Top 10 Mistakes That Will Sink Your Immigration Application

2012-10-01

mistakeI’ve been practising law for over 13 years, and I’ve seen a lot of errors that lead to rejected applications, or long delays in processing.  Below I’ve compiled the top 10 errors to avoid in submitting your application for Canadian permanent or temporary residence.

1.  Not signing the forms

Sounds simple right?  But it happens all the time.  A form is not signed where the individual is required to sign.  For example, the Additional Family Information form can require 3 signatures on one page.  Often people will sign the bottom of this form, and miss the fact that 2 other signatures are also required depending on whether there is a spouse or children.  Failing to sign this (or any other form) properly means a returned file weeks (or even months!) after it has been filed.

Another example is the (Generic??) form that has a section that requires signatures only if a translator was used.  If there was no translator used and you mistakenly sign in this spot, your application will be sent back to you at some point in the future.

So triple-check your forms and sign where required (and only where required).

2.  Paying the fee incorrectly

Different streams require different methods of payment.  Typically, only a bank draft, certified cheque or money order will suffice.

However, a sponsorship application for permanent residence usually requires payment through the internet (or a bank paid receipt).  For example, if you pay the Right of Permanent Residence fee by bank draft to the foreign visa office, it will likely be returned to you, delaying the file, as typically it is paid in Canada online.

Also, many visa offices will accept the equivalent fee in local currency, but you must check the specific website for that office to determine the amount of the fee in local currency – do not simply use the current exchange rate – it won’t be the same.

As well, be sure to pay the correct amount.  For example,  permanent resident applicants currently pay $550 per adult, but only $150 per dependent child.  And the Right of Permanent Resident fee is currently zero for children.  An incorrectly paid fee will delay your application or have it returned to you.

Be very careful how you pay your fees, and the amount you have to pay.

3.  Correct size pictures

Application instructions require pictures with a very specific size (usually 35mm wide and 45mm tall, with the head image a maximum of 30mm tall, but check the CIC instructions for your specific application).  Pictures have to be a certain size in order to fit on forms that CIC may send to you (such as medical forms for permanent resident applications, and as part of your visa documents).

Not paying attention to the correct size of picture will have your application returned to you.

4.  Providing only those documents listed on the checklist

Sounds counter-intuitive right? Why not just provide what CIC asks for on their checklists? Because sometimes that documentation is not enough, and CIC will never help make your case for you.

For example, if you are a common law couple, I’ve found it is important to provide affidavits from friends and family attesting to the relationship and how it is exclusive, committed and marriage-like.  As well, letters of support can also be effective in certain circumstances.  For example, if a couple from overseas is planning to move to Canada under a sponsorship application, a letter (or affidavit) from a family member in Canada offering lodging while the couple establishes themselves in Canada can make an application go a lot smoother and a lot faster.

Additional evidence depends on the facts of each case, but phone records, bank records, lease records, correspondence, text messages, facebook messages, and so forth, can be very helpful in moving the application forward.

5.  Supplemental forms for certain countries  (afghanistan supervisa)

Residents or citizens of certain countries (depending upon where one is applying for immigration), are often required to provide additional forms or information which are not obvious from the initial forms.

One example is the Residency Questionnaire required by those in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  Another example is the Education and Work Experience Questionnaire required by those in Islamabad, Pakistan.

You must be sure to include any supplemental information forms or risk having your application sent back to you or having serious delays in the decision-making process.

6.  Providing mis-information or not explaining missing information – misrepresentation, returned file

Providing mis-information is an application is a serious offence is Canadian immigration law.  As CIC relies on information provided by the applicant to make a decision on the file, it expects that the information provided be truthful.

The consequences of providing mis-information is a rejected application, and possible for exclusion from Canada for at least 2 years.

The difficulty is that even errors that appear to be innocent can be considered a misrepresentation which will certainly sink your application immediately.

