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Quality Assurance When Applying for Canadian Citizenship

Excel in the Quality Assurance Exercise: be honest, pass the test and attend the interview! This article will show you how.

Background

According to the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, “Report 2 – Detecting and Preventing Fraud in the Citizenship Program,” Spring 2016 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada, Ottawa, 2016, pp. 1 and 2 citizenship fraud cases accumulated to an extreme extent.

The Department had about 700 revocation cases pending in January 2016Fraud related to residency, identity, or undeclared criminal proceedings are the three most common reasons for revoking citizenship.

Residency fraud “involves pretending to live in Canada to maintain permanent resident status and meet residency requirements for citizenship.” In 2012, IRCC issued a public warning that nearly 11,000 persons were linked to residency fraud investigations.

Risk indicators include problem address, specific travel patterns, family characteristics and adverse information.

Finally, people who acquired citizenship by fraudulent means may have their citizenship revoked by the Government of Canada.

Report 2—Detecting and Preventing Fraud in the Citizenship Program

Audit at a Glance

Quality Assurance Program

IRCC’s quality assurance (QA) program randomly chooses citizenship applications for a special review. If chosen, an IRCC official will request further supporting documents and interview you to verify:

  • your identity,
  • that your information is accurate, and
  • that your documentation is authentic.

Per s. 23.1 Citizenship Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-29) every applicant must appear or provide any additional information and evidence by the indicated due date.

Request for Additional Evidence

When selected for the quality assurance exercise, you will be requested to provide extensive documentation. In particular, you must obtain entry/exit records, health benefit statements and fingerprints.

  1. Entry/Exit Record issued by the authorities of your country of citizenship and/or all countries of current or past (permanent or temporary) residency status other than Canada. Refer to the relevant embassy or consulate on how to obtain this record.

Foreign Representatives in Canada

UK – Request personal data held in the immigration and borders system

  1. Provincial/Territorial Personal Health Claims Summary for each province/territory you have resided in.

Canadian Health Care Services

Alberta Health Care Services

  1. Electronic Fingerprints taken by your local police service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) or an RCMP-accredited fingerprint company.

Fingerprinting Services – Canadian Citizenship

Commissionaires

Furthermore, you will have to complete the physical presence questionnaire, the consent to I-94 US arrival/departure record form and the reference form.

Timing

To ensure that you will meet all due dates, bear in mind the following two deadlines. First, the completed forms and other evidence must be received by the citizenship department within 60 days. Second, fingerprints must have been taken within 30 days.

  1. The entry/exit records tend to take 1 month to 1.5 months depending on the country. Some countries offer a fast track option that cuts the processing time in half.
  2. You should calculate about 2 weeks to get your health benefits statements depending on the province or territory.
  3. You can obtain a copy of your fingerprints the same day. Simply ask for a printout.

Advice: Most importantly, start early! Commence with the document collection that takes the longest to obtain. When necessary, ask for a time extension. In the worst case scenario, engage your Member of Parliament to receive a grant of time extension.

Tips

To avoid delay, follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Update the citizenship department with your new address, when you move.
  2. Always explain your life circumstances in your cover letter. Never assume anything.
  3. Check off the applicable boxes on the document checklist.
  4. Include all relevant documents or explain your work-in-progress status in your cover letter.
  5. Add a current letter of employment (as proof of physical presence), if applicable.
  6. Attach certified translations to all documents, passport stamps, visas and permits that are not in English or French.
  7. If you complete the forms by hand, then make a working copy before filling them in as you cannot find them online. Otherwise you could use a PDF editor.
  8. If you receive the forms double-sided, then copy them single-sided, so it is easier for the citizenship official to find them in your submission.
  9. Use Xpresspost or a courier to track your package.

Note: The absence of proof of employment can lead to further questioning about the individual’s whereabouts. For example, stay-at-home parents, retired or unemployed persons will need to look for other supporting documents to verify their account of time spent in Canada.

Summary

In a nutshell, a qualified applicant does not need to worry. Nevertheless, the applicant must submit a response containing the requested information and documentation in a timely fashion.

Lastly, future citizenship applicants are well-advised to keep all relevant evidence in a safe place. However, don’t fret when you cannot collect all the required documents. There is always a way to explain your situation well.

Processing Time

Ultimately, despite the quality assurance exercise, the Citizenship Department is sticking to similar time-lines to meet the “less than 12 months” target.

Status of Application
Application Sent: date
Application Received: 1 week
AOR: 1 month
In Process:  2 weeks
QA Request Sent: 1 week
QA Response Received:  2 months
Notice-Test Sent: 2 months
Test Date: 1 month
Decision Made:  1 month
Notice-Oath Sent:   1 month
Oath Date:   1 month
Total: approx. 10 months

Disclaimer

Information provided in this article does not constitute citizenship advice. Authorized representatives are the only individuals allowed to assist applicants with immigration and citizenship services for a fee. In addition, immigration laws, regulations, and policies are changing constantly.

If you need help with the assessment of your case, then obtain sound citizenship advice from Ms. Katharina Kontaxis, RCIC. Only with a proper case strategy can you reach your goal of Canadian citizenship.

KIS Migration offers a full range of Canadian Immigration and Citizenship Consulting Services in English, French and German. Its business model of Keeping It Simple is key to success. Everyone’s path to Canada is unique! KIS Migration assists you on your journey to Canada while making the process easy for you. Let KIS Migration help you realize YOUR Canadian Dream!

Resources

Citizenship Act

House of Commons – Committee Meeting – 2 June 2016

IRCC – Fraud and Misrepresentation

Huffington Post – Citizenship Fraud

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