Judicial review of a citizenship decision: Judicial review filed by the applicant

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

An applicant may file an application for judicial review where:

  • the decision maker or the citizenship judge refuses the application; and
  • the applicant is of the view that the decision maker or the citizenship judge may have made an error in arriving at the decision.

Applicants most commonly seek judicial review because of refused applications on the basis of not meeting the language, knowledge or residence requirements.

Step 1
Retain the applicant's file at the local citizenship office

Keep the file for a refused applicant in the local office until either:

  • the decision maker or the citizenship judge receives a notice of application for a citizenship judicial review; or
  • 180 days have elapsed since the refusal letter was sent to the applicant.
Step 2
Transmit the file to the Case Processing Centre in Sydney in the absence of a filed application for leave to seek judicial review

If there is no application for leave to seek judicial review of a refusal by the end of the 180-day period, send the applicant's file to the Case Processing Centre in Sydney (CPS-S) for file retirement and right of citizenship fee refund, if applicable.

Attach a cover note or tag indicating the date the applicant was provided with the refusal letter.

Step 3
The Federal Court grants or denies leave

If the Federal Court denies leave, the application is dismissed and proceeds no further as there is no right to appeal the leave decision.

If the Federal Court grants leave, the certified tribunal record containing photocopies of documents related to the citizenship decision must be prepared.

Step 4
The Federal Court makes a decision

The Federal Court judge who grants leave fixes the day and place for the hearing. The Federal Court hears the application for judicial review in the city closest to where the applicant resides. The applicant is notified in writing of the Federal Court decision. The decision is also communicated to the Minister.

The decision is forwarded to the Litigation Management analyst who enters a Global Case Management System (GCMS) case note indicating the results of the judicial review.

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