NOTE: As of December 2016, the forms for spousal sponsorship are changing. This wiki page will be out of date.
The wiki for the new pack can be found here: http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Spousal_Sponsorship-Canada/FAQ_-_New_Application_Forms
This article focuses on frequently asked questions, specifically pertaining to Outland sponsorship applications. The first section addresses general questions with the application, and later sections are broken down by application form.
In this section, referrals to the Sponsor mean the Canadian Citizen or Canadian PR who will be sponsoring their non-Canadian partner.
The Applicant refers to the non-Canadian who is being sponsored by the Sponsor.
For general information about Spousal Sponsorship, including pros and cons for applying inland versus outland, please read this article: http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Spousal_Sponsorship-Canada
Family Class forms for outland applications can be found here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/fc.asp
The majority of this article will assume that the Applicant is British; if you are not British and are reading this, then you should be able to substitute the equivalent document or information for your own country. (For example, there's a reference to the P60 form, which is a UK statement of earnings form; substitute the equivalent for your own country.)
The Table of Contents below is split into four main sections:
- Section 1: General Questions
- Section 2: Forms for the Sponsor
- Section 3: Forms for the Applicant
- Section 4: What happens after you apply
Within each section, the questions are broken down by form, to make it easier for you to find an answer for a particular question on a particular form.
- 1 FAQs with the General Application
- 1.1 I am the applicant, and I am living in Canada. Can I still apply outland?
- 1.2 What parts of the application get sent where and when?
- 1.3 How long will it take?
- 1.4 Which office will process my outland application?
- 1.5 What's going on with the Mississauga/Ottawa/London situation for British outland applicants?
- 1.6 Can I pick which office my application goes to? Ottawa is so much faster!
- 1.7 How does CIC decide which applications go to which office?
- 1.8 Do I need to pay the Right of Permanent Residence fee up front?
- 1.9 I have a child who is Canadian. Do they need to be included on my application form?
- 1.10 I am the Sponsor, and I don't work. Can I still sponsor my partner?
- 1.11 Is there any minimum income requirement to sponsor?
- 1.12 How should I organise my application?
- 1.13 We are applying as Common-Law partners, but we are living separately. What are the implications of this?
- 1.14 We are thinking about getting married so that we can apply for sponsorship faster, but doesn't this mean we are getting married for the purposes of immigration?
- 1.15 Do I have to have my photocopies notarized?
- 1.16 Which fees do I pay?
- 1.17 I want to move to Quebec. What changes with the process?
- 1.18 For some questions, I'll have to include extra information on a separate sheet of paper. How do I go about doing this?
- 2 Part 1: Sponsorship Forms
- 2.1 Document Checklist (IMM 5491) - Forms
- 2.2 Document Checklist (IMM 5491) - Supporting Documents
- 2.3 Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking (IMM 1344)
- 2.4 Sponsorship Evaluation (IMM 5481)
- 2.4.1 The Checklist says to include either the Sponsorship Evaluation (IMM 5481), or the Financial Evaluation (IMM 1283). How do I know which to include?
- 2.4.2 Question 3: My net personal income is not in CAD. What do I do?
- 2.4.3 Questions 5&6: My partner has a dependent child who is not being included on the sponsorship application. Where do I put them?
- 2.5 Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (IMM 5409)
- 2.6 Sponsor Questionnaire (IMM 5540)
- 2.6.1 Question 4: I've never known my biological father, and his name isn't on my birth certificate. What do I do?
- 2.6.2 Question 7: My previous employers were outside of Canada. What do I put for my income?
- 2.6.3 Question 8: I have no idea the addresses or phone numbers where I lived in the past, or the phone number no longer exists. What do I put?
- 2.6.4 Question 8: I don't remember the exact dates I moved in and out of my previous residences. What do I put?
- 2.6.5 Question 8: How do I indicate that I'm still at my current address?
- 2.6.6 Question 11: I live overseas and I'm not yet sure when I'm planning to return to Canada. What do I put?
- 2.6.7 Question 11: I only have a plan to move back to Canada, but nothing concrete to prove it. What do I put?
- 2.6.8 Question 14: What if I don't remember the exact dates when my friends and family met my partner?
- 2.6.9 Question 14: Who do I include in this section?
- 2.6.10 Question 15: My children are Canadian. Do I include them here?
- 2.7 Use of a Representative (IMM 5476)
- 3 Part 2: Immigration Forms
- 3.1 Appendix A: Document Checklist - Immigrant (found in IMM 3901)
- 3.1.1 There are multiple references to 'including proof of a common-law relationship'. What does this mean?
- 3.1.2 Do I have to include the proof in every section? That's a lot of work!
- 3.1.3 Item 10: How on earth do I organise my photos?
- 3.1.4 Item 10: How many photos should I include?
- 3.1.5 Item 10: What are the statutory declarations for common-law couples that I have to provide?
- 3.1.6 Item 11: How do I get a police certificate from a country where I lived?
- 3.1.7 Item 11: Some countries take a long time to get police certificates. What should I do?
- 3.1.8 Item 12: Do I really have to do my medical before I apply?
- 3.1.9 Item 12: I have x condition/diagnosis/whatever. Can I still be sponsored?
- 3.1.10 Item 13: Can I go to a UK passport photo booth to get my photos done?
- 3.1.11 Do I have to submit IMM 5662, the Your Travels document?
- 3.2 Generic Application Form for Canada (IMM 0008)
- 3.2.1 Application Details, Question 6: I'm not planning on living in Quebec or applying for CSQ. What do I do here?
- 3.2.2 Personal Details, Question 2: nicknames - which nicknames or aliases do I include?
- 3.2.3 Personal Details, Question 3: What is a UCI? Do I have one?
- 3.2.4 Personal Details, Question 10: I am in Canada on a work permit (IEC, TWP, etc). What is my status?
- 3.2.5 Personal Details, Question 13: When did I enter into my common-law relationship?
- 3.2.6 Contact Information, Questions 1&2: I currently live in Canada, but I am applying outland. Do I put my Canadian address?
- 3.2.7 Contact Information, Questions 1&2: I am currently in Canada as a visitor. What address do I put?
- 3.3 Additional Dependants/Declaration (IMM 0008DEP)
- 3.4 Schedule A – Background/Declaration (IMM 5669)
- 3.4.1 Question 4: I don't know who my biological father is. What do I do?
- 3.4.2 Question 8: Personal History - how far back do I have to go?
- 3.4.3 Question 8: Personal History - How detailed do I need to be?
- 3.4.4 Question 8: Personal History - How do I indicate that I'm still at my current job?
- 3.4.5 Question 12: Addresses - I can't remember all of my addresses. What do I do?
- 3.5 Additional Family Information (IMM 5406)
- 3.6 Sponsored Spouse/Partner Questionnaire (IMM 5490)
- 3.6.1 Question 9: How detailed do I have to be about how our relationship developed?
- 3.6.2 Question 11: I don't remember the exact dates. What do I do?
- 3.6.3 Question 14: We didn't have a formal ceremony to celebrate our engagement. Will this hurt our application?
- 3.6.4 Questions 22&23: We didn't have any formal celebration to celebrate our relationship, and we are not married. Will this hurt our application?
- 3.6.5 Questions 24&25: My sponsor and I lived close to each other, and visited often. I don't know all the dates! What do I put?
- 3.6.6 Questions 24&25: My sponsor and I live together, so we communicate in person. How do I write that?
- 3.6.7 Question 27: My sponsor and I are currently living together, so what do I write?
- 3.7 Use of a Representative (IMM 5476)
- 3.1 Appendix A: Document Checklist - Immigrant (found in IMM 3901)
- 4 What happens after I apply?
- 4.1 While your application is in process
- 4.1.1 How should I send my application?
