On the Radar from CLEO
CLEO On The Radar
June 2023
Online immigration portal
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has an online portal for submitting applications for permanent residence. This is part of the government’s efforts to “digitize and modernize”.
The government has made several updates since launching the portal and continues to make changes to improve it.
Using the portal
The first step is to create an account. There are separate sign-in pages for applicants and for paid immigration representatives.
Representatives must provide their name, member ID number, and business address. And they must upload a valid copy of an identity document, like a passport or driver's license.
They can fill out forms and communicate with IRCC on behalf of a client through their own account. They can also:
  • help a client prepare documents
  • give a client advice and answer questions about the forms
Representatives cannot:
  • open a client's account on the portal
  • sign into the portal using a client's username and password
  • electronically sign an application for a client
Finding forms and documents
IRCC made changes to the portal, so it now shows only the forms and supporting documents for the program a person chooses.
But the list of forms and documents the portal generates does not always include every document an applicant must submit for their application to be approved. It's important for applicants to review the application package and upload any other forms and documents that are required.
Check under Additional Supporting Documents or Additional Application Forms in the portal to find other forms and documents.
Instruction guides
There are instruction guides for each immigration program that:
  • say what forms are required and explain how to fill them out
  • say whether the forms need to be signed electronically or by hand
  • describe how to gather supporting documents
Other formats
If someone cannot use the portal and needs an accommodation, they or their representative can ask IRCC for the application in another format. For example, this might be a paper application, an application in braille, or one that uses large print.
How to ask
In the subject line of the email, include:
  • the format that's needed
  • the type of application package
In the body of the email, include:
  • the person's full name as it is on their passport
  • their spouse or partner's full name if they're sponsoring a spouse or partner
  • the reason why they need an alternate format
  • whether the application package needs to be in English or French
  • their email address if they want the application sent by email
  • their mailing address if they want the application sent by mail
If IRCC approves the request, they send instructions about how to apply using the alternate format. For example, this could be instructions about filling out the paper form and how to mail it. For more information, call IRCC at 1-888-242-2100.
Submitting applications to the portal
Before submitting an application, people should make sure that:
  • they answered all the questions
  • their electronic signature on the application matches their full name as it is on their passport
  • they include a receipt that shows they paid the processing fee
  • they upload all of the documents on the application package checklist
They'll get an email confirming that they submitted the application. This is different from the Acknowledgment of Receipt.
IRCC sends an Acknowledgment of Receipt once it reviews the application to make sure it's complete. This can take 10 weeks or more from the date the application is submitted.
An applicant is not eligible for income assistance, such as Ontario Works, until the IRCC:
  • confirms that the application is complete, and
  • sends the Acknowledgment of Receipt.
IRCC will reject an application if it's not complete or the person did not pay the processing fees. The applicant can fix any errors and then re-submit their application within 30 days.
Follow up by IRCC
IRCC may:
  • ask for fingerprints and a photo, called biometrics
  • confirm that the application has been reviewed
  • ask for more documents
  • set up an interview
  • give information about what happens next
When IRCC approves an application
If the applicant is outside Canada, IRCC mails them:
  • a Confirmation of Permanent Residence, and
  • a permanent resident visa if they're coming from a country that requires one.
If the applicant is already in Canada, IRCC uploads an electronic version of the Confirmation to their account on the portal.
People should check to make sure the information on their Confirmation is correct. It should match the information that's on their passport. If they find a mistake, they must contact IRCC right away.
It's important to use the Confirmation before it expires because IRCC will not extend how long it lasts.
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