Procedure: Abandonment

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.

These program delivery instructions (PDIs) are guidelines and procedures for abandonment of adult and minor grant, resumption, and renunciation applications.

Background: context, authorities and policy

Context

A person applying for Canadian citizenship is responsible for complying with all requests for necessary documentation and for other requirements such as appearing, when requested, for any event (test, interview, hearing, ceremony).

Citizenship officers are responsible for ensuring that each applicant is given ample time and opportunity to fulfill these requirements before treating an application as abandoned. Failure on the part of the applicant to respond appropriately within time standards set by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will result in the application being treated as abandoned.

Authorities

The Citizenship Act (the Act) includes specific authorities for treating applications as abandoned. The relevant provisions of the Act, introduced as part of the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, are sections A23.1 and A13.2.

23.1 The Minister may require an applicant to provide any additional information or evidence relevant to his or her application, specifying the date by which it is required. For that purpose, the Minister may require the applicant to appear in person or by any means of telecommunication to be examined before the Minister or before a citizenship judge, specifying the time and the place—or the time and the means—for the appearance.

13.2 (1) The Minister may treat an application as abandoned

(a) if the applicant fails, without reasonable excuse, when required by the Minister under section 23.1,

(i) in the case where the Minister requires additional information or evidence without requiring an appearance, to provide the additional information or evidence by the date specified, or

(ii) in the case where the Minister requires an appearance for the purpose of providing additional information or evidence, to appear at the time and at the place—or at the time and by the means—specified or to provide the additional information or evidence at his or her appearance; or

(b) in the case of an applicant who must take the oath of citizenship to become a citizen, if the applicant fails, without reasonable excuse, to appear and take the oath at the time and at the place—or at the time and by the means—specified in an invitation from the Minister.

(2) If the Minister treats an application as abandoned, no further action is to be taken with respect to it.

Policy

In accordance with sections A13.2 and A23.1, an application can be treated as abandoned when an applicant does not respond to requests for documentation or does not attend an event when requested without a reasonable explanation. Abandonment should be used only when all other options have been exhausted and it is evident that the applicant is no longer actively pursuing their application. Where there is sufficient information on file to make a decision, a decision maker should elect to make a decision on a file rather than treating it as abandoned.

Officers may consider a file abandoned when, without a reasonable excuse or explanation,

  • the applicant does not appear for an event (test, retest, interview, hearing or ceremony) on second notice;
  • the applicant does not provide supporting documents (e.g., residence questionnaire [RQ], supplementary documents, fingerprints, court documents) on second notice.

Specific abandonment procedures for each of these scenarios are outlined below.

Abandonment procedures

Events (tests, retests, interviews, hearings and ceremonies)

Applicants are required to attend all events convoked by IRCC unless they have provided a reasonable explanation for missing or being unable to attend the event. Applicants may provide an explanation as to why they are unable to attend an event before the event or within 30 days of the date of the event.

First notice

If an applicant contacts IRCC to provide an explanation for missing an event, local IRCC officials must make a determination as to whether the explanation is reasonable:

  • If the explanation is deemed reasonable, the applicant is rescheduled into an identical event and a new first notice will be sent to them.
  • If the explanation is deemed unreasonable, the officer must communicate the results of that determination to the applicant through the Notice of Review of Explanation. The applicant will be rescheduled into a new event and sent a final notice. A copy of the Notice of Review of Explanation should be uploaded to GCMS along with a case note briefly noting the explanation provided and why the officer determined the explanation to be unreasonable.

Note: In cases where an applicant contacts IRCC with an explanation before the scheduled event, the decision maker must determine whether the explanation provided is reasonable and communicate the determination to the applicant as soon as possible by email or telephone. Doing so will give the applicant every opportunity to make alternate arrangements to ensure they are able to attend the scheduled event.

If an applicant does not contact IRCC to provide an explanation for missing an event, the decision maker will wait 45 calendar days from the date of the event. The applicant is given 30 calendar days after the event to contact IRCC with an explanation; if no explanation is received, the decision maker will wait an additional 15 calendar days and then treat the applicant as a no-show. The applicant will then be rescheduled into a new event and sent a final notice.

Final notice

If an applicant contacts IRCC to provide an explanation for missing an event, local IRCC officials must make a determination as to whether the explanation is reasonable:

  • If the explanation is deemed reasonable, the applicant is rescheduled into an identical event and a new final notice will be sent to them.
  • If the explanation is deemed unreasonable, the officer must communicate the results of that determination to the applicant through the Notice of Review of Explanation, which will be sent to the applicant with an Abandonment of Canadian Citizenship Application notice [CIT 0543]. A copy of the Notice of Review of Explanation and the Abandonment of Canadian Citizenship Application noticeshould be uploaded to GCMS along with a case note briefly noting the explanation provided and why the officer determined the explanation to be unreasonable (see further details below). After these pieces of correspondence have been sent, no further action will be taken on the file.

