According to IRCC, “Having legal status means you are permitted to enter and reside in Canada as a temporary or permanent resident under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act”. Ideally, foreign nationals in Canada are expected to maintain valid status at all times.
This may warrant you to meet certain conditions that will help you extend your status document, or even hold another kind of status in Canada. Canada receives more than 250,000 new immigrants each year. All the immigrants are expected to adhere to certain entrance requirements.
Immigration to Canada starts by applying for permanent resident status. Canadian immigration laws consider permanent residence visa applications in four categories and there are various requirements that will grant permission to stay in Canada under each of these categories.
The four primary categories of immigrants to Canada are the family class members (closely related persons of Canadian residents living in Canada), Economic Immigrants (Canadian experience class, skilled workers, and business people),
Humanitarian and Compassionate applicants (people accepted as immigrants for humanitarian or compassionate reasons) and Refugees (people who are escaping persecution, torture or cruel and unusual punishment). There are three ways to check your status with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly CIC).
3 Ways To Check Your Immigration Status in Canada
Calling IRCC at 1-888-242-2100
This is the most convenient way to check your status, and this entails making a call to the IRCC at 1-888-242-2100. Have in mind that it can be quite challenging to call this number if you are outside Canada as it is only available in North America. However, the issue is not how daunting it is to get through, the main issues are:
- When you call, you will have to deal with a long, tiered menu system. Owing to that, it is imperative you know what you are calling about. It is not just what you are calling about but rather what the IRCC calls the application you are calling about. If not, you may not find your way to an operator.
- IRCC’s call centers are known to be always busy, you can be on hold for hours, and sometimes the system will just disconnect your call.
- Even when you get through, you will be expected to prove to the operator that you are who you say you are. Owing to that, you will need your UCI or application number, coupled with the ability to answer certain questions about yourself (such as your birth date).
- Immediately after your identity has been confirmed, the call center staff will give you some details about your file, such as whether or not it was received, being processed, or if there has been a decision on your application (and if a document has been sent).
Check Your Status Online Using IRCC e-Client Application Status
You need to know that this online tool is not available to all applicants. Whether or not you can access e-client application status depends on what you applied for with IRCC. The applications that qualify you to use the e-client application status include;
- Sponsorship: all categories;
- Permanent Residence from within Canada for compassionate and humanitarian cases;
- Permanent Residence from within Canada for all categories;
- Permanent Residence from outside Canada for all categories;
- Permanent Resident Card;
- Temporary Residence: all categories
- Refugees: all categories of refugees are eligible;
- Citizenship: all categories of citizenship except search of citizenship records;
While the applications that do not qualify you to use the e-Client Application Status include;
- Immigration documents: verification of status, replacements, and amendments of documents; as well as request to amend– a record of landing/confirmation of permanent residence;
- Citizenship: Search of citizenship results category.
Note that individuals who do not qualify to use the e-client will have to check the processing time to see how long their application may take. This is different from the other application status, which is specific to each individual application.
Howbeit, for individuals who qualify to use it, the e-client application status online tool will provide you with your application’s status, but it will not give further information on your file. If you qualify to use the e-client application status online tool, you are expected to have the following information:
- The identification number related to your application whose status you are checking;
- Your surname (last name) as it appears on your application or on your identity documents;
- Your date of birth and your place of birth.
Get your GCMS Notes (formerly CAIPS and FOSS)
This is another way to leverage when checking your Immigration status in Canada, and it involves filing an access to information and personal information request to see what is called your GCMS notes. The GCMS or Global Case Management System is the new integrated, worldwide electronic data processing system for IRCC that has succeeded CAIPS and FOSS.
Note that all visa and citizenship applications from June 2010, CIC (now IRCC) have been processed on GCMS rather than CAIPS or FOSS. This platform is designed to process applications both inside Canada and abroad so it is a single integrated system. In order to apply for it, consider the following steps;
- You can apply for GCMS (or CAIPS or FOSS) files via access to information and personal information request. All you need is to download and fill out the form. To submit this form, you will have to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. A Canadian living abroad is also allowed to file the access to information and personal information request form from outside Canada, but a fee may be involved.
- If you are using someone else to file the request, they will be expected to fill out the request form and also get you to fill out and sign consent for access to information and personal information request form that you will need to download. Note that if someone files more than one request on your behalf, you will have to sign a separate consent form for each individual request.
- At this point, you will need to write a formal request letter addressed to IRCC where you actually request the GCMS notes or the notes from the older systems. The Canadian citizen or permanent resident is expected to provide a copy of their passport or permanent resident card or other documentation as proof. The package includes:
- The access to information and personal information request form which is filled out and signed by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, whether you or someone else. It will have to include proof of Canadian citizenship or permanent residence status.
- Get the consent for access to information and personal information request form filled out and signed by you if you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
- A formal request letter where you request your GCMS notes from IRCC.
- You will have to fill this online at https://atip-aiprp.apps.gc.ca/atip/welcome.do or couriered (or send it by registered mail) to the following address:
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Access to Information and Privacy Coordinator
360 Laurier Avenue West, 10th floor
According to reports, the average processing time to get your GCMS notes is about 4 to 6 weeks. What you will get back is a screenshot of your files. GCMS is known to be very long, sometimes up to 30 pages; most often, these pages will contain useful information on the status of your application. Also, note that they will contain abbreviations or numbered codes used by immigration officials.