CAIPS and Immigration Canada


You have an immigration application in progress.  You’ve checked your application status online for months and it still says “pending”.  You’ve written to CIC and you’ve received no response.  Your application time has exceeded posted times for processing.

What can you do?

You can order your CAIPS or GCMS file.  “CAIPS” stands for “Computer Assisted Immigration Processing System” and “GCMS” stands for “Global Case Management System”.  CIC offices are moving to the GCMS which will replace CAIPS in the future.

These files contain the visa officer notes on your file, concerns he or she may have about your file, and any problems your file is currently experiencing.  These files will also give you the status of your application and next steps.

How do I request CAIPS/GCMS files?

Only someone resident in Canada can obtain these files.  So if you are overseas, you will need to find an agent in Canada to request these files for you.  If you are in Canada, you can make the request yourself.

Are CAIPS/GCMS files hard to read?

Yes and no.  They are not terribly difficult to read.  They do use a number of abbreviations but they are fairly straightforward to figure out given the context.  If you are having difficulties reading them, there are a number of agents who will “translate” your file for a fee.

When should I not order CAIPS/GCMS files?

It doesn’t make sense to order the files if your application is still in the early stages or within posted processing times.  There likely won’t be anything in the files for you to review.


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