- 4.1.2 Will CIC confirm if my application has made it there?
- 4.1.3 What will I hear from CIC?
- 4.1.4 How do I know which office will be processing Stage 2 of my application?
- 4.1.5 When should I contact CIC if I have not yet received sponsor approval?
- 4.1.6 My medicals are going to expire. Should I contact CIC?
- 4.1.7 CIC is asking me for new photos. Why?
- 4.1.8 Can I wait in Canada as a visitor while my application is being processed?
- 4.1.9 What's this I have read about case notes? What are they?
- 4.1.10 How do I order case notes? Should I even bother?
- 4.2 All About eCAS
- 4.2.1 When can I log into eCAS to see my application status?
- 4.2.2 eCAS isn't letting me log in. Why not?
- 4.2.3 I'm the sponsor, and I'm seeing two sections when I log into eCAS. What's going on?
- 4.2.4 I'm the principal applicant, and I can only see one section. What's going on?
- 4.2.5 What are the various statuses of eCAS?
- 4.2.6 eCAS hasn't changed from Application Received or Medicals Received in months! Does this mean they aren't looking at my application?
- 4.3 All about MyCIC
- 4.4 Getting the final Decision Made and the COPR document
- 4.4.1 eCAS has changed to Decision Made / MyCIC shows a Decision Made of 'Application approved'... what does this mean?
- 4.4.2 When will I hear about the decision?
- 4.4.3 How will CIC contact me?
- 4.4.4 OMG! Have to wait for something in the post?! Is there any other way?
- 4.4.5 What will I receive in the post?
- 4.4.6 How long will I have to land?
- 4.4.7 My COPR says that it's not valid for travel... what does this mean?
- 4.4.8 My COPR says that I have to be able to provide proof of funds, if required. I thought family class didn't have any fund requirement!
- 4.4.9 There's a mistake on my COPR. What do I do?
- 4.4.10 The CoPR covering letter mentions form IMM 5785, but it was not attached. Do I need one?
- 4.5 Landing
- 4.6 Contacting CIC
- 4.1 While your application is in process
FAQs with the General Application
I am the applicant, and I am living in Canada. Can I still apply outland?
Yes. You can still provide your Canadian address, and fill out the outland forms. For nearly all Brits living in Canada, this means their application will be processed in London.
Read the Spousal Sponsorship article linked above to understand the pros and cons of applying outland while living within Canada. The biggest consideration is that if you are called for an interview, the interview may take place in London, and often with only a few weeks' notice. However, the vast majority of applicants are not called for an interview, and more recently, applicants have been able to do their interviews within Canada at their nearest CIC office, despite applying outland. Still, it is a risk to be aware of.
What parts of the application get sent where and when?
Fill out the entire application, both sections (i.e., the sponsor section and the sponsored person section), and send the whole giant application off to Mississauga. The address to send it to is found on CIC's website, here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/guides/3900ETOC.asp#3900E6 (Note the different addresses for if you are sending your application by normal mail as opposed to via a courier. It is highly recommended that you send your application via signed and tracked courier, tracked all the way to Mississauga, as the signature upon receipt is the only real confirmation you will get that your application actually arrived successfully. Read more here: http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Spousal_Sponsorship-Canada/FAQ#While_your_application_is_in_process)
How long will it take?
The application process is broken into two stages: The first stage is the approval of the Sponsor, and the second stage is the approval of the Applicant. CIC posts their estimated processing times for each stage here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/EnGLIsh/information/times/perm-fc.asp The total time to process is the combination of the two processing times.
As of March 2016, the advertised processing time for Stage 1 is 62 days (~2 months) for sponsor approval. This quote is usually pretty accurate, generally within a week or two. CIC's website also says that they are processing applications received on x date. Allow a two-week window; once 14 days have passed, send CIC a case-specific enquiry through their website if you still haven't heard.
For Stage 2, the current processing time is longer. In February 2015, London increased their estimated processing time from 11 months to 29 months. This change is the result of overflow applications being sent to London from Islamabad, where the processing time is around 36 months. As one might expect, applications that go through Islamabad tend to be more complicated; background checks are more complex and take much longer, there is a much higher rate of fraud (both in terms of relationships and fraudulent documents being provided), and so on. The London office still faces these complications, and as such, London's advertised processing time has increased accordingly.
As of March2016 the stage 2 processing time is 17 months.
However, 'standard' applications (that is, applications that would normally have gone through London anyway - British, Irish, Swedish, etc) appear to be taking the same average of 10ish months total processing time, providing the application is straight-forward (see below). It is reasonable to say that the processing time of 17 months does NOT apply to straight-forward applications.
The majority of applicants who come to BE have "straight-forward" applications - no criminal records, no messy divorces and remarriages, no previous sponsorship undertakings, and so on - generally, "easy" circumstances. A spreadsheet is maintained that tracks processing time for these straight-forward applications: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1kYJ0Xo_jHLeArkCVeicZyqIE8YLpnZqVJlFrnpmKMx0/edit#gid=396125530 (Details on how to be added to the spreadsheet can be found right on the spreadsheet.) As of March 2016, average processing time for straight-forward applications is about 10 months.
Which office will process my outland application?
CIC will select which outland office will process your application. Generally speaking, the office selected will be based on your country of citizenship, according to this site from CIC: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/offices/apply-where.asp British applicants will most often be processed in London; London also processes applications for Irish, Swedish, and Danish citizens, among others.
Occasionally, CIC will select the processing country based on the applicant's country of residency; an Australian living in Edinburgh may be processed in London... or they may be processed in Sydney, Australia, depending on what CIC chooses.
You cannot specify which office you would like to process your application, CIC will decide. You will find out which office is processing your application when you receive sponsor approval; the address of the office that has your application will be listed on the approval email or letter.
What's going on with the Mississauga/Ottawa/London situation for British outland applicants?
In 2014, applicants applying via Islamabad found their applications were being forwarded directly to London instead of to Islamabad after sponsor approval. In addition, a number of applicants from late 2013 and early 2014 were informed that their applications were transferred from Islamabad to London. This was done to help alleviate the mass backlog experienced in Islamabad (~33 months processing time).
In order to help manage the workload in London, a number of British applicants found their applications were being either held for processing in Mississauga, or sent to Ottawa, instead of being forwarded to London, as expected, and some applications were still forwarded to London. There does not seem to be any obvious rhyme or reason on which office CIC selects between the three to process applications. The spreadsheet linked above tracks processing times across the three different offices.
It is not known how long this office variation will last, but as of March 2015, applications are still being sent to various offices.
As of the middle of March 2015 applications are no longer kept in Mississauga for stage 2 processing. Stage 2 processing of your application will be carried out in London or Ottawa.
Can I pick which office my application goes to? Ottawa is so much faster!
No, you can't pick. The decision is up to CIC. As of the middle of March 2015 applications are no longer kept in Mississauga for stage 2 processing. There is no obvious pattern to tell why some applications are sent to Ottawa and others are sent to London. At this point it appears to just be luck of the draw. (We suspect it has to do with work loads in a given office at the point the file is transferred, but that's just a guess.)
How does CIC decide which applications go to which office?
We don't know. There doesn't seem to be any obvious pattern to which applications are sent to London and which are sent to Ottawa. As of the middle of March 2015 no applications are kept in Mississauga for stage 2 processing.
Do I need to pay the Right of Permanent Residence fee up front?
Officially, no. Recommended, yes.
You do not have to pay the full RPRF up front, however, it will delay your application if you do not.
If you choose not to pay up front, CIC will have to request the payment from you, you have to receive it, you have to make the payment, you have to send CIC proof of payment, they have to receive the payment, and they have to match it up with your application. All of this takes time. If you are able to pay the full RPRF up front, then do so.
