Applying for Permanent Residence in Canada – Using the IRCC Portal
07 November, 2022
Applications for Permanent Residence in Canada are no longer paper-based applications. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requires that applications for Permanent Residence be filed through an online website portal. The portal itself is a work-in-progress. IRCC is constantly changing the format, details, flow and requirements. All applications must be filed online unless the applicant cannot do so due to requiring accommodations such as a disability.
There are numerous programs and categories for applications for Permanent Residence in Canada. The programs, categories and classes of application change frequently. As of November 2022, they are:
- Agri-Food Pilot
- Economic Mobility Pathways
- Home Support Worker
- Rural and Northern Immigration
- Provincial Nominee Program
- Self-Employed Persons Class
- Start-up Business Class
- Quebec skilled workers program
- Quebec selected investor program
- Quebec entrepreneur program
- Quebec self-employed persons program
- Atlantic immigration program
- Family (inside and outside of Canada)
- Common-law partner
- Conjugal partner
- Dependent Child
- Parents / Grandparents
- Other relative
- Adopted Child
- In-Canada protected person
- In-Canada – humanitarian and compassionate considerations
- Permit Holders class
- Permanent residence pathways for Hong Kong residents
Currently, these are the applications for permanent residence that are processed through the online website portal of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Lawyers are referred by IRCC as “representatives”. IRCC has created a specific online portal for representatives separate from applicants. This is where we upload the forms, support documents and fees. We initiate the application by entering a client’s name and email address. An email similar to the one below is sent by IRCC to the client’s email which asks them to create an account:
An application for permanent residence has been started on your behalf by Lawyer.
Once your representative has filled out the application for you, use the link and credentials below to create an account in the IRCC Permanent Residence Portal. You can then sign in and view your application. Your representative will advise you when the application is ready for review and signature. When you’re ready to electronically sign your application, you’ll need to sign the IMM5669 form and the Declaration & Consent form through the portal. Once you have provided your electronic signature, your representative will be able to submit your application on your behalf.
Note that if your representative updates your application after you have signed the ‘Consent & Declaration’ and the IMM5669 declaration, then your signatures will be cleared and you will have to re-sign.
To sign in, use the following credentials:
Temporary password: IRCC GENERATED PASSWORD
Instructions to log in and create an account:
- Notice: This is a temporary password that will expire in 30 days. After you sign in, you will need to change the password. You will then need to log into the portal again using your new password.
If you did not ask a representative to start an application on your behalf, please contact the Client Support Centre. Copy and paste this link into your browser: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/contact-ircc/client-support-centre.html
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
The client is only able to view the information. They are unable to change any of the information on the representative’s portal.
Each type of Permanent Residence application will require different information. Typically for a spousal sponsorship application, there are seven “forms” which are required for the application. Three are documents that are completed, signed and uploaded to the portal:
- Application to Sponsor, Sponsorship Agreement and Undertaking
- Use of Representative
- Relationship Information and Sponsor Evaluation Form
In addition, there are four “forms” which information is entered online:
- Generic Application Form for Canada
- Background Information / Declaration
- Family Information Form
- Travel Details for the Past 10 years
Once we obtain the information for the documents from our client, we prepare the forms and email the 3 digital documents for review and signature. We also enter the required information onto the online “forms” for review. Often the information we receive and enter may be incomplete. For some forms, we enter a “best-guess” in order for the system to allow us to proceed through the form flow and enter additional information. That “best-guess” information will be amended online once we receive the correct information from our client.
We also upload the support documents, such as passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate and other documents to the portal on behalf of our clients. The client-view of the portal allows our clients to download all of the documents so that they can retain a copy for their records.
There are significant benefits to submitting an application online. Mainly, the client is able to see the file progress as forms are being completed and documentary evidence is being uploaded. The client at all times has access to this application and are part of the project. This procedure is advantageous as it provides the lawyer with continuous feedback from the client. In particularly, when the world was hit with covid-19, the online format allowed us to collaborate with our client through Zoom or similar technologies to complete the applications together. This is a particularly powerful tool when each person is physically located in different regions of the world, suffers from illness or has a disability.
