Accepting applications

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.

This section defines when an application is considered complete, when it is filed, and when it is considered received, as well as procedures to follow for unsigned applications.

For applications received at the Case Processing Centre in Sydney (CPC-S) before June 11, 2015

The date a person signs the application form is the date of filing. Where the date on an application is more than three months old (90 calendar days) when received (staledated) or where the date is a date in the future (postdated), the application will be treated as if it is unsigned. An unsigned application is not a duly completed application and will be returned to the applicant.

Additional background information

The Citizenship Act and the Citizenship Regulations do not define what constitutes a filing date and the Federal Court of Canada has emphasized the necessity for a clear “lock-in” date (i.e., the date on which an application was received which is when it is determined to be complete). This jurisprudence, and CIC's own need to provide clarity, creates the basis for which the following guidelines are used for the acceptance of a citizenship application.

Section 13 of the Act sets out that an application is to be accepted for processing only if certain conditions are met. In order to be considered complete and therefore be accepted for processing, an application must

  • be made in the form and manner and at the place required;
  • include the required information; and
  • be accompanied by any required fees and supporting evidence.

For example, one of the required forms that an application must take is that it must be a signed application form, which is submitted with the requisite fee and mandatory documents. Unsigned applications would therefore be returned to the applicant because they are not in the form and manner required. For the purposes of processing a citizenship application, the “lock-in” date is the date that a completed application is date stamped as received and determined to be complete at the CPC-S.

All applications received are checked upfront for completeness, and when the CPC-S receives an incomplete application (e.g., without the requisite fee and/or without the required documents), the mailroom staff will

  • not allocate the paid fees to the processing of the application;
  • not record any data in the Global Case Management System (GCMS);
  • return the entire application package to the applicant with a notice letter indicating what information or document is missing in their application. Two options will be offered to them:
    1. resubmit the application with the missing information or documents, or
    2. request the refund of the fees paid if the applicant no longer wishes to submit their application.

For applications received at the CPC-S on or after June 11, 2015

An application must be complete to be accepted for processing and is considered complete only if all of the following conditions are satisfied:

  • the application is made in the form and manner and at the place required;
  • it includes the required information;
  • it is accompanied by any supporting evidence and fees.

The date a person signs the application form is the date of filing. It is important to note that this is not the date on which the application is determined to be complete and accepted for processing. Where the date on an application is more than three months old (90 calendar days) when received (staledated), or where the date is a date in the future (postdated), the application will be treated as if it is unsigned. An unsigned application is not a duly completed application and will be returned to the applicant. See also the transitional provisions.

Additional background information

The Act and Regulations do not define what constitutes a filing date and the Federal Court of Canada has emphasized the necessity for a clear “lock-in” date (i.e., the date on which an application was received which is when it is determined to be complete). This jurisprudence, and CIC's own need to provide clarity, creates the basis for which the following guidelines are used for the acceptance of a citizenship application.

Section 13 of the Act sets out that an application is only to be accepted for processing if certain conditions are met. In order to be considered complete and therefore be accepted for processing, an application must

  • be made in the form and manner and at the place required;
  • include the required information; and
  • be accompanied by any required fees and supporting evidence.

For example, one of the required forms that an application must take is that it must be a signed application form, which is submitted with the requisite fee and mandatory documents. Unsigned applications would therefore be returned to the applicant because they are not in the form and manner required. For the purposes of processing a citizenship application, the “lock-in” date is the date that a completed application is date stamped as received, and determined to be complete at the CPC-S.

All applications received are checked upfront for completeness, and when the CPC-S receives an application without the requisite fee and/or without the required documents, the mailroom staff will

  • not allocate the paid fees to the processing of the application;
  • not record any data in GCMS;
  • return the entire application package to the applicant with a notice letter indicating what information or document is missing in their application. Two options will be offered to them:
    1. resubmit the application with the missing information or document; or
    2. request the refund of the fees paid if the applicant no longer wishes to submit their application.

Guidelines

Using the same application

It is not necessary for the applicant to submit a new application kit or to re-sign and redate an application every time an application is returned for incompleteness. If an application is signed and dated, not postdated or staledated, it is considered “locked-in” on the date that it is originally signed and dated. The filing date is used to maintain, for example, the original residence calculation. Therefore, the applicant(s) must provide the missing information and/or documentation and resubmit the same application.