I have a child who is Canadian. Do they need to be included on my application form?
No. Canadian children do not need to be sponsored, and should not be included on your application. This article from CIC helps determine whether your child is already Canadian: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?q=365&t=5
It is strongly recommended you get your child's Canadian paperwork in order (citizenship certificate, passport) before you move to Canada.
Non-Canadian children DO need to be included on your application.
I am the Sponsor, and I don't work. Can I still sponsor my partner?
Yes. There is no minimum income requirement for a Canadian Citizen or PR to sponsor their non-Canadian spouse. It does not matter if the Sponsor is unemployed, a stay-at-home parent, or works a low-income job. The only requirement to sponsor is that the Sponsor is not receiving government assistance (with the exception of disability payments). Note that government assistance does NOT refer to employment insurance, that is a completely different thing. Government assistance refers to programs like welfare - housing assistance, food stamps, and so on.
Is there any minimum income requirement to sponsor?
Generally no, with one exception.
As per the guide, the only people who must meet a minimum income are those who have dependent children who have dependent children of their own.
How should I organise my application?
There's no right or wrong way to organise your application, as long as it's clear.
As per CIC's instructions, do not use staples, large paperclips (like accountants' clips or alligator clips), or anything else bulky or manual. You are fine to use things like binder dividers, though. Note that paperclips can be used to secure photos to paper, but use them sparingly. This is what CIC says about what to use and not use:
"Do not use staples, binders, plastic sleeves, folders or albums to submit your application. Elastic bands for photos or paper clips are acceptable." (From Step 5 http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/guides/5525ETOC.asp)
Two examples of a table of contents used can be found below:
We are applying as Common-Law partners, but we are living separately. What are the implications of this?
This is honestly a bit of a grey area.
In the qualifying period (that is, the first 12 months), CIC is very strict about the partners living together and not being apart at all. While there are allowances for short trips for business, or a "boys' weekend" away, the longer the separation, the riskier it is. There have been cases where one partner went on holiday for two weeks without the other partner, and that was deemed to break cohabitation. The rule of thumb is absolutely make all efforts to minimize time apart in the first 12 months.
After the period of common-law has been established, CIC is generally a bit more lenient. The handbook states that partners can be apart and still be considered common-law as long as a conjugal relationship still exists, but again, it's risky. There have been some cases of partners who lived together for awhile but then were forced to live apart, usually because of visa or money concerns, and who have still had their applications approved. However, there have also been one or two cases where the applicant has had their application rejected because they were living apart from their sponsor, even after the original 12-month qualifying period.
So the risk is yours to take, but it is generally best to try to minimize the amount of time apart and not to invite the question.
We are thinking about getting married so that we can apply for sponsorship faster, but doesn't this mean we are getting married for the purposes of immigration?
If your plan would have been to get married anyway, but you have been together for ages and marriage is a way that you can stay together, then CIC does not consider this "getting married for the purposes of immigration."
CIC would view a marriage for immigration purposes as a relationship that was entered into primarily for the purpose of receiving some sort of immigration status.
If the two people are in a legitimate and genuine relationship but are either unable to meet the requirements for common-law, or would prefer not to wait the requisite 12 months for whatever reason (commonly financial ones!) then getting married in order to apply for sponsorship sooner is extremely unlikely to cause a problem.
Do I have to have my photocopies notarized?
No. The document checklist states to send photocopies of documents unless otherwise specified, and that the documents must be in either English or French. As long as your documents meet the language requirements, photocopies are fine. If CIC wants a photocopy notarized, it will either be specified as such on the checklist, or it they will separately contact you to request it.
If your document is NOT in English or French, you still need to provide a certified translation.
Which fees do I pay?
For a Canadian sponsor sponsoring their partner and no one else:
- 1) Application fee of $75
- 2) Principal applicant fee of $475
- 3) Right of Permanent Residence fee of $490
The total fee is $1040.
You do NOT pay the $550 for a spouse or common-law partner, because the spouse or common-law partner is already Canadian. You would only pay this in a situation where the partner was not Canadian and was being sponsored.
If the principal applicant has accompanying dependants who are not Canadian, then add those fees onto the above as appropriate.
Fees are paid online on CIC's website here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/fees/result.asp?countrySelect=GB&lob=fc
Fees can be paid online with a credit card. The credit card can belong to either the sponsor or the principal applicant, it doesn't matter.
Print out the receipt and include it with your application. If you plan on entering Canada later under Dual Intent (http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Spousal_Sponsorship-Canada#Can_I_wait_in_Canada_while_my_application_is_being_processed:_Dual_Intent), keep an extra copy of this receipt for that entry.
I want to move to Quebec. What changes with the process?
Almost nothing, just a bit of extra paperwork and fees for you to deal with.
Fill out the application forms as you would normally. Send your whole application to Mississauga, as per the instructions.
CIC will get in touch with you and will provide you with a PDF form that you use to request for CSQ (selection certificate) from MIDI, in Quebec.
Print out the PDF and fill out the CSQ forms on MIDI's website, and pay the fee. Send the checklist and all appropriate documents, including the letter from CIC requesting CSQ, to the appropriate address.
For some questions, I'll have to include extra information on a separate sheet of paper. How do I go about doing this?
For any questions where you need more space and include extra paper, at the top of each sheet, include the following:
- The sponsor's full name and date of birth
- The applicant's full name and date of birth
- The form number to which the extra paper corresponds
- The question number to which the extra paper corresponds
If the sponsor or the applicant has an existing UCI, that should also be included.
The paper should be placed in your application package immediately after the form to which it corresponds.
If one piece of paper has extra information for, say, three separate questions on the same form, then all questions can be included on the same piece of paper. However, don't combine questions from multiple forms on the same sheet.
Part 1: Sponsorship Forms
The Sponsorship Guide (IMM 3900), is your friend. It can be found here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/guides/3900ETOC.asp This guide answers many questions on how to fill out specific questions. Please read it before posting a new question on the forum.
The forms listed in this section must be filled out by the Sponsor and the Sponsor only.
Document Checklist (IMM 5491) - Forms
Not all forms on the checklist are applicable to me. Do I still have to include them?
Not necessarily. As long as it's clear that you have not included the form, as opposed to just omitted it, then it's fine. You can indicate this by either writing "N/A" on the checklist, or by printing out the form and including it, but writing "N/A" on the form itself. As long as it's clear that you have indicated that the form is not applicable, either option is fine. This most often applies to Use of a Representative (IMM 5476), Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (IMM 5409), Additional Dependents / Declaration (IMM 0008DEP), and Items 14, 15, 16, and 19 in the Supporting Documents.
Document Checklist (IMM 5491) - Supporting Documents
Item 17: Option C Printout - I don't have one, as I have not worked in Canada. What do I do?
If you did not work in Canada in the past year, you cannot provide an Option C printout. The guide says to provide an explanation on a separate sheet of paper if you do not provide the printout.
It is recommended that you provide a copy of your P60, or other tax returns to the UK that show your income. On the separate paper, say that you left Canada in x year, and have lived in x country since x date (or countries, if multiples). You can also include the date of the last Canadian tax return you filed.
Item 18: Proof of Employment and/or Proof of Income - I don't work. What do I do here?
If you do not work, whether you are between jobs or a stay-at-home parent, then write a letter explaining this. it is fine if you rely on your partner for income.
If you were previously employed, include your most recent pay stubs, and include that you are currently looking for work. Indicate whether you are currently receiving employment insurance or job seeker's allowance. It would also be a good idea to include things like your savings account statements.
Item 20: Proof of intent to return - how do I prove I want to move back to Canada?
If you are already living in Canada, then write N/A on this option.
If you live outside of Canada, you have to prove your intent to return. If you have started planning your move, then include details of that. This may include things like contacting real estate agents, recruiters, booking flights, signing a lease, and so on.