Note: In cases where an applicant contacts IRCC with an explanation before the scheduled event, the decision maker must determine whether the explanation provided is reasonable and communicate the determination to the applicant as soon as possible by email or telephone. Doing so will give the applicant every opportunity to make alternate arrangements to ensure they are able to attend the scheduled event.

If an applicant does not contact IRCC to provide an explanation for missing an event, the decision maker will wait 45 calendar days from the date of the event. The applicant is given 30 calendar days after the event to contact IRCC with an explanation; if no explanation is received, the decision maker will wait an additional 15 calendar days and then treat the application as abandoned. The applicant will be sent an Abandonment of Canadian Citizenship Application notice [CIT 0543], and no further action will be taken on the file.

Documents (additional documentary evidence of physical presence in Canada, RQ, fingerprints, court documents, medical opinions, etc.)

Upon request, applicants are required to provide additional documentation to IRCC within prescribed timelines, unless they have provided a reasonable explanation for being unable to provide all of the requested documentation. Applicants may provide an explanation as to why they are unable to provide documentation within 30 days of the date of the notice.

First notice

If an applicant contacts IRCC to provide an explanation for being unable to provide the necessary documentation in the prescribed time period, local IRCC officials must make a determination as to whether the explanation is reasonable:

  • If the explanation is deemed reasonable, the applicant is given additional time to submit documentation.
  • If the explanation is deemed unreasonable, the officer must communicate the results of that determination to the applicant via the Notice of Review of Explanation, and the applicant will be sent a final notice. A copy of the Notice of Review of Explanation should be uploaded to GCMS along with a case note briefly noting the explanation provided and why the officer determined the explanation to be unreasonable.

Note: In cases where an applicant contacts IRCC with an explanation before the scheduled date by which the documents are due, the decision maker must determine whether the explanation provided is reasonable and communicate the determination to the applicant as soon as possible by email or telephone. Doing so will give the applicant every opportunity to make arrangements to ensure they are able to meet the deadline.

If an applicant does not provide IRCC with the requested documentation or an explanation, the decision maker will wait 60 calendar days from the date of the notice. The applicant is given 30 calendar days from the date of the notice to provide IRCC with the documentation or an explanation for being unable to provide them; if neither the documentation nor an explanation is received, the decision maker will wait an additional 30 calendar days and then treat the applicant as non-compliant. The applicant will then be sent a final notice.

Note: In cases where an applicant sends in only partial documents, the officer will send the applicant a final notice requesting the remaining documents.

Final notice

If an applicant contacts IRCC to provide an explanation for being unable to provide the necessary documentation in the prescribed time period, local IRCC officials must make a determination as to whether the explanation is reasonable:

  • If the explanation is deemed reasonable, the applicant is given additional time to submit documentation.
  • If the explanation is deemed unreasonable, the officer must communicate the results of that determination to the applicant through the Notice of Review of Explanation, which will be sent to the applicant with an Abandonment of Canadian Citizenship Application notice [CIT 0543]. A copy of the Notice of Review of Explanation and the Abandonment of Canadian Citizenship Application noticeshould be uploaded to GCMS along with a case note briefly noting the explanation provided and why the officer determined the explanation to be unreasonable (see further details below). After these pieces of correspondence have been sent, no further action will be taken on the file.

If an applicant does not provide IRCC with the requested documentation or an explanation, the decision maker will wait 60 calendar days from the date of the notice. The applicant is given 30 calendar days from the date of the notice to provide IRCC with the documentation or an explanation for being unable to provide them; if neither the documentation nor an explanation is received, the decision maker will wait an additional 30 calendar days and then treat the application as abandoned. The applicant will be sent an Abandonment of Canadian Citizenship Application notice [CIT 0543], and no further action will be taken on the file.

Note: In cases where an applicant sends in only partial documents, the officer will make a determination on whether a decision can be made with the documents on file. If there is enough documentation on file to make a decision, a decision will be made. Otherwise, the file will be treated as abandoned.

Procedure for application closure in GCMS

When an applicant does not respond to IRCC requests for information or does not attend events and has not provided an explanation determined to be reasonable, local offices must take steps to close the application in GCMS 30 calendar days after the deadline stated in the final file closure notice or 45 calendar days from the date of the event.

As part of these steps, a closure letter, the Abandonment of Canadian Citizenship Application notice [CIT 0543], is generated from the