General Questions

Who is an immigrant?

This form is for a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident who wants to sponsor close family members (i.e. spouse, common-law partner, dependent children, parents, or grandparents) for Canadian Immigration. If you have a more distant relative or friends living in Canada, please select the General Immigration form to find out whether there is a provincial program under which your relative may qualify.

What is a Canadian Immigrant Visa?

A Canadian Immigrant Visa is a legal document that enables a person to live and work anywhere in Canada.

What are the categories of immigrants?

To date, the Immigration Act and attendant Regulations defines several categories of immigrants. They are independent immigrants, entrepreneurs, investors, self-employed persons, family class, assisted relatives and convention refugees

Who can qualify as an independent immigrant to Canada?

Any person who demonstrates specific occupational skills and experience may qualify as an independent immigrant. However, in order to qualify these skills must be readily transferable to the Canadian labour market. Therefore, we would ask that you complete our free informal assessment form in order to see if you qualify.

Does it matter if I am an illegal resident in the country from which I am applying?

To date, the general procedural guidelines advise immigration officers that they cannot refuse to process applications from applicants without lawful permission to be in the country where they reside. This includes Canada.

What if I have a relative already in Canada?

If you possess a close relative living in Canada it will increase your chances of a successful application. However, the relative must be a permanent resident or Canadian citizen aged 19 or over, and he/she must be a “close relative” as defined in our assessment form. It should be noted that you will be required to provide documentation to prove the relationship.

Is it true that the Canadian Immigration Act and its Regulations will be changing?

Immigration Laws, Regulations, and policies are always subject to change. We are advised that in the year 2000 there were proposed changes tabled before the Canadian Parliament. Since that date, there have been ongoing discussions to make the selection criteria more compatible with the Canadian labour market. The effect of these changes will vary considerably but we are confident that it may open more doors to applicants who may not of previously qualified under the present Immigration Laws and Regulations.

Do I need to hire a paralegal, lawyer or legal representative to complete my forms and advise me on my application?

No. However, their expertise can be invaluable and make the difference between an approval and refusal of your application form given their extensive knowledge of the Immigration Act and its attendant Regulations.

What is the difference between using a Canadian-based representative and a foreign-based representative?

A foreign-based representative(s) may be outside the reach of Canadian law. Consequently, there may be no protection or recourse available in Canada to you if you are dissatisfied with their services. Additionally, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will only provide information on your file to representatives who are either: Canadian citizens permanent residents of Canada or physically present in Canada. In your decision making process you should also consider that there are several associations and/or societies in Canada, that either govern or oversee Canadian-based companies, paralegal or attorneys. Consequently, you may lodge a complaint against the legal representative and they will investigate the complaint(s). Failing an adequate response from the representative, these associations etc. can take disciplinary measures and/or impose discipline and provide financial compensations to clients who are victims of negligence or misconduct. All in all, by using a Canadian based legal representative there are recourses available in Canada to a dissatisfied client from oversees.

How do I retain Canadian Immigration Council to represent me?

In order for our office to determine whether or not you can retain us, we would kindly ask that you complete our informal assessment form so that we may determine your eligibility.

What about common-law spouses and same-sex partners?

Canadien citizens and permanent resident living in Canada, 18 years of age old or older, may sponsor a person as your common law partner if that person is of the opposite or same sex, has cohabited in a conjugal relationship with you for a period of at least one year and is still cohabiting with you. You can also sponsor a person as a conjugal partner if that person is residing outside Canada and you have maintains with this person a conjugal relationship for at least one year, but you have not cohabited with him or her. You should be aware that if your sponsorship is successful, your conjugal partner becomes a permanent resident of Canada but cannot exercise any rights or privileges associated with common law status until you have cohabited for at least one year. In both cases, you must provide financial support for three years from the date at which that person became a permanent resident.


Application Procedure

Do I have to pay a processing fee?

At present, an applicant must pay a non-refundable processing fee to cover the cost of processing of the application. Once an application has been accepted, you will be required to pay a Right of Landing Fee (ROLF) for every adult aged 19 or over in your family. The (ROLF) fee is refundable only if an immigrant visa is not issued or used, or if you withdraw your application or if your application is refused. This fee (ROLF) can be paid at any time during the application process, but an immigrant Visa will not be issued until this fee has been paid. Additionally, you will have to pay other fees such as those related to obtaining a medical examination and a police certificate. For more information, please refer to the FAQ’s regarding government processing fees.

How long does an application take to process?