If you are missing information that was requested by CIC, it is important to explain why the information is missing and when it might be provided.  Otherwise, your application will be sent back to you.

7.  Handwriting information on forms (illegible, can’t verify form)

All application forms can be completed using a computer and Adobe Reader (which is a free program).

However, some individuals may choose to complete the forms by hand, which is not advisable.

Hand-written forms may not be legible by the visa officer reviewing the file.  As a result, the application will be returned if the visa officer is not absolutely certain about the answers provided to questions in the forms.

Equally important, hand-written forms can not be verified.  A verified form (using Adobe Reader) creates a series of bar codes that CIC can quickly enter into its computer systems.  A hand-written application form requires tedious transfer of information which may delay processing of the file in a timely manner.

The other general benefit of using a computer to complete the forms is that you can same them to your hard-drive and print the forms if needed in future, or update forms on the request of a visa officer.  Updating forms is much easier when they are on a computer versus being hand-written.

8.  Failing to provide a cover letter

Although never fatal to an application, failing to provide a cover letter may result in delays in processing.

A cover letter that sets out who is applying for what, and the main reasons why the applicant qualifies makes reviewing the application easier for the visa officer, which means faster processing in my experience.

I never submit an application without a detailed cover letter asserting the applicant’s right to immigrate under current law and policy.

9.  Waiting for criminal record checks to file the application

Often times, applicants will wait for criminal record checks before filing an application.

This is often not advisable.

Unless the application is for a temporary resident permit or criminal rehabilitation, a criminal record check is not required to process the application.  A criminal record check goes to admissibility, not to qualification for entry.  As such, you can submit your application immediately, then submit the criminal record check when it comes weeks or months later.

What is the risk of waiting until the criminal record checks arrive before submitting an application?

Anyone who has followed the Canadian immigration system lately has seen the multitude of changes that have happened in a short period of time.  If you wait too long to submit an application, the rules may (likely will) change and suddenly you may no longer qualify (this has happened a few times with regard to the Federal Skilled Worker category, where some years an occupation qualifies, then suddenly it does not).

10.  Mailing the application

CIC asks you to mail the application to the appropriate office for processing.  However, it is best to use registered mail, or even better, a courier.  This allows you to track the application to ensure it arrives at its destination.

Mail can get lost and you may spend weeks or months wondering why CIC has not acknowledged receipt of your application (and they are always very slow in doing so), only to discover that it never arrived.

I hope you have found these 10 common mistakes useful, and if so, feel free to link to this post, tweet it or share it with your friends or family.

Nothing in this post constitutes legal advice – be sure to consult a lawyer with regard to your application and required forms and supporting documents.

About the author

Gianpaolo Panusa Gianpaolo Panusa is a Canadian immigration lawyer, writer, and founder of the PanCanadian Immigration Law Group based in Vancouver, Canada. Google+ Profile

  1. June 10, 2014

    Hello,

    I am Zia from Karachi Pakistan. I have applied for Canada
    Immigration for Federal Skilled Worker (as Finance Manager) category on 24 Dec
    2008 & I have received a courier for Canadian Consultant Islamabad on 13 August 2009 along with File
    number.

    They advise me to send application along with a yellow slip that
    was attached with documents but due some reasons I did not send my documents.
    Now I would like to purse my case. Please advice me what should I do now?

    Regards,

    Zia

    zia@uec.com.pk

    +92-3002282228

  2. June 14, 2014

    Dear Sir,

    I wondering if you can tell me what legal document should I provide to CIC as a proof of signature for my two kids 18 years older. I will appreciate your assistance in this matter. ( I am in Pakistan).

    Thank you,

  3. October 4, 2014

    Hi sir,
    I want to do the canada Education assessment this year and depending on IELTS score i will apply for this year or in the next 3 years. My Question is once the Educational assessment is over and can i use that educational credentials in the next 3 years?because from the next year(2015) canadian government rules are changing so will they accept my educational credential assessment?
    My Next question is Canadian FSW immigration process happens every year or every 2 to 3 years?