However, a large number of couples who are living outside of Canada do not want to move back until their non-Canadian partner has PR, so that they can more easily apply for jobs. If this applies to you, then just include a detailed 'game plan' of how you want to move back. This may include details of recce trips, consulting/recruiting companies you have been in touch with, areas you may want to live, research of your job market, and so on.
CIC wants to know that you have a game plan for when you move back. Where are you going to live? Where are you planning to work? And so on. If you are staying with family members or friends when you move back, it is helpful to get them to write a supporting letter stating that.
This thread has an example that may be helpful: http://britishexpats.com/forum/immigration-citizenship-canada-33/sponsor-question-form-imm5540e-849925/
NB: It is common to receive a request from CIC after you have applied for additional proof of your intention to move to Canada. If you get this request, just elaborate on what you provided when you originally applied, including any updated plans you have.
These are covered in the Applicant's section, below. Be sure to check off these items on this checklist, though.
Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking (IMM 1344)
Sponsor Personal Details, Question 2: Nicknames, maiden name, alias, etc - What names do I include?
Only include names that you actually use in your everyday life. Obviously, include any legal names you have had, which would include your maiden name if you changed your name after you got married.
If you use a nickname and are known widely by that nickname (for example, Christopher going by Chris, or Nicole going by Niki), then include that. However, if you have a family nickname that only your parents or your other half calls you, you do not need to include that.
If you go by your middle name socially (for example, David George Smith, but you use George Smith or D. George Smith) then include that.
If you have another passport or citizenship where your name differs on that document (for example, a Chinese name), then include that.
Sponsor Personal Details, Question 8: What date do I use for when I entered into the common-law relationship?
As per CIC's instructions found here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/guides/3900ETOC.asp (scroll down to the part for IMM 1344)
Enter the date (year, month, day) you were married or you entered into your current common-law relationship. Note: This is the date your status officially changed from being single to common-law, not the date you started living together.
So if you started dating on 30 November 2008, and moved in together on 22 March 2010, then you would put 22 March 2011 on the form, as that is the date you were officially in a common-law relationship - i.e., that is the date on which you have been living together for one full and unbroken year.
Cosigner information... do I have a cosigner?
In general, Canadians sponsoring their partners do not have cosigners. Generally, cosigners are only considered if two people are sponsoring parents or a non-Canadian child.
This section can be left blank, or just hand-write in "N/A".
Sponsorship Evaluation (IMM 5481)
The Checklist says to include either the Sponsorship Evaluation (IMM 5481), or the Financial Evaluation (IMM 1283). How do I know which to include?
As per the instructions in the guide: You must not use this form (IMM 5481) if you or your spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner has a dependent child who has child of his own. You must complete a Financial Evaluation (IMM 1283).
So use IMM 5481 UNLESS you have a dependent child who has a dependent child of their own. (For example, if your 16 year old daughter has a newborn, then you complete IMM 1283. If your 30 year old daughter has a newborn, then you complete IMM 5481 - your 30 year old daughter is not your dependent child.)
Question 3: My net personal income is not in CAD. What do I do?
In the box, write in your income in CAD using the current exchange rate. On a separate piece of paper, write out the calculation - your income in the foreign currency, and the exchange rate you used to arrive at your CAD equivalent.
Questions 5&6: My partner has a dependent child who is not being included on the sponsorship application. Where do I put them?
If the child is not being included in the sponsorship application, then they go in Question 6.
Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (IMM 5409)
I am sponsoring my common-law partner. Do I need to include this form?
No. This form is only for situations where two people who are common-law partners are sponsoring a third person (parent, child, etc). If you are sponsoring your common-law partner, this form does not apply to you and does not need to be included in your application. As said above, be sure to indicate clearly that it is not applicable.
Some applicants have been asked for this form by CIC at a later date, but the vast majority of applicants are not.
Sponsor Questionnaire (IMM 5540)
Question 4: I've never known my biological father, and his name isn't on my birth certificate. What do I do?
Write "unknown" on the form, and on a separate paper, include details. Refer to your birth certificate not having the name of your father printed on it.
Question 7: My previous employers were outside of Canada. What do I put for my income?
As above, write the CAD equivalent of your income on the form. On a separate sheet, include the income in the original currency, and the exchange rate you used to do your calculation.
Question 8: I have no idea the addresses or phone numbers where I lived in the past, or the phone number no longer exists. What do I put?
Just write in as much as you can remember. Use Google Street View to help you out. If you really don't remember, write as much as you can remember on a separate sheet.
If the phone number no longer exists then use it anyway. If you did not have a landline, then write "No home phone number" or similar, and include on a separate paper that you did not have a landline, you just used your cell/mobile. Include the number if you remember it.
Question 8: I don't remember the exact dates I moved in and out of my previous residences. What do I put?
Just make an approximation, and include on a separate sheet that you don't remember the exact date, but you know you moved in June, or in the summer, etc.
Question 8: How do I indicate that I'm still at my current address?
Two options here.
Option 1: Write in the current date when you fill in the form, and include a separate piece of paper to explain that you are currently still living at x address.
Option 2: After you have printed out the form, hand-write in "PRESENT" or "CURRENT" in the 'to' field. Generally speaking, this is the easier and less complicated option.
Question 11: I live overseas and I'm not yet sure when I'm planning to return to Canada. What do I put?
Again, make a guess, and explain your plan on a separate sheet of paper.
Question 11: I only have a plan to move back to Canada, but nothing concrete to prove it. What do I put?
See Item 20 in the Checklist questions above.
Question 14: What if I don't remember the exact dates when my friends and family met my partner?
As before, make a best guess. Just including the month and year is fine if you don't know the exact date.
Question 14: Who do I include in this section?
Pick the most important people in your life - parents, extended family, very close friends, clergy, etc. Don't worry about acquaintances and such. You can also group friends together if they met multiples at once.
Question 15: My children are Canadian. Do I include them here?
Yes. This question is just understanding your family makeup, NOT outlining who you will be sponsoring. All children, whether or not they are Canadian and whether or not you are sponsoring them, are included in this section.
If you have stepchildren, whether or not they are Canadian and whether or not you are sponsoring them, including them here as well. However, if your significant other that you are sponsoring has children of their own and you are not married (and therefore not a stepparent) then they are NOT included here.
Use of a Representative (IMM 5476)
Do I have to include this form?
Only use this form if you are using a representative to file on your behalf. Most often, this means your immigration consultant or lawyer.
If you are not using a representative, and you are filing on your own, then do not include this form, just make it clear that it is not applicable, and not omitted.
Part 2: Immigration Forms
The forms listed in this section must be filled out by the Applicant and the Applicant only.
Read The Immigrant's Guide (IMM 3999) - http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/guides/3999Etoc.asp. This will help you out. Be sure to also find the country-specific instructions for your country: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/fc.asp#region
This section will focus on the Western Europe guide (IMM 3901), the guides that British citizens use.
Appendix A: Document Checklist - Immigrant (found in IMM 3901)
There are multiple references to 'including proof of a common-law relationship'. What does this mean?
Applying as common-law partners means that you are applying as if you were a married couple, just without the marriage certificate. CIC will want to see proof that this is the case. Read this section of the main Spousal Sponsorship wiki article for examples: http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Spousal_Sponsorship-Canada#Scrutiny
In addition to proof that your relationship is marriage-like on paper, CIC also wants to see the 'mushier' and 'genuine' side of your relationship. This refers to things like evidence of trips together, photos together, gifts given to each other, letters written to each other, evidence of regular communication, and so on.