Processing times vary depending upon the immigration processing posts where your application is submitted. The average processing time of all visa offices is approximately 18 months for applications where a selection interview is required. However, processing times can range between six (6) and 42 months.

Who must complete an IMM 0008 Application for Permanent Residence to Canada?

Every person who is 18 years of age or over must complete an IMM 0008 Application for Permanent Residence form. As a norm, this would include your spouse, any dependants not accompanying you that are 18 years of age and older or any dependants who have been enrolled and attending full-time academic, professional or vocational program at a university, college or other educational institution. It is imperative that their enrolment and attendance be continuous since they attained 19 years of age and they have been wholly or substantially supported by their parents financially since.

What happens if I do not have sufficient space on the application form?

If you need more space to answer any of the questions, attach separate page(s).

Who should be the principal applicant?

We would ask that both you and your spouse (if applicable) complete our free informal assessment form. Once our office assesses your form, we will select the person whose application will have the best chances of success and advise you accordingly.

Who can I include in my application?

If you are married, your spouse and children are included in your application as a dependent. This would also include all dependent children whether they are accompanying you to Canada or not.

Who is a dependent son or daughter?

Dependent children must be:

Under the age of 22 and not a spouse or common law partner, or

Have depended substantially on the financial support of a parent and have been continuously involved on a attendance as full time students in a post-secondary institution accredit by the relevant government authority since before the age of 22 (or since becoming a spouse or a common law partner, if they married or entered into a common law relationship before the age of 22),


Have depended substantially on the financial support of a parent since before the age of 22 and unable to provide for themselves due to a medical condition.
I have children from a previous relationship. Do I have to include them in my application form if they are not living with me?
Yes. You should list these children on your application form even if they will not be accompanying you to Canada. If you have a custody arrangement, you should provide copies of the custody documents.

Do I have to include my dependents that will not accompany me to Canada?

Yes. You must include all of your dependents regardless of whether or not they will accompany you to Canada. Also, each dependent aged 18 years of age and over must complete his/her own application form. All of your dependents, whether they will accompany you to Canada or not, must pass medical examinations and background checks.

Where must my application be submitted?

Applicants may submit their application to any of the International Region’s points of service. They are not required to reside or have an address in the area served by the office where they apply. Once your file has been completed, our office will determine which processing posts have the quickest times and advise you accordingly so that you may decide which post is most convenient to your needs. However, it should be noted that non-resident applicants might involve more steps and take longer than resident applications.

Can I transfer my application to a different visa office after it has been submitted?

You can transfer your application to a different visa office after it has been submitted. The transfer of an application to a different visa office takes anywhere from 6-8 weeks to occur and an additional processing fee will be required. Please note that the processing of the file will begin again at the new visa office.

What documents should I submit in support of my application for permanent residence?

As a norm, we ask that you include documents that prove your civil status, employment, education and assets. Additionally, you will be required to provide proof that you have had no past criminal activity. Every visa office has specific requirements regarding the submission of supporting documentation. Therefore, our office will instruct you accordingly.

Do I require a valid passport or travel document?

Yes. Everyone included in the application, including the applicant, must have valid passports or travel documents. If your passport or travel document are due to expire soon, you should renew them. Note that diplomatic, official, service or public affairs passports cannot be used to immigrate to Canada. You must have a valid regular or private passport when you arrive. The validity of your visa may be affected by the validity of your passport.

What language must my documents be in?

Presently, Canada has two official languages. Consequently, all supporting documentation that is in a language other than English or French must be accompanied by an English or French translation by a certified translator.

Do I need to submit the supporting documentation all at once?

Each visa office has specific timing requirements. However, we ask that you provide most of the supporting documents at the same time as your completed application forms and processing fees.

What should I do if during the course of processing my applications, the information contained in the initial application form has changed or is outdated?

If any information changes before you arrive in Canada, you must inform our office in writing and we will inform the visa office of the change. This rule applies even if your visa has already been issued.


Medical Examination

Is there a medical requirement for immigrating to Canada?

Yes. Both you and your dependents, whether accompanying you to Canada or not, must undergo and pass a medical examination. To pass the medical examination you or your dependents must not have a condition that is considered a danger to public health or safety or would cause excessive demand on health or social services in Canada. The medical examination consists of a standard physical examination, blood tests, urine tests, and x-rays.

I am presently pregnant. Do I still have to undergo the medical examination?

No. For safety reasons, x-rays are not taken of pregnant applicants until after the baby has been born. The mother and infant will undergo medical examinations at such time.

Can my own doctor do the medical examination?

No. A physician on Canada’s list of Designated Medical Practitioners (DMPs) must complete the examination. Our office will provide you with a list of practitioners in your area.

