UCI on a Canada visa application stands for “unique client identifier.” It is also and most often referred to as a client identification number (client ID). This number is received from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) once they accept your application and it serves as the identity of an applicant to Canadian Immigration.

UCI on Canadian visa applications tends to consist of either ten digits such as 01-2345-6789 or eight figures such as 1234-5678. It is a numeric reference known to be unique to a client. It is assigned by IRCC to each individual whose case is being processed and every client will have a different UCI. Also note that it remains the same, even when you file more than one application with IRCC.

The UCI solely belongs to the applicant. Therefore even if you have multiple applications, the IRCC can link them all together just with the help of this number. If a family of three applies for immigration or a visa, each member will get a separate UCI.

Note that a Canadian citizen who does not have a unique client identifier will have to enter 00000000 on any necessary application. But as long as you have interacted with the Canadian immigration authorities at any time, you have a UCI number. This interaction may include any of the following:

  • Applying for temporary statuses such as an eTA, a TRV, a work permit, or a study permit
  • Facing a removal order
  • Immigrating to Canada
  • Sponsoring your spouse or common-law partner (both inland and outside-Canada options)
  • Refugee claims inside Canada
  • Sponsoring other family members such as parents or grandparents, siblings, nieces or nephews, or aunts or uncles

How Can I Find the UCI Number?

Just as it was noted above, this eight or ten-digit number can be found on all documents you obtain from the Canadian Government. It looks like this: 0000–0000 or 00–0000–0000. If you have had any dealings with the government, check for this number:

  • Letters Canadian Government/ IRCC/CIC has sent you
  • Your immigration documents such as a PR card, study, or work permit
  • If you have a profile with the Canadian Express Entry Program, log in to your profile and go to Permanent Residency Application. At the top of the page, your UCI numbers will be listed there as long as it has been allocated.

How Can I Put The UCI Number When Filling The Forms?

If you have already had any form of dealings with the IRCC, just search for the number that has the same formats noted above and fill in the box at the top right-hand corner. Howbeit, if you are applying with the IRCC or any notable government agency in the country for the first time, you may not yet have a UCI.

Therefore, when you fill in the forms that request your UCI number just leave that space blank or put N/A (not applicable). If you are applying online and the system does not let you put N/A, leave that space blank instead.

Difference Between UCI and Application Number

When you file a new application with IRCC, note that your UCI number will continue to remain the same, however, you will get a new application number. Most often, applicants confuse the UCI with the Application number (file number).

Although both the application number and the UCI number are listed on all correspondence received from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), there are not the same thing.

Unique Client Identifier (UCI) Number

Just as was explained above, the Unique Client Identifier is a numeric reference that is unique to a client. This number is mostly assigned by IRCC to each individual whose case is being received and processed. The UCI is also made up of digits only and can either be an eight-digit number or a 10-digit number that may or may not be separated by a hyphen.

For those who must have recently applied, you may find your UCI number as CAN1234567. Have in mind that this is a temporary number allocated until your data is entered into the system and a permanent UCI is generated. Once generated, the UCI doesn’t change for the rest of the applicant’s life.

It simply means that your UCI remains the same for all the applications you submit to IRCC. It is also the same for all the interactions you have with CBSA.

Application Number (File Number)

Just as the name suggests, an application number is assigned to each application an applicant files with IRCC. Have it in mind that every application you file with the IRCC will come with a different number and will be categorized by the type of application.

Note that even when an applicant files more than one application, every one of those applications will have a different number. On Canadian visa applications, application numbers are known to start with an alphabet accompanied by digits e.g.: E12345678. The alphabet signifies the type of application.

Also, note that the application number will only remain the same for the same application and you won’t have to deal with changes to the file number throughout the same application. However, if you open a new application, you’ll get a new application number.

Note that the best way to find an application file number on a Canadian visa application is by referring to the IRCC correspondences. For instance, check every email you must have received from them or the letters they mail to you. If you have an immigration representative, then you may ask them to help you find the number.


On your documents when applying or interacting with the IRCC, there are many numbers and you can make very grave mistakes if you do not clearly understand them. Always remember that your UCI number is one of the most important factors you need to understand thoroughly. It is also recommended that you keep it private and always check whether it is correct every time you get documents from the government.