Note: Applications submitted on a pre-June 2015 version of the form will only be accepted as complete for processing if they were received as complete prior to June 11, 2015. Applications that are returned as incomplete on or after June 11, 2015, must be resubmitted on a June 2015 or post-June 2015 version of the form. For additional information, see the transitional provisions.

Family applications

A family application package will be returned if at least one application is incomplete.  All applications in the package considered complete at the first submission will not need to be updated and may be resubmitted as is.

Applications submitted from outside Canada

Canadian citizens living outside Canada and the United States can submit applications for proof, search and renunciation to the CPC-S through the consular mission abroad.  Applications are checked upfront for completeness, and when the consular mission receives an incomplete application in person or by mail (e.g., without the requisite fee and/or without the required documents), the mission will

  • not allocate the paid fees to the processing of the application;
  • not record basic data in the mission's system;
  • return the entire application package to the applicant with a notice letter indicating what information or documents is missing in their application. The applicant will be offered two options:
    • to resubmit the application with the missing information, documents or fees, or
    • to request the refund of fees paid if the applicant no longer wishes to submit their application.

Once the mission determines that the application is complete, it is forwarded to the CPC-S by diplomatic bag for decision.

Determining the date the application is accepted

The Minister accepts the application when it is

  • received by mail at the CPC-S and deemed complete as it is in the required form and manner, includes all the required information and is accompanied by all the required documents and fees; or
  • received by a consular official acting on behalf of CIC at overseas missions and is deemed completed.

Staledated applications

An application is staledated when the Minister receives the application 91 days after the signature date indicated on the form. Staledated applications are returned to the applicant at the time the kit is received.

Postdated applications

An application is postdated when the Minister receives the application before the date indicated on the form. Postdated applications are returned to the applicant at the time the kit is received.

Transitional provisions resulting from the fee increase (effective January 1, 2015)

If an application is returned, the CPC-S will attach a notice providing information on the citizenship fee increase to the letter explaining the reason for the return.

Procedures

  1. If an application is received on or after January 1, 2015, and is incomplete (including complete applications with insufficient fees), the application will be returned to the applicant with the return letter and the information on the fee increase. The applicant will be required to resubmit the application with the new processing fee.
  2. If an application is received on or after January 1, 2015, with the new processing fee included, but is incomplete, the application will be returned to the applicant with the return letter. There is no need to include information on the fee increase for cases where applicants have provided the new fee.
  3. If an application initially received before January 1, 2015, was returned to the applicant because the application was incomplete and was subsequently received by the CPC-S as a complete application before January 1, 2015, it will be processed using the old processing fee.
  4. If an application initially received before January 1, 2015, was returned to the applicant because it was incomplete and is subsequently received by the CPC-S as a complete application on or after January 1, 2015, it will require the new processing fee. If the new fee is not included, the application will be returned to the applicant due to insufficient fees. See scenario 1 above for how to proceed.
  5. If family applications initially received before January 1, 2015, were returned because one or more applications were incomplete and they are subsequently received by the CPC-S as complete applications on or after January 1, 2015, only those applications that were initially determined to be incomplete will be subject to the new processing fee. The applications that were determined to be complete before January 1, 2015, will be subject to the old processing fee. The CPC-S will return all family members’ applications and include the return letter and information on the fee increase for the application(s) that require the new fee. The CPC-S will also advise those applicants whose applications are complete but are being returned with their family members that they do not require the increased fee.

It is important to accurately populate the “Date Received” field in GCMS as this field will be used to charge the applicant the appropriate fee. For all applications that are subject to the old fee, it is essential that the date received reflects a date before January 1, 2015.

Procedures

Unsigned and/or undated applications

  1. The kit, forms, documents and Integrated Payment Revenue Management System (IPRMS) receipt are returned to the applicant with a letter.
  2. The letter indicates that unsigned and/or undated applications cannot be accepted into processing and instructs the applicant to complete a new application form and to check the website for current acceptable form version and requirements if they choose to resubmit an application.

