Operational Bulletin 486 - December 17, 2012

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Global Launch of Electronic Applications (e-Apps) for Temporary Residents


The global launch of Electronic Applications (e-Apps) (also known as Online Submission of Applications (OSAP)) for Temporary Resident programs will take place on December 15, 2012. This Operational Bulletin (OB) provides information on changes and procedures for both in-Canada and visa offices abroad.


E-Apps will provide clients worldwide with an additional option to submit an application for a Temporary Resident Visa, Study Permit or Work Permit using the Come to Canada WizardFootnote 1 and the MyCIC portal. E-Apps moves all of the information submitted with an application into an electronic format. This will help Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to manage its workload more efficiently by allowing the Department to transfer temporary resident applications electronically to offices within the global network where capacity exists.


With the deployment of the Global Case Management System (GCMS) Release 4.0 for e-Apps on December 15, 2012, applicants for Temporary Resident Visas, Visitor Extensions, Study and Work Permits, whether they are in Canada or abroad, will be able to submit their applications electronically. Applicants will be able to pay online, submit their applications online and upload their supporting documents. Applicants for other lines of business such as permanent residence, permanent resident travel documents and temporary resident permits, are not eligible to apply online at this time.

The new e-Apps system will not be mandatory. All clients will still be able to submit paper applications to a Case Processing Centre (CPC), visa office or Visa Application Centre (VAC). E-Apps complements the global roll-out of GCMS and allows CIC to be more efficient, cost-effective, and innovative in leveraging the global network of offices and decision makers. It will also provide clients with consistent information which will assist them in completing their application correctly. This standardization will reduce errors that can cause processing delays and assist the Department in achieving its service standard goals.

Since 2009, in-Canada applicants have been able to apply online for Study and Work Permits, as well as extend visitor status using the current e-Application system which directly feeds into the CPC System. In addition, since 2011, the Visa Exempt Study Permit Abroad (VESPA) program has been available to applicants from fourteen visa-exempt and medically-exempt countries. The former e-Apps will be phased out with the introduction of the new, global e-Apps program. With the launch of the new e-Apps, applicants from all countries will be given the option to apply using the new online system and therefore the VESPA pilot program effectively ends.


The old system used to process original e-Apps and upload to the CPC system, will be phased out. Clients will not be able to initiate a new application in the current form after December 14, 2012; however, they will have 60 days to complete and submit an application they started prior to the release of the new e-Apps version.

While individual clients will no longer have access to the old electronic system after December 14, 2012, authorized paid representatives will continue to have access to the old system until the new Third Party Portal is fully operational. The old portal will be phased out in due course.

NOTE: This transition does not apply to the Electronic Notification System (ENS). Clients who wish to apply for an Off-Campus Work Permit (OCWP) will continue submitting Eligibility Verification Number (EVN) requests to the Designated Institutional Representatives using ENS. Once their EVN request is approved, they will need to go through the Come to Canada Wizard (Wizard) and MyCIC to submit their OCWP application electronically.

Requirements for clients to use the new e-apps

In order to use e-Apps, applicants must meet ALL of the following requirements:

  • Be able to pay the application fee via the e-Payment system (credit card only – no payment at a financial institution). For example, some countries do not permit their citizens to use a credit card that can make an international transaction for the fee; therefore, unless they have someone to pay on their behalf, they would have to submit a paper application by mail or through a VAC.
  • Have a valid email address.
  • Have access to a scanner or camera to make electronic images of their documents, which can be uploaded to their computer. Clients may scan documents (up to 4 MB/file) in the following file formats: PNG, DOC, DOCX, JPEG and PDF. These requirements are outlined in the online instructions to the client.
  • E-Apps can support up to 6 family members in one MyCIC submission. Families of more than 6 persons should make two submissions or apply on paper.
  • Online applications must be completed in English or French. If the application is submitted in any other language, it will be refused. Documentation issued in any language other than Canada’s official languages, must be submitted with an official English or French translation.
  • Applicants under the age of 16, who wish to use the online application, will require a Parent or Legal Guardian to submit the online application on their behalf through the Parent or Legal Guardian's MyCIC Account. The signature is recorded in the e-Application system and then inserted into the Notes area of GCMS under the client’s application. The 2 Dimensional (2D) Bar Code application form contains the child’s personal information and therefore the Temporary Resident Visa/Study Permit will be issued based on this information.

NOTE: For those applicants who do not meet the requirements to apply online, the Come to Canada Wizard will direct them to apply on paper to the appropriate office.

NOTE: Applicants, who require a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), are not eligible to use e-Apps as this line of business is not yet supported by e-Apps. It is anticipated that TRP applicants will be able to apply online in a future GCMS Release.