It's easy to go totally overboard with the 'mushier' stuff. Don't. If you submit an application with 1000 pages of evidence, it will be returned to you, because no CIC officer is going to sift through that volume of paperwork. Use your judgement for how much you need to include to get your point across. For example, if you are including photos from a trip, then just pick 1-2 photos of you on that trip that's obvious you are in a foreign location. More than that is just superfluous and doesn't contribute further to proving you were on that trip. If you include your phone bills, then including one bill every 3-4 months and highlighting the calls and texts that are between you two gets the point across that you have regular communication - it's highly unlikely you didn't speak at all for 3 months in between. Be sensible and use your judgement. Provide enough to make your point clear beyond doubt, but don't go overboard.
Do I have to include the proof in every section? That's a lot of work!
No. If you provide a table of contents, as referred to at the top of this article, then you can just write "For evidence of our common-law relationship, please refer to Section x included with our application."
Item 10: How on earth do I organise my photos?
The easiest way to organise your photos is to scan them, or use the digital files. Put them into something like MS Word, 3-4 to a page, and then you can type captions above or below each photos with a brief caption. If you do choose to include individual photos, ensure they are loose, or glue or tape them to a letter or A4 page. Do not staple them, put them into plastic sleeves, or anything like that.
Item 10: How many photos should I include?
The new spousal sponsorship pack (introduced 15th December 2016) now specifies a maximum of 20 photographs. Your photos should tell the story of your relationship - think of it as a photo essay of sorts. You don't need to provide 10 photos of the same thing when 1-3 photos gets the point across. Pick your photos carefully - pick some of just the two of you, but also pick photos that show friends and family. Photos from trips should be obvious that you are in the place you claim to be (e.g., if you include photos from a trip to Paris, chuck one in with the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame, etc). Mix it up between posed pictures and candid pictures. Quality is more important than quantity in this one. You should aim to chronicle your relationship over however many years.
Item 10: What are the statutory declarations for common-law couples that I have to provide?
If you are applying as common-law, you must provide declarations of your common-law relationship by friends and family members, and a minimum of two must be notarized. While some BE members have been successful in their applications without having these declarations notarized, it is strongly recommended that you do have a minimum of two notarized when you send in your application to avoid your application being returned for being incomplete. Notaries in the UK can only charge £5 per copy, so it is not a big expense. Notaries in Canada more commonly charge $50 or $60 for a copy. However, this is a smaller cost than having the application returned and/or rejected, so it is strongly recommended you ensure at least two declarations are notarized. There is no specific template that must be used, but an example of a declaration that has been used by a BE member can be found here: http://britishexpats.com/forum/immigration-citizenship-canada-33/spousal-west-europe-information-guides-737129/#post9705980
Item 11: How do I get a police certificate from a country where I lived?
CIC's website has instructions on how to get a police certificate from each country here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/English/information/security/police-cert/index.asp
Item 11: Some countries take a long time to get police certificates. What should I do?
CIC has recently loosened up their rules around police check validity. Refer to this page: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/security/police-cert/intro.asp
Here is the important part:
- For the country you currently live in, the police certificate must be issued no more than six months before you apply.
- For countries where you have lived for six months or more, the police certificate must be issued after the last time you lived in that country.
Some countries, though, take a long time to get their certificates. Find out the average processing times, and time your requests accordingly. Do not send off your application missing police certificates, you risk your application being returned incomplete. However, with the new flexible validity periods, you should not have any issue providing in-date police checks, even from countries whose checks take longer to arrive.
Item 12: Do I really have to do my medical before I apply?
Yes, that's why it's on the checklist. You must complete your medical before you apply. Immigration medicals are done by Designated Medical Practitioners (DMPs). CIC maintains a list here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/medical/index.asp
What you need to bring will vary by DMP, but usually it includes a current passport and some photos (though some DMPs do digital photos during your appointment). Double-check with the DMP when you make your appointment exactly what you need to bring with you.
The DMP will send an electronic copy of your medical results directly to CIC, and they will provide you with a receipt for you to include with your application as proof that you completed your medical.
If you send your application off without everything on the checklist, including your proof of medical, you risk your whole application being rejected.
Item 12: I have x condition/diagnosis/whatever. Can I still be sponsored?
Spouses cannot be rejected on medical grounds, unless they pose a thread to public safety and health. Your medical will screen for a few STIs and for TB. In about 99.99999% of cases, medical conditions or diagnoses are not a problem in family class applications.
Item 13: Can I go to a UK passport photo booth to get my photos done?
Previously, yes, but not anymore as there is a requirement to have the photos annotated with the photographer's name, address, and date the photo is taken. Unless a photo booth gives this information, you can't have it done there. In the UK, many places like Snappy Snaps and Timpsons do immigration photos, but be sure to take the photo specifications with you! Canada has many different routes for immigration and the photos vary depending on the route, so MAKE SURE your photographer is taking them to the right specifications!
Do I have to submit IMM 5662, the Your Travels document?
No. As per the checklist, Your Travels (IMM 5662) is only required if you are applying via Paris.
Generic Application Form for Canada (IMM 0008)
Application Details, Question 6: I'm not planning on living in Quebec or applying for CSQ. What do I do here?
If you aren't planning on living in Quebec and thus will not be applying for CSQ then leave this part of the form blank, it's not required.
Personal Details, Question 2: nicknames - which nicknames or aliases do I include?
See this question.
Personal Details, Question 3: What is a UCI? Do I have one?
Your UCI is your Unique Client Identifier. CIC will assign you one. If you have never had any dealings with CIC in the past, then leave it blank or write "N/A". If you have had dealings with CIC in the past (for example, an IEC or a TWP application), then you may already have a UCI. If you know it, include it.
Personal Details, Question 10: I am in Canada on a work permit (IEC, TWP, etc). What is my status?
You are a worker.
Personal Details, Question 13: When did I enter into my common-law relationship?
This is the date on which you became legally common-law partners, NOT the date you started dating, or the date you moved in together. For example, say you started dating your partner on 22 July 2012. You started living with your partner on 22 March 2013. You therefore became common-law partners on 22 March 2014.
Contact Information, Questions 1&2: I currently live in Canada, but I am applying outland. Do I put my Canadian address?
Contact Information, Questions 1&2: I am currently in Canada as a visitor. What address do I put?
Put your Canadian address for both addresses, and include a note explaining that you are currently in Canada as a visitor. (NB, we used to advise putting your Canadian address as your mailing address, and your overseas as your residential address, since your country of residency was your overseas country, but as of March 2016 a number of applicants have had their applications returned for putting overseas addresses, hence the change and the point to include a note stating you're in Canada as a visitor... you technically don't have a RESIDENTIAL address in Canada, because you aren't a RESIDENT, so including the note makes it clear you aren't living in Canada illegally. Just a CYA situation, really.)
Additional Dependants/Declaration (IMM 0008DEP)
Only include this form if you have additional dependants. If you don't, then clearly mark that the form is not applicable, as per previous guidance on this page.
Schedule A – Background/Declaration (IMM 5669)
Question 4: I don't know who my biological father is. What do I do?
See this question.
Question 8: Personal History - how far back do I have to go?
The form officially says to provide history since Age 18, or the past 10 years, whichever is the most recent. However, there have been many requests from the London office to provide history back to Age 18 regardless. Therefore we recommend providing the information since Age 18 regardless of your own age.
Question 8: Personal History - How detailed do I need to be?
As detailed as possible without being ridiculous about it. For example, if you spent 3 months travelling around Africa, you don't need to provide the dates on which you entered each country, just write the date you left and the date you returned. In Activity, write "Travelling", in City or Town and Country, either list the countries, or just write "various countries in Africa". Status is Visitor (presumably). On a separate page, you can write a paragraph saying that you travelled to x, y, and z countries over 3 months as a tourist.
Question 8: Personal History - How do I indicate that I'm still at my current job?
