstated your original native-born status.
    – CGCampbell
    Aug 20 at 14:43

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