  4. May 17, 2015

    Dear sir
    My case is different in my case i sent all credentials to WES but they did t consider my postgraduate degree and we submitted our file and they refused our file then we check WES report it was wrong we wrotev a mail to WES they accept their mistake and sent new report.But our case rejected and UCI no generated in this case we should what to do.Please guide us

  5. October 12, 2017

    I wrote my colony name on my medical form that I submitted in hospital which is not mentioned on my legal proofs .Is there any problem ?? Or they send all the details according to my proofs?? Pls rply me

    • Evelyn Ackah
      February 13, 2018

      Thanks for Commenting. We try to be as responsive as possible, for a faster response please email us at contact@ackahlaw.com or phone: (403) 452-9515; Toll-free: 1 (800) 932-1190 (North America).

  6. October 20, 2017

    Dear sir
    My husband sponsored me in Oct 2014 , our interview is done in 2016 n DNA with our daughter is done in Aug 2017 n medical of me n my was done last month but immigration send us email of missing document ,we have to submit like bank/credit card statement since filed, passport copy of every page since 5years and tenancy agreement since 5 years. Why they are asking for this now.

    • Evelyn Ackah
      November 15, 2017

      Thanks for Commenting. We try to be as responsive as possible, for a faster response please email us at contact@ackahlaw.com or phone: (403) 452-9515; Toll-free: 1 (800) 932-1190 (North America).

  7. October 30, 2017

    Hi , please I have one problem in my relationship information and sponsorship evaluation . I signed wrong in sponsor declaration space . So can I sign it another time or what can I do ?

    • Evelyn Ackah
      November 15, 2017

      Thanks for Commenting. We try to be as responsive as possible, for a faster response please email us at contact@ackahlaw.com or phone: (403) 452-9515; Toll-free: 1 (800) 932-1190 (North America).

  8. November 9, 2017

    I ve just applied for canada working permit at tom Horitons and my name was shortlisted for both medical report and police character certificate which i ve submitted.
    Pls kindly tell me what will it be next process from the tom Horitons?.
    Then,how long will it take before d process will complete.
    How much is for such visa fee?

    • Evelyn Ackah
      November 15, 2017

      Thanks for Commenting. We try to be as responsive as possible, for a faster response please email us at contact@ackahlaw.com or phone: (403) 452-9515; Toll-free: 1 (800) 932-1190 (North America).

  9. November 22, 2017

    Hi there
    What are future possible changes for Self employed stream? This stream has a low passing marks and, apparently, the factors seem to be fulfilled easily as compare to other streams. The waiting period is approximately 5 years. Can we expect return cases in this stream as we witnessed in Federal professional stream back in 2010-2011 or so due to long back log?
    Kindly comment

    • Evelyn Ackah
      February 2, 2018

      Thanks for Commenting. We try to be as responsive as possible, for a faster response please email us at contact@ackahlaw.com or phone: (403) 452-9515; Toll-free: 1 (800) 932-1190 (North America).

  10. November 26, 2017

    Hey
    I’m deportee from Australia.
    Can i apply study visa for Canada and how?
    Is it possibe if i change my passport?

    • Evelyn Ackah
      February 13, 2018

      Thanks for Commenting. We try to be as responsive as possible, for a faster response please email us at contact@ackahlaw.com or phone: (403) 452-9515; Toll-free: 1 (800) 932-1190 (North America).

  11. November 30, 2017

    Good afternoon
    I want to go to Canada for Christmas but have a drink driving conviction in March 2012.
    I have been refused a visa due to this and I do not understand why as I am only there visiting my other halfs cousin for 10 days over Christmas

    • Evelyn Ackah
      February 13, 2018

      Thanks for Commenting. We try to be as responsive as possible, for a faster response please email us at contact@ackahlaw.com or phone: (403) 452-9515; Toll-free: 1 (800) 932-1190 (North America).

