ARCHIVED – Operational Bulletin 476 - November 16, 2012

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Abandonment of citizenship grant applications where proof of residence has not been provided

This Operational Bulletin has expired.

Summary

This Operational Bulletin (OB) introduces procedures for abandoning citizenship applications when a completed residence questionnaire has not been provided by the applicant.

Issue

The purpose of this OB is to outline new procedures regarding the abandonment of citizenship applications where applicants have failed to provide requested documents to substantiate residence. It applies to citizenship adult grant applications.

The purpose of these new abandonment procedures is to prevent certain citizenship applications from being kept open for long periods when the applicant has not complied with requests to provide information related to residence or take the next step in the process of integrity. These new procedures will allow such cases to be closed more quickly and will in some instances allow for files to be closed before reaching the citizenship judge.

Background

Applicants for Canadian citizenship are responsible for providing all of the required information in support of their application in order for the citizenship judge to render an informed decision. The onus is on the applicant to convince the citizenship judge that the requirements for citizenship have been met.

Currently, in cases where additional information is required from an applicant in order to assess their residence in Canada (i.e. where the applicant was requested to complete a residence questionnaire (RQ) and provide evidence of residence), applicants who do not fulfil this request are scheduled for a hearing with a citizenship judge.

The abandonment procedures currently outlined in CP 13 state that abandonment can only occur in two scenarios:

  • Failure to attend a hearing with the citizenship judge after two notices (as described in subsection R11(9) of the Citizenship Regulations); and
  • Failure to attend a citizenship ceremony after one notice (as described in subsection R23(1) – this also applies to minor applicants 14 years and older).

In such cases, the application is recorded as abandoned without notifying the applicant of this administrative decision.

However, with the coming into force of amendments to the Citizenship Regulations on April 17, 2009 to support the implementation of Bill C-37 (2008), An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act, the regulations concerning documentary requirements for citizenship grants were revised. Specifically, one of the changes gave authority to require the applicant to provide evidence of residence in Canada.[Note 1]

Applicants who do not provide documentation in support of their residence in Canada (i.e. RQ and supporting evidence) do not need to be scheduled for a hearing with a citizenship judge before the application can be abandoned. They are instead subject to procedures described in section R11 (set out below).

New procedures – Effective immediately

RQ not provided when requested by the Case Processing Centre in Sydney (CPC-S)

Effective immediately, citizenship applications under subsection A5(1) can be registered as abandoned if the applicant has not responded to procedural requests to provide additional information to support their residence in Canada.

Since May 7, 2012, the CPC-S has been issuing the RQ directly to some applicants (local offices continue to issue RQs as well). Applicants are required to return their completed RQ with supporting documents to the local office responsible for processing their application.

Under R11, applicants are asked through a first notice that is sent to their latest known address to submit an RQ and supporting documents to establish residence. Applicants are given 45 business days to provide the completed RQ and supporting documents. Once the 45 business day deadline has elapsed, a one-week grace period may be given to the applicant to provide the RQ and supporting documents. After the grace period, the local office is to issue a final notice to the applicant by registered mail (or equivalent). The final notice will give the applicant an additional 30 business days to provide the RQ and supporting documents. If the applicant does not comply with CIC’s request after the 30 business days in the final notice, the local office will record the application as abandoned. Afterwards, no further action will be taken on the file. (See Annex for template letters)

A copy of the second RQ notice must be kept on file. CIC staff will enter the date on which the initial RQ letter was sent, as well as other applicant-specific information. Before mailing the second notice, the FOSS/GCMS record should be checked to verify whether or not the applicant has requested a change of address.

No-shows for a test and / or an interview with a citizenship official (Pilot procedures for 1 year)

Previously, applicants who did not show for their test and / or interview with CIC staff were scheduled for a second test/interview session or, in some cases, scheduled for a hearing with a citizenship judge.

With the introduction of OB 407 on May 7, 2012, applicants who do not attend their first scheduled test/interview event are to be scheduled for a second test/interview event.

New Pilot Procedure

If the applicant does not show for the second event, the applicant must be mailed a RQ. The objective of this approach is to recognize that there are potential residence issues for an individual who misses two scheduled events. This will allow the Department to close a significant portion of these files without the need for a hearing and without the need to review an applicant’s RQ and supporting documents.

On the other hand, in some cases the applicant will provide their RQ and supporting documents within the allotted timeframes. This means that there will be an increase in the number of files requiring RQ analysis. For this reason, the above procedures (no-shows for test/interview), will be piloted for a period of one year. This will allow the Department to determine, on the whole, the most effective method in finalizing cases falling into this scenario. Reporting on this pilot will be made possible by the use of a case note when such applications are abandoned. These pilot procedures are to begin immediately.

The notice accompanying the RQ will ask that the applicant provide their RQ and supporting documents to the local office within 45 business days. Once this period has elapsed, the applicant will be given a one week grace period. Afterwards, a final RQ notice will be sent to the applicant by registered mail (or equivalent with tracking and delivering confirmation). The final notice will give the applicant an additional 30 business days to provide their RQ and supporting documents. The final notice will also inform the applicant that their application will be closed if the RQ and required documents are not provided. If an applicant does not comply with CIC’s request after the final notice, the local office will abandon the file (see Annex for a template letter).