There are also disadvantages. The portal and supporting forms are not mobile friendly so collaborating with a smartphone or tablet is not ideal. The flow and integration can be confusing and challenging to navigate for clients who are not technically-savvy. The process requires all of us to work together efficiently. Reviewing the forms multiple times on the portal can be tedious, time-consuming and frustrating. However, by involving the client, we are being responsible and diligent as lawyers by ensuring that our clients are providing correct and truthful information. A misrepresentation on the application, even if innocently made, can result in a 5-year ban by IRCC from applying to enter Canada. One must always remember that the lawyer is responsible for assisting through the process, however, ultimately the client has to sign the applications and the declaration on the portal as proof that they have provided everything themselves.
IRCC constrains the amount of information that can be provided with an application by limiting the size of the documents that are uploaded. As a result, we focus on providing a quality submission rather than merely a large quantity of marginally relevant documents. By all of us working together efficiently, the application comes together as a high quality effective product.
Generally, to start we require from our clients the following information:
- From the applicant, their spouse, children
- Full name, home address, date and place of birth, email address, height, weight, eye colour
- Education, employment and address history
- Birth certificate, passport, photograph
- Marriage certificate, prior divorce certificates (and spouse information), death certificate.
- From their parents, brothers and sisters.
- Full name, home address, date of birth, and email address
- Citizenship and Place of birth.
- Death certificate
Each application and client’s circumstances are unique. We provide a standard list, however, as the application progresses, the list may expand depending on the particular circumstance the client presents. This is not unusual as the application process is a dynamic human process and there is no formula to preparing an application. For example, proving a genuine marriage can be different for an individual who has been married three times versus someone who has never been married before and is applying for the first time with IRCC.
Once they are signed into the portal, our clients will be presented with a web page that resembles the one below.
We ask our clients to review all of the information on the online portal and then advise us of the changes they would like us to make. At times many revisions may be required. This is an ongoing ‘dialogue’ with our client to ensure that the information that is submitted to IRCC is precise, truthful and correct.
Once our clients have approved all of the content on the portal, they are required to sign a consent and declaration on the portal that all of the information is complete, accurate and truthful. It is only after the consent and declaration is signed on the portal that we are able to submit the application to IRCC. Note that the Immigration and Refugee Protection Actcreates an offence for misrepresenting material facts. Penalties range from fines, imprisonment and a 5-year bar to entering Canada. The offence can be committed either inside or outside of Canada.
There are times when our client will only retain our services for a partial portion of the Permanent Resident Application. Our firm deals with limited retainers. This usually means that the retainer agreement reflects the specific work in an application that we are retained and responsible for. For example, submission of a new work permit application, even though they already have a valid work permit that will not expire for a few months because IRCC requires an approval in principle prior to issuing a work permit. We will still attach other submissions for which we are not retained along with the Permanent Resident application as long as our client knows and understands that the lawyer has not and will not review their work.
After the application is submitted, IRCC will send an acknowledgement that processing has begun. Processing times vary. IRCC provides an estimate, however, those times change constantly and of course, each application is unique.
If you wish to track the progress of your application personally, the acknowledgement from IRCC and the website states that you are required to create an account and link your application to track the progress of your application. Normally IRCC will notify us as the representative along with the applicant of the any progress in the application process. We have experienced situations in the past where applicants have linked their account and we then no longer receive emails from IRCC. Updates are sent to the applicant directly. This is not an issue as long as our client keeps us informed of the correspondence as they receive it.
As you can see, an application for Permanent Residence presents many hurdles. In many respects the application requirements are deceptively simple. However, each application is complex and requires a good understanding of the law, our client’s situation, IRCC’s requirements and technical understanding.
The lawyers at the Law Office of Kalina & Tejpal have the expertise to assist you with your application for Permanent Residence in Canada. We can be reached at (416) 900-6999.