Two options here.
Option 1: Write in the current date when you fill in the form, and include a separate piece of paper to explain that you are currently still employed at x company.
Option 2: After you have printed out the form, hand-write in "PRESENT" or "CURRENT" in the 'to' field. Generally speaking, this is the easier and less complicated option.
Question 12: Addresses - I can't remember all of my addresses. What do I do?
See Question 8 above, ignoring the part about phone numbers.
Additional Family Information (IMM 5406)
Who needs to be included on this form?
All family members need to be included on this form regardless of whether or not they are accompanying you. The guide (IMM 3999) clearly states which family members need to be included on which sections of the form.
Section A: I don't know who my biological father is. What do I do?
See this question.
Section C: I have more than 4 siblings, step-siblings, and/or half-siblings. What do I do?
Copy the chart onto a separate sheet of paper, and fill in as many additional lines as required.
Sponsored Spouse/Partner Questionnaire (IMM 5490)
Question 9: How detailed do I have to be about how our relationship developed?
This should be your 'love story'. It should make it clear how your relationship developed, and should include major milestones in your relationship (without being X-rated!). Include things like when you first said I love you, when you moved in together, trips you took, when you met family members, and so on. You will definitely need a separate sheet to write out your story. Don't be surprised if it's a few pages long. Be honest.
Question 11: I don't remember the exact dates. What do I do?
Make a best guess. Just include the month if you don't know the exact date. Pick the five most important people in your life to include on the application.
Question 14: We didn't have a formal ceremony to celebrate our engagement. Will this hurt our application?
No. Some cultures have traditional engagement ceremonies, others do not. Just write that you did not have a formal celebration, and include a few lines on how you told your friends and family.
Questions 22&23: We didn't have any formal celebration to celebrate our relationship, and we are not married. Will this hurt our application?
No. It's not uncommon for couples, particularly western ones, to not have done this, so don't stress. It would also be fine to say that you are planning to get married in the future (if it's true!) and you will have your formal celebration of your relationship then.
Questions 24&25: My sponsor and I lived close to each other, and visited often. I don't know all the dates! What do I put?
Put exactly that. Explain that you lived in the same city (or whatever) when you started dating, or close to each other, and that you visited each other regularly, far too often to list specific dates. This question tends to be geared more towards couples who were in long-distance relationships.
Questions 24&25: My sponsor and I live together, so we communicate in person. How do I write that?
Write exactly that. You live together, so no visits are required.
Question 27: My sponsor and I are currently living together, so what do I write?
If you are typing in the dates, it won't let you type anything but numbers. Leave the "to" part blank, and after you print it out, hand-write in "PRESENT".
Use of a Representative (IMM 5476)
Do I have to include this form?
What happens after I apply?
While your application is in process
How should I send my application?
Three options: 1) Normal post, 2) Registered post using a national carrier, and 3) Courier service.
- Normal post: This is the cheapest option if money is tight. It will also take the longest, and you won't know for sure that your application made it to CIC as there's no tracking.
- Registered post using a national carrier: This is using something like Royal Mail or Canada Post. It's cheaper than a courier, but has its own drawbacks. Canada Post is known for being a bit slow, but if you are sending it from within Canada at least you have tracking. With Royal Mail, even if you send it tracked and signed for upon delivery, you can't track it once it's *in* Canada, but your online tracking will show when it arrived and who signed for it. Also worth noting that some parcels can get held in Canadian customs when sent through national carriers. It doesn't happen often but it's a risk.
- Courier service: This is something like DHL, UPS, FedEx, etc. They're they most expensive, but they offer the most 'service'. You'll get tracking the whole way if you are sending the package internationally, and generally these services have their own customs clearance facilities so packages tend not to get held up.
Note that there are different addresses to use if you are sending via normal post vs using registered post or a courier service. The addresses can be found here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/guides/3900ETOC.asp#3900E6
Will CIC confirm if my application has made it there?
Probably not. This is why it is HIGHLY recommended that you send your application to CPC-M as a signed and tracked package. You can use Royal Mail (signed and tracked all the way to delivery) or a courier service (DHL, UPS, FedEx, etc). This is the only way you will know for sure that your application arrived.
Edited to add, there is now a text service available for Family Applications (including Spousal Sponsorship) but it only confirms the mailroom has received the package: it doesn't confirm it's complete etc. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/sponsor/text-pilot.asp Please note, this has to be done prior to sending the application in!
What will I hear from CIC?
In most cases, the first you will hear from CIC is your sponsor approval. This correspondence is addressed to the sponsor. The correspondence will go to the sponsor's email address (if an email was provided), or else a letter through the post. The email/letter will say that the Canadian has been approved as a sponsor, and that the file has been sent to an office abroad for further processing.
Some people get an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) before sponsor approval. However, it seems to be very hit-and-miss who CIC sends an AOR to, so it's best to just expect not to hear anything, and then be pleasantly surprised if you do get AOR. But don't expect it. Chances are you won't hear anything. If you do receive AOR it's usually an email (assuming you provided an email address), and often isn't until a few weeks after your application arrived in Mississauga. Your AOR includes your UCI number which you can use to log into ECAS, but it often takes a few days for ECAS to update and for you to be appear on the system.
Note, be sure to regularly check your junk and spam folders as emails from CIC have been known to be filtered out by some email filters.
How do I know which office will be processing Stage 2 of my application?
The email/letter to the sponsor will have the address of the office that will be processing Stage 2 of your application. CIC can elect which office to send your application to, based on either the citizenship or residency of the primary applicant. For the majority of people on BE, this will be the London office. In 2014, CIC started holding applications and sending them to one of London, Mississauga, or Ottawa for processing. Again, the letter sent to the sponsor will include details of which office is processing the application.
As of the middle of March 2015 applications are no longer kept in Mississauga for stage 2 processing.
When should I contact CIC if I have not yet received sponsor approval?
CIC's website states the current processing time for sponsor approval. You can find it here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/EnGLIsh/information/times/perm-fc.asp It will say that they are working on applications received on x date. Once that date passes, you can contact CIC to inquire as to your application.
My medicals are going to expire. Should I contact CIC?
It doesn't hurt. When your medicals are about 4 weeks away from expiring, drop CIC an email and just flag it up. One of four things will probably happen:
- 1) You will not get a response. Don't sweat it.
- 2) CIC will ask you to get a new medical done.
- 3) CIC will choose to extend your medical validity. They'll usually let you know how long they've extended the results for.
- 4) If your application is nearing completion, CIC will ask if you can land by x date, and extend the medicals in line with that date.
CIC is asking me for new photos. Why?
In 2016 the photo specifications changed, so many 2014 and 2015 applicants are asked to send in new photos that comply with the new specifications. Make sure you get the specifications correct by taking the sheet with you to the photographer!
Can I wait in Canada as a visitor while my application is being processed?
What's this I have read about case notes? What are they?
CIC is required to keep electronic case notes on all cases they work on, and they are required to release those notes of you through the Freedom of Information Act. These notes contain details of the progress of your application - application status, medical status, security check status, history of communication, and so on.
How do I order case notes? Should I even bother?
If your application is within the average processing time (as of February 2016, that's about 9ish months) then don't bother ordering your notes. Once you are over the average, though, notes can be useful in helping you determine if something is maybe outstanding with your application, or if your app is just stalled for whatever reason. In most cases the notes can be more frustrating and raise more questions than give answers... but some people find it useful. A handful of people have found out about requests for additional information that have gotten lost in transit or eaten by cyber gremlins, so notes have been useful for them.
You can order the notes using this site: https://atip-aiprp.apps.gc.ca/atip/ Be sure to include the permission form for the non-Canadian since information about both of you is contained on the file.
Ordering your notes costs $5, payable by credit card, and usually arrive 30 days after you order them.