Steps for online processing

Steps pertaining to applicant’s process

  1. Clients will complete a series of questions in the Come to Canada Wizard. Based on the client’s answers, the Wizard will determine in which category they may be eligible to apply. Applicants are then asked to answer some very specific questions that will generate a tailored, streamlined document checklist which the applicant will need to follow whether submitting an online or paper application. The document checklist will request applicants to provide standard documents, such as the relevant 2D barcode application form (completed and validated), a digital ID photo, and a scan of their passport (bio-data page and all non-blank pages). They will also be requested to provide supporting documents specific to the category for which they will be applying, and will also have the option to provide one additional document if needed.
  2. The system will ask the applicant to verify they meet the minimum requirements to submit their applications online. For those clients who are able to submit an online application, they will be provided a Personal Checklist Code (PCC). NOTE: Families may apply together using one MyCIC account. However, due to system constraints, a maximum of 6 family members may apply under one MyCIC account. Delegations of visitors, performing artists, business associates, sporting personnel and other groups are not able to apply together using e-Apps because online accounts may only be held by an individual. Groups who are eligible for a group fee may wish to apply on paper.
  3. Clients submitting an online application for the first time will be directed to register and log in using the secure “GCKey” or “Sign-in Partner” (a.k.a.: Secure Concierge) AND then enrol in their MyCIC account. With any subsequent visit, the client will only have to log into GCKey or Sign-in Partner to access MyCIC. See Appendix A for further information on MyCIC, GCKey and Sign-in Partner.
  4. Applicants will complete and upload the application forms and supporting documents to CIC, according to the document checklist which was generated in Step 1 above. Should they not be able to complete the application right away, they will have 60 days to complete their application and submit all of the required documents.
  5. Once the application is complete, applicants will be required to provide their credit card information to pay the applicable fees to the Receiver General of Canada portal. Applicants will then be automatically directed back to their MyCIC account. Clients who are fee exempt, and can upload proof of why they are fee exempt (i.e. an explanation), will bypass the e-Payment step.
  6. Once they submit their application, clients will receive an instant confirmation of receipt. Subsequently, they will automatically receive an acknowledgement of receipt generated by GCMS which contains their application number. The date and time of transmission of the client’s application will be the date and time that CIC receives the online application in Eastern Standard Time (EST).
  7. When an e-Application is submitted, the system will send the online application form with the 2D barcode information directly to the appropriate fields within GCMS. This will help minimize data entry at offices.

No paper file will be created for these online applications as documents, letters and final decisions will all be saved and recorded in GCMS.

Questions and answers

Q: What do clients do if they have a technical problem in completing their online application?

A: Clients with technical difficulties may contact CIC from within the secure environment (MyCIC) by clicking on the “Share with CIC” link if they are having trouble with their online submission.

Q: What happens if visa offices receive an unsolicited passport?

A: Applicants will be instructed during the processing of their application to NOT send in their passport until CIC requests them to send it in. Applicants will be instructed on the website where to send their passport and to print the letter instructing them to send it with their passport. Should a visa office receive an unsolicited passport, the passport should be returned to the applicant. The preferred method to return the passport will be for the client to prepay for the courier to send it back.

Q: Can groups apply together submitting one application through the new e-Apps?

A: As noted earlier, a maximum of 6 family members may apply together using one MyCIC account. Independent groups (e.g. Seasonal Agricultural Workers, tourist/musical/sporting groups, etc.) CANNOT apply together through e-Apps and must apply by paper application to CIC/VAC (as applicable), or individually by e-Apps should they wish to be assessed individually.

Q: Why are we not requiring all applicants to use e-Apps?

A: There are several countries where clients are unable to pay online, or where internet infrastructure may not be robust enough to make it practical. Treasury Board also has policies which require departments to offer access to government programs for persons who have special needs.

Q: What about VESPA (Visa Exempt Study Permit Abroad) applicants? Will there be a special process for these applicants?

A: As noted earlier, since May 2011 applicants from 14 designated countries (visa and medically exempt) have been using the original e-Apps to process their applications. With the launch of the new e-Apps, applicants from all countries will be given the option to apply using the new online system and therefore the VESPA pilot program effectively ends.

Appendix A – Online resources for clients

  • CIC’s Online Help Centre: www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/index-can.asp
  • CIC’s Online Services: www.cic.gc.ca/english/e-services/index.asp
  • Come to Canada (C2C) Wizard: www.cic.gc.ca/cometocanada is available within MyCIC or on CIC’s website. The Wizard simplifies the application process by helping applicants decide which CIC programs they are eligible to apply for and which documents they need to submit. The Wizard does this by asking applicants a series of questions and, based on the answers, it provides the best option(s) for them including a checklist of information and documents to submit. It also explains the process of submission and for clients who can apply online, the C2C is a gateway into the online application.
  • GCKey and Secure Key Concierge: The security and protection of confidential client information is CIC’s highest priority when offering services over the Internet. The Government of Canada has introduced a new service called Sign-In Partner (SecureKey Concierge), which allows users to use their online banking credentials to access Government services online. Users can now use either GCKey or Sign-In Partner (SecureKey Concierge) to access online services. In order to achieve this, CIC has enhanced its procedures for accessing CIC secure online services and have included registering for a Government of Canada secure credential at: www.cic.gc.ca/english/e-services/mycic.asp. An overview of SecureKey Concierge is explained here at: http://securekeyconcierge.com or by looking at the following video: http://youtu.be/kSJXuhD2tvo
  • MyCIC: www.cic.gc.ca/english/e-services/mycic.asp is the interface that CIC clients can use to submit an application electronically (e-App) through a secure channel. Through their personalized portal, clients can pay for and submit applications online, including supporting documents that have been scanned, and then receive information from CIC relating to their online applications. MyCIC will be the point of contact when communicating with the client (e.g. Acknowledgement of Receipt and processing times) and requesting documentation (e.g. passport submission) when processing the application. Should the reviewing officer require additional information, the client will receive requests and, when applicable, the decision through their MyCIC account.

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