Will I receive a copy of the medical report and the result of the medical examination?

No. All medical reports and x-rays for the Immigration Medical Examination become the property of the Canadian Immigration Medical Authorities and cannot be returned to the applicant. The designated medical practitioner will not advise you of the results of the medical. However, he/she will advise you if you have a health-related problem. It is at the discretion of the visa officer and not the practitioner to make the final decision on whether or not a medical examination has been passed for immigration purposes. The visa office will inform our office in writing should there be a problem with your medical examination.

For how long is the medical examination valid?

The medical examination is valid for 12 months from the date of the first medical examination. If your visa is not processed in this time, you must undergo another complete medical examination at your own expense.

Do all my family members require a medical examination?

Yes. All of your dependents who are not already permanent residents or Canadian citizens, whether they will accompany you to Canada or not, must undergo a medical examination.

What if my children are studying abroad and cannot return home for their immigration medical examination for another six months and I do not want to delay my application. What should I do?

Whenever possible, the same practitioner should perform the medical examination of all family members. If this is not possible, advise our office immediately and we will make the necessary arrangements with the visa office to have their medical examinations completed by a practitioner closer to their place of study.

My non-accompanying dependent is unwilling to undergo a medical examination. Is it possible to have him/her exempted?

It may be possible to have said dependent exempted. However, this dependent will not be eligible for subsequent sponsorship as a member of the Family Class.

What does “excessive demand” or whether my ailment would place an excessive demand on Canada’s health or social services mean?

This simply means that if your application were accepted there would be a significant burden placed on Canada’s health or social services due to ongoing hospitalization or medical, social or institutional care for physical or mental illnesses, or special education or training. Applicants may be denied admittance to Canada due to the high costs of their care and/or dependants. The factors considered during the medical assessment include whether or not hospitalization or medical, social or institutional care is required and whether potential employability or productivity could be affected by accepting your application. For example, a person with a serious disease or psychiatric disorder that would require ongoing care or hospitalization may be inadmissible because their requirements would place “excessive demand” on the Canadian health-care system.


Police Clearance

What is police clearance?

All independent applicants and their dependants must meet Canadian immigration requirements in order to be admissible to Canada. Consequently, every family member included in the application aged 18 to 60 requires an original Police Certificate/Clearance from every country where he/she has resided for a period of six months or more. As a norm, your admissibility will be established through your police certificate and background reports and will evidence that you have no criminal record.

Who has to undergo police clearance?

The applicant as well as all dependents aged 18 to 60 years must undergo police clearance and pass background checks.

What is a background check?

The Canadian Government performs a background clearance or check. It enables the government to identify person(s) who are, or have been, involved in espionage and/or terrorism. It is separate and distinct to a police clearance.

When do I submit the police clearance?

The timing for the submission of documents will vary from visa office to visa office but it is always best to begin obtaining the documents immediately.

I have a criminal record but I was very young and irresponsible at the time of the offense. Is there anything that I can do about this?

Yes. If you have had no criminal activity for at least five years since the offence, our office can file an additional application form and request that the Minister of Citizenship & Immigration Canada grant you a pardon, if necessary, or approval due to the fact that you are rehabilitated.

My police department has refused to issue me a report. What should I do?

If for some reason, the police in a particular country refuse to issue said clearance you should request and forward to our office a written statement from the police stating the reason (s) why they refused to issue the clearance. Upon receipt, our office will inform the visa office and request that they waive this requirement due to the circumstances.


Interview Selection

Do my family members and I need to attend an interview?

After review of your application, a visa officer will review your application and decide if an interview is necessary. If it is determined that you require a selection interview, you will be informed of the time and place. Your spouse and dependent children aged 18 or over may be asked to accompany you to the interview.

What kind of questions will I be asked by the immigration officer?

During the interview process, the visa officer will ask about your job, work experience, education, reasons for migrating, plans and preparations. The officer may also ask you questions about your family, spouse and/or dependents, or about your health, financial situation, or past difficulties with the law. There may also be questions to determine your ability to settle successfully in Canada etc. Upon notification of an interview date, our office will fully prepare you for the upcoming interview with a respective immigration officer.

When can I anticipate having a selection interview?

Obviously this would depend on how many applications are received before yours at the visa office and which visa office has your file. The delay could range anywhere from 4 to 30 months to be called to a selection interview.

Why are some interviews waived?

Applications, which contain detailed supporting documentation, increase the chances of an interview waiver. However, even though your interview is waived, an immigration officer may still call you to interview.