All About eCAS
When can I log into eCAS to see my application status?
If you receive AOR, then usually 2-3 days after you receive it you are able to log into ECAS. Otherwise 2-3 days after you receive sponsor approval.
NB, if you have had previous dealings with CIC (e.g., you previously had an IEC) and already have a UCI then you may be able to log in before SA even without AOR. But it's trial and error as it just depends when CIC uploads your file to ECAS.
eCAS isn't letting me log in. Why not?
If you have already received AOR or sponsor approval, then you should be able to log in within 2-3 days. You may have to try different combinations of file number, UCI, and so on. In addition, if it's the principal applicant trying to log in, be sure they are selecting England/Scotland/etc as their place of birth, and NOT United Kingdom. (Yeah, we know, we know.)
There have also been a few isolated reports of people needing to include the hyphen in their UCI number in order to log in. You shouldn't need to include it, but if you are getting errors, then give that a shot.
I'm the sponsor, and I'm seeing two sections when I log into eCAS. What's going on?
The sponsor can see both sections of the application - the sponsor approval stage, and the permanent resident application stage.
I'm the principal applicant, and I can only see one section. What's going on?
The principal applicant can only see the permanent resident application stage section, and not the sponsor approval section.
What are the various statuses of eCAS?
Generally speaking, here's what you'll see in eCAS:
- 1) Application received. This just means that, well, your application has been received.
- 2) Medical results have been received. This means that your medical results have been received by CIC and matched up with your application.
- 3) In Process. This means that CIC has started to process your application.
- 4) Decision Made. A decision has been made, and CIC will be in touch regarding the decision.
eCAS hasn't changed from Application Received or Medicals Received in months! Does this mean they aren't looking at my application?
No. eCAS is notoriously slow in updating in a timely fashion. If eCAS updates to show a new status, then that's accurate. But if it hasn't changed, then it doesn't necessarily mean nothing is happening. There have been many, many people on the forum who have had calls or emails from CIC asking for additional information, so obviously their applications are In Process, but eCAS hasn't updated to show that. Others have even received COPR in the post before eCAS changes to reflect Decision Made! (This happened to one poster as recently as March 2015!) So if eCAS isn't changing, don't stress about it.
All about MyCIC
What is MyCIC?
In 2016, MyCIC was launched. It's sort of a "next generation" of ECAS. It's meant to be more accurate and gives a bit more information (slightly) than ECAS.
How do I access MyCIC?
1. Create a MyCIC account.
- Go to http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/e-services/account.asp
- If you have an account at one of the partner institutions listed on the page, you can use your credentials from there to sign in. If not, then create a new account.
2. Set up a GCKey account.
- Bookmark the CIC sign-in page as this same page is used both to set up a new MyCIC account and to sign-in to your account once you have created one.
- Click on the 'Continue to GCKey' button.
- In the sign-in screen, click on the 'Sign Up' button on the right.
- Pick a username, password, and recovery information.
3. Link your application to your MyCIC account.
Disclaimer: This part has been tricky and inconsistent for different users. To link your account, you have to enter a particular combination of information, and that set of information seems to vary person by person.
- Log in to your MyCIC account (described above) in the ‘Welcome to GCKey’ screen.
- In the ‘Welcome XXXX’ screen, click on the Continue button.
- In the ‘Terms and Conditions’ screen, click the ‘I Accept’ button.
- In the ‘Identity Validations’ screen, you are asked one of your security questions. Answer it and click on the ‘Continue’ button.
- In your CIC Account screen, scroll down to the headings marked ‘Link an existing application to this account’ and click on the ‘Link application to this account’ button.
- In the ‘Link Application’ screen:
- Scroll down to the ‘category’ drop list and select ‘Permanent Residence’. This displays a Sub-Category.
- In this sub-category drop list, select the correct sub-category (i.e., Family Class (Spouses)). This displays an ‘Application details’ section.
- In the ‘Application Details’ section and in the 'Please select one' drop list, select the combination of data items you want to use to try to link your application. Most of them have been reported to work, but one has worked for many people is the 'Application Number and Family Name' option. See below for details on this.
There does not appear to be any magic best route with guaranteed success. Also note that there is a maximum of 5 attempts to link in any one 24 hour period allowed (although some have reported that it locks out after 4 failed attempts). You can of course have another 5 attempts the next day etc. But a logical approach to the various data permutations you use and persistence seem to pay off. Many people have made 15-30 different combination attempts over several days before they succeeded.
One of the oft-quoted ‘secrets of success’ seems to be to enter the bare minimum of information the screens will accept, rather than simply completing each and every field presented on the screens (you can use the 'failed validation warnings', so the red arrows that appear telling you what you have missed when you try to submit).
One particular route to success that several people have had luck with is the ‘Application number / Family name’ option:
- Select the ‘Application number and family name’ option.
- Chose number of applicants as 2 (i.e. the Principal Applicant and the Sponsor)
- Enter the application number allocated by CIC and the family name
- Attempt to submit, a validation error occurs
- The validation red arrows indicate that only the birth details section is required (i.e. none of the passport section was highlighted - the drop lists for the passport sections were still available for editing however, normally the unnecessary fields tended to be grey out and turned off).
The above is merely one example that succeeded for several people by a process of trial and error.
Once you successfully link the application, you will see a summary in your CIC ‘Account’ screen.
- Scroll down into the ‘What would you like to do today?’ section
- Further down there is a ‘View my submitted applications or profiles’ sub-heading. Your application for permanent residence appears here.
- Click on the blue ‘check status and messages’ button to display tracking details.
What do the various statuses mean?
|Application / Profile Status||Open|
|Review of eligibility||Not started |
Review in progress
|Review of medical results||Not needed at this time|
Review in progress
We need medical information
|Review of submitted documents||Only refers to the review of additional documents that are requested|
|Scheduling an interview||Not needed at this time|
Need to schedule
|A background check is needed||Not started|
Not needed at this time
|Final decision||Not started|
Note that 'A background check is needed' is the final step before a decision (for outland applications). Early indications are that this final step takes day or weeks (i.e.not months). When 'Background check' shows as 'In process', 'Review of eligibility' will also remain as 'In process' (this is not an error, since failure of a background check will affect eligibility).
How do I upload a document that has been requested?
The visa office may send an email asking you to upload additional documents.
To do this, access you MyCIC account and your spousal sponsorship application in the normal way (i.e. click on the 'Check status and messages' blue button. This displays the tracking stages page.
Then click on the 'View submitted application' blue button towards the bottom of the screen. This displays the 'Documents submitted by client' screen. In this screen should be a request for additional information from the visa office with a facility / button allowing you to upload images (JPG's) or PDF files. Please see screen print below of an example.
Once the required document has been successfully uploaded, there is a 'Replacement Provided' message that appears. This seems to be simply an acknowledgement that you have uploaded the document.
It seems to be a bit 'hit and miss' as to whether the visa office enable the upload feature or not. If your screen does not look like the image above, then you cannot upload. You would be best to send the required documents by mail / courier instead.
No, you can't. Only your representative can. You can however access ECAS.
Getting the final Decision Made and the COPR document
eCAS has changed to Decision Made / MyCIC shows a Decision Made of 'Application approved'... what does this mean?
We get asked all the time about what it means when eCAS changes to Decision Made (DM), but eCAS just says "CIC will contact you with regard to the decision" or something similar... this is standard jargon. For about 99.9999% of applications on here, DM is positive, particularly if you haven't had multiple requests from CIC for additional proof.
If MyCIC shows a Decision Made status of 'Application approved', then yay, your application has been approved!
When will I hear about the decision?