If the completed RQ and supporting documents are provided, current procedures for the preparation of residence cases apply (eg: the File Preparation and Analysis template is to be completed). The applicant will then be scheduled for a hearing. Immediately before the hearing, the applicant must be interviewed by a citizenship officer to complete the File Requirements Checklist. The applicant will not be asked to write the citizenship test. The citizenship judge will assess language and knowledge criteria during the hearing.

It is possible for the citizenship officer to have no concerns regarding the applicant’s residence following the applicant’s RQ submission. Such applicants must still be scheduled for a hearing. To do otherwise would be affording them a third opportunity to write the citizenship test.

Note: These procedures only apply to applicants who are mailed a second test notice as of the publishing date of this OB. They are not retroactive. Cases that are already in the local office hearing inventory can be scheduled for a hearing as per current procedure (see OB 407: procedures for certain case types).

In all cases where an application has been abandoned due to an RQ not being provided, the following case note must be added “ABANDONED-RQ NOT PROVIDED.”

Procedure for file closure in GCMS

If an applicant does not respond to CIC’s request after the second and final notice, local offices should close the file immediately in GCMS and generate a note providing the reason for file closure, thus assisting the Call Centre in case the applicant calls to obtain information regarding their application.

Returning the file to CPC-Sydney for application retirement

Before returning a file to CPC-Sydney for application retirement (and reimbursement of the right of citizenship fee), please ensure that all the appropriate steps were taken for abandonment, that notices were sent to the applicant’s latest known address, and that the steps taken have been documented on file.

Exception

Some applicants may have a valid reason for being unable to respond to requests for additional information in the prescribed period of time. If an applicant provides CIC officials with a reasonable explanation for failure to respond within requested timeframes AND provides proof or evidence to support the explanation, additional time may be granted.

Below are some acceptable and unacceptable explanations for a delay in responding to request for additional documentation. They are based on CP 13, section 6.5.

Acceptable explanations (examples):

  • Applicant must be away for an extended period to care for a dying parent.
  • Applicant is unable to appear as a result of health constraints following an illness/accident.
  • Applicant has requested documents from a third party and is waiting for these documents (such as a record of movement).
  • Other extenuating circumstances as deemed reasonable by CIC (e.g., applicant called out of country to sort out family/business affairs as a result of death in the family).

Unacceptable explanation (example)

  • Applicant lives or continually travels abroad and wants to wait until next trip to Canada.

On occasion, there may be reasons put forward by the applicant which are difficult to assess.

In some instances, the applicant may submit a completed RQ but supporting documentation is missing. If the applicant states that they are waiting for specific documents from a third party (such as records of movement), the application is not to be abandoned if the RQ is otherwise complete.


ANNEX (Second notice RQ needed)

Template letters

LAST NOTICE – Request for documentary evidence of your residence in Canada

REGISTERED MAIL

OFFICE ADDRESS FILE NUMBER

Date
Applicant name
Applicant address

Dear XXX:

In order to continue processing your application for Canadian citizenship, we require sufficient documentary evidence of your residence in Canada. The requirement to provide sufficient evidence regarding your residence in Canada can be found in paragraph 3(4)(d) of the Citizenship Regulations.

In order for this requirement to be satisfied, we require a completed residence questionnaire and supporting documentation. You were first sent a notice requesting this information on DATE (if requested in person: You were advised in person on DATE to provide this information). To date, we have not received the completed residence questionnaire or supporting documentation.

This is a final notice requesting you to provide a completed residence questionnaire and supporting documents. Please submit this information within 30 business days from the date of this letter.

Pursuant to section 11(9) of the Citizenship Regulations, if we do not receive the completed residence questionnaire and supporting documentation by DATE (30 business days after date of the letter), your application will be declared abandoned, your file will be closed  and no other action will be taken on your file.

Once your file has been closed, if you are still interested in becoming a Canadian citizen, you will need to submit a new application with new documents and fees.

Yours sincerely,

Citizenship Official – (2x test/interview no-show + RQ)

LAST NOTICE – Request for documentary evidence of your residence in Canada

REGISTERED MAIL

OFFICE ADDRESS FILE NUMBER

Date
Applicant name
Applicant address

Dear XXX:

On DATE and DATE, you were sent a notice to appear to write your citizenship test and/or to be interviewed by a citizenship official. You did not attend either of these events.

In order to continue processing your application for Canadian citizenship, we require sufficient documentary evidence of your residence in Canada. The requirement to provide sufficient evidence regarding your residence in Canada can be found in paragraph 3(4)(d) of the Citizenship Regulations.

In order for this requirement to be satisfied, we require a completed residence questionnaire and supporting documentation. You were first sent a notice requesting this information on DATE (if requested in person: You were advised on DATE to provide this information). To date, we have not received the completed residence questionnaire or supporting documentation.

This is a final notice requesting you to provide a completed residence questionnaire and supporting documents. Please submit this information within 30 business days from the date of this letter.

Pursuant to section 11(9) of the Citizenship Regulations, if we do not receive the completed residence questionnaire and supporting documentation by DATE (30 business days after date of the letter), your application will be declared abandoned, your file will be closed, and no other action will be taken on your file.

Once your file has been closed, if you are still interested in becoming a Canadian citizen, you will need to submit a new application with new documents and fees.

Yours sincerely, Citizenship Official


Footnotes

  • [1] The new regulations that require residence evidence are R3(4)(d) for adult grants, and R8(2)(f) for resumption applicants. [back to note 1]
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