  12. November 30, 2017

    Pls sir help me . My motherinlaw and father inlaw live in seprate for us . On acasional we are going to her home because with my relationship is not good . She want letter to my dauther handrighting who is eight year old . To our imigration purpose .

    • Evelyn Ackah
      February 13, 2018

      Thanks for Commenting. We try to be as responsive as possible, for a faster response please email us at contact@ackahlaw.com or phone: (403) 452-9515; Toll-free: 1 (800) 932-1190 (North America).

  13. December 5, 2017

    RESPECTED SIR, MY SON IS A STUDENT OF CBU IN NOVA SCOTIA.FIRST OF ALL HE JOINED ST.LAWRENCE COLLEGE CORNWAL IN ONTARIO ON 5TH SEP.2017 HE SWITCH THE COLLEGE AFTER FULFILLING THE REQUIREMENTS ON NEAR 8TH SEP.2017 AND JOINED THE CAPE BRITON UNIVERSITY SYDNEY IN NOVA SCOTIA ON 11TH SEP.AT EXACT STARTING DATE IN BET PETROLEUM ENGINEERING DEGREE COURCE….NOW PROBLEM IS TO UPDATE DLI.WHEN TRY THEN AT SITE CIC OCCURED THAT THERE IS NO ANY APPLICATION OFTHIS FILLED PARICULARS.TWO E MAILS ALSO SENT TO CIC BUT NO REPLY.PLEASE TELL HOW PROBLEM BE SOLVED AT ALL…..WITH REGARDS…WAHEGURU PAL SNGH PRINCIPAL

  14. December 5, 2017

    Hello i have applied for canada student visa and in filing by mistake i enter 2016 in my degree completion year insted of 2017.is that can refuse my visa ?
    If yes then please tell me is there any way to change that before rejection?

    • Evelyn Ackah
      February 13, 2018

      Thanks for Commenting. We try to be as responsive as possible, for a faster response please email us at contact@ackahlaw.com or phone: (403) 452-9515; Toll-free: 1 (800) 932-1190 (North America).

  15. December 15, 2017

    I am applying for an open work permit and PR in same time. I wonder if I have to submit same documents twice for example passport pages? Both applications ask for passport pages and stamps. Thank you in advance.

    • Evelyn Ackah
      February 13, 2018

      Thanks for Commenting. We try to be as responsive as possible, for a faster response please email us at contact@ackahlaw.com or phone: (403) 452-9515; Toll-free: 1 (800) 932-1190 (North America).

  16. December 21, 2017

    I want to ask that in the process of applying for express entry immigration, does part of the Application ask if the dependants of the principal Applicant has previously been denied visa e.g study permit..
    Does this jeopardize the immigration visa application?

    • Evelyn Ackah
      February 2, 2018

      Thanks for Commenting. We try to be as responsive as possible, for a faster response please email us at contact@ackahlaw.com or phone: (403) 452-9515; Toll-free: 1 (800) 932-1190 (North America).

  17. January 14, 2018

    Hi, I have a question. My wife is canadian and I am ghanaian. I completed my PR application forms. And she has completed her part too. What i want to know is do these applications go together as one or do we submit them separately?

    • Evelyn Ackah
      February 2, 2018

      Thanks for Commenting. We try to be as responsive as possible, for a faster response please email us at contact@ackahlaw.com or phone: (403) 452-9515; Toll-free: 1 (800) 932-1190 (North America).

  18. January 31, 2018

    Hi, I have worked in Qatar throughout the past four years for a collective period of more than 6 months, so I have to present a police clearance from Qatar, does it have to be attested/endorsed by the Canadian Embassy in Qatar?

    Thanks and best regards

    • Evelyn Ackah
      February 2, 2018

      Thanks for Commenting. We try to be as responsive as possible, for a faster response please email us at contact@ackahlaw.com or phone: (403) 452-9515; Toll-free: 1 (800) 932-1190 (North America).

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