Generally speaking, you'll receive COPR in the post about 2 or so weeks after eCAS changes to DM. Sometimes COPR arrives within a day or two, sometimes it can take up to 6 weeks. If a month or so has passed and you haven't received your COPR after eCAS has changed to DM, then drop CIC an email asking for an update.
CIC only considers COPR lost after about 8 weeks have passed since DM.
How will CIC contact me?
By post. You'll either get your COPR or a rejection letter.
OMG! Have to wait for something in the post?! Is there any other way?
No. You have to wait for the document to come in the post. CIC will not email you the decision, and the call centre will not tell you the decision over the phone. You have to wait.
What will I receive in the post?
You will receive your Confirmation of Permanent Residency (COPR) in the post (IMM 5688). It consists of two copies copies of IMM 5688, one that you must present on landing (the one with the photo on it) and another which is a copy (the one without a photo on it). You should present BOTH on landing, you will be asked to sign both and they will give you back the one without the photo for your records.
This document is basically your proof to CBSA from CIC that you have been approved to be a Permanent Resident of Canada. It is NOT your PR card. You will not receive your PR card until you land and activate your PR.
If you are outside of Canada, then the COPR will be a signed-for document, so keep an eye out for a delivery notice slip from the postman.
Some applicants report that the COPR is a signed-for document within Canada.
How long will I have to land?
The COPR will have an expiry date on it. That date will be either:
- One year from when your medicals were done
- The expiry date of your passport
Generally, the date on your COPR will be whichever of the two dates above comes first.
CIC have been known to decide on an expiry date later than one year from the date of the medical to allow a sensible amount of time between COPR issue and COPR expiry for a landing - but this is at their discretion, you cannot request it.
My COPR says that it's not valid for travel... what does this mean?
All that means is that it is not valid as a travel document on its own - that is, you can't use it in place of a proper travel document (e.g., your passport).
My COPR says that I have to be able to provide proof of funds, if required. I thought family class didn't have any fund requirement!
Exactly. The same COPR document is used for all PR routes. Some require proof of funds, some do not. Family class does not, so you do not need to worry about this.
There's a mistake on my COPR. What do I do?
Contact CIC immediately. They are usually pretty good about sending out corrected forms. Verify all the information on the form is correct - all names, birth date, passport number, application class, place of birth, and so on.
Note that the CoPR only shows the PA's firstname and surname. It does not show any middle name or initial. This is normal. It is not a mistake or anything that needs correcting.
The CoPR covering letter mentions form IMM 5785, but it was not attached. Do I need one?
If you read the wording on the covering letter carefully, it says that often the IMM 5785 is an 'electronic foil' only. Specifically it says 'this means that some of your family members required a counterfoil in their passports while others were issued CoPRs and electronic foils only'. So you would not receive a paper copy nor be expected to fill one out as no such paper form exists. It is either electronic or the counterfoil that CIC would attach to a passport.
There is an excellent article about landing here: http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Landing_as_PR-Canada
I have my COPR. Do I need an eTA?
CIC has published this on their website regarding COPR and eTAs: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=1184&top=16
According to them, no, you do not need an eTA if you are from a visa-exempt country and have your COPR in hand.
That said, some airlines may give you issues about it since many airlines and check-in clerks etc may not know what a COPR even is and their own guidelines may be incomplete or inaccurate. You might find it easier to just shell out the $7 for an eTA so that the airline doesn't give you any grief (it is possible that they could refuse to allow you to board the flight).
Do I have to land with my sponsor?
No, there's no requirement for the principal applicant to land with their sponsor, flying separately is fine.
I'm not ready to move! What do I do?
You simply have to land in Canada before your COPR expires; that is, you just have to cross the Canadian border to formally activate your PR. You can leave on the next flight out and move later, but your "PR clock" starts ticking when you land, NOT when you permanently move. More information on this can be found in the wiki article about Landing, linked above.
Do I have to have my Goods to Follow and Goods Accompanying lists with me if I'm not moving now?
Probably not, but it's a good idea to have them just in case you are asked for them when you land. Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. Information about the Goods to Follow lists can be found here: http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Goods_To_Follow
Can I fly on a one-way ticket?
Technically, yes. Make sure you have all your documentation with you in your carry-on baggage as you will probably be asked for it by the airline. It's your proof that you will be allowed into Canada.
However, the airline might give you an issue about it, since, at the time of boarding, you are not yet a PR, and as stated above with the eTA, some airlines won't know what a COPR is, so you may find that they deny you boarding since you are not yet a PR. So until you actually become a PR, you might want to fly on a return ticket. (If you have a future trip planned to the UK, or elsewhere, then make your return ticket the outgoing portion of that trip, then fly back from that trip on a one-way flight, since you'll be a PR at that point.).
It is worth noting that for many airlines (but not all), a one way ticket can cost more than a return ticket. So you may actually be saving money to buy a return ticket and either cancel or simply not use the return ticket.
I have had a change in my family circumstances. Should I inform CIC?
Yes, you are required to inform CIC of any changes to your family circumstance that would not result in your application being withdrawn (e.g., divorce, death of the applicant, etc). This includes, but is not limited to:
- Birth of a child
- If the child is a Canadian, then no further action needs to be taken, other than you sorting out all their Canadian paperwork
- If the child is not Canadian, then s/he needs to be added to your application
- You applied as common-law and now you're married
I have moved. Should I inform CIC?
Yes. You need to inform CIC if your address changes.
How do I contact CIC in London?
- 1) Use the case-specific enquiry form on their website: https://secure.cic.gc.ca/enquiries-renseignements/case-cas-eng.aspx?mission=london
- 2) Send them an email directly: [email protected]
You can use either option to contact CIC, the enquiry goes to the same place. Pick one, and if after 4-5 days you haven't heard, use the other.
Be sure to include your file number, UCI, fee payment receipt number, and any other identifying information in your communication - just your name is probably insufficient.
How do I contact CIC in Mississauga?
- 1) Send them an email directly: [email protected]
- 2) Call them on +1 613 944 4000. DISCLAIMER: If you do decide to call them, take any information you receive with a grain of salt. The CIC call centre is notorious for giving out duff information (and is often referred to as the CIC Mis-Information Line). Be very, very skeptical about what information you are given on the phone; only call them as a last resort.
Be sure to include your file number, UCI, fee payment receipt number, and any other identifying information in your communication - just your name is probably insufficient.
How do I contact CIC in Ottawa?
Send them an email directly: [email protected]
Be sure to include your file number, UCI, fee payment receipt number, and any other identifying information in your communication - just your name is probably insufficient.
At what point do I get my MP involved?
Only involve your MP if things with your case are starting to go pear-shaped. Do not go to your MP for "routine" questions, or anything that is not urgent - and consider an actual definition of "urgent", not your own definition! Your MP may not be able to do anything, but sometimes they can provide a bit of a shove to CIC, or may at least be a bit more successful in getting an update. But use your MP sparingly. If you use your MP excessively early on when you probably didn't need to, you will find it much harder to get your MP to act on your behalf later in the process when you may actually need their help! So be sensible with involving your MP.
Examples of when BE members have gotten their MP involved:
- One member had not had sponsor approval after 5 months of waiting when the posted time for sponsor approval was 3 months. He had emailed and called CIC repeatedly and was not getting any answers. He got his MP involved who was able to determine that the application had been accidentally filed as an inland application instead of an outland application - big difference! The member was able to get his MP to intervene with CIC to have the application correctly refiled as an outland application.
- One member's application had been in London for 15 months with no indication of movement, well above London's average of about 6-7 months at the time. She had contacted London numerous times through their email address and using the case-specific enquiry form, but had not received a response in weeks. She asked her MP to enquire on her behalf. The MP never received a response, but the applicant received COPR in the post a few days later. So we don't really know what happened there, or if the MP had anything to do with it, but she did get there in the end.