Staledated applications

  1. The kit, forms, documents and IPRMS receipt are returned to the applicant with a letter.
  2. The letter indicates that applications dated more than 90 calendar days prior to receipt cannot be accepted into processing and instructs the applicant to complete a new application and to check the website for current acceptable form version and requirements, if they choose to resubmit an application.

Postdated applications

  1. The kit, forms, documents and IPRMS receipt are returned to the applicant with a letter.
  2. The letter indicates applications dated after the date of mailing cannot be accepted into processing and instructs the applicant to complete a new application and to check the website for current acceptable form version and requirements if they choose to resubmit an application.

Transitional provisions resulting from the coming into force of the Citizenship Act [June 11, 2015]

Note: This applies to applications received at the CPC-S on or after June 11, 2015.

All applications are date-stamped on the day they are received by the CPC-S; this date stamp will determine whether the application is subject to the requirements of the former or current legislation. For example, if the date the application is received is the day before the new law comes into force (before June 11, 2015), the application is considered “locked-in” as part of the inventory and governed by the law as it read before June 11, 2015. Therefore, if an application was received at the CPC-S prior to June 11, 2015, and is deemed complete, it will be processed under former requirements in addition to any new requirements which the transitional provisions clearly specify are also applicable to applications in the inventory. These retroactive (backward-looking) provisions will be followed up on by the local office, and include

  • prohibition for foreign criminality;
  • no unfulfilled permanent residence conditions; and
  • misrepresentation.

All applications received at the CPC-S on or after June 11, 2015, must comply with the new requirements under the Act.

If an application is received at the CPC-S on or after June 11, 2015, but an old version of the form (predating the June 2015 version) was used, the application will be returned to the applicant with the Incompleteness/Return Letter and will include information on the new requirements. The applicant will be required to submit the new application form [June 2015 version] along with any required documents or reapply when they are able to meet the new requirements.

If an application initially received before June 11, 2015, was returned to the applicant because it was incomplete and is subsequently received at the CPC-S as a complete application on or after June 11, 2015, the new requirements will also apply. The application will accordingly be returned to the applicant with the Incompleteness/Return Letter and will include information on the new requirements. The applicant will be required to submit the new application form [June 2015 version] along with any required documents or to reapply when they are able to meet the new requirements.

The Incompleteness/Return Letter is to be used only by the CPC-S.

Family group applications

The following procedures will apply to family group applications received at the CPC-S

  • before June 11, 2015, that have not yet been checked for completeness;
  • on or after June 11, 2015.

The CPC-S will continue to return all of the applications included in the family group if any of these applications are incomplete (i.e., incomplete applications along with complete applications when applicants are applying as a family group).

When returning applications, the CPC-S will include a special notice insert stipulating that any applicant with an incomplete application must meet the new requirements under the new legislation and complete a new application form [June 2015 version].

Applicants with complete applications will have a maximum of 90 calendar days to resubmit their previously completed applications to be processed under the previous legislation. These applicants will be given the following options:

  • resubmit their application along with the previously incomplete family members’ applications if the family members meet the new requirements;
  • resubmit their application without those previously incomplete family members’ applications who do not meet the new requirements; or
  • not resubmit their previously completed applications and wait to reapply under new legislation when all family group members meet the new requirements.

The family members whose applications were incomplete will be required to submit new application forms [June 2015 version] along with required documents or to reapply when they are able to meet the new requirements.

Where a family group file contains a combination of pre- and post-new legislation applications, the CPC-S will flag this to the local office by completing two File Requirements Checklists (FRC). The pre-new legislation FRC will be used for applications to be processed under previous legislation and the post-new legislation FRC for applications to be processed under new legislation.

The date an application is signed will continue to be used to determine residence and prohibition requirements.

Instructions for local offices

The task of identifying new and existing inventories of applications is left to the local offices. As indicated above, the CPC-S will identify only files received on or after June 11, 2015, when there is a family group file that contains a combination of pre- and post-new legislation applications. Therefore, local offices will need to ensure that they have procedures in place to identify new and existing applications, based on the received date (according to the date stamped by the CPC-S) to ensure applications are assessed against the applicable legislation. For example, local offices could use a tag or sticker to identify files received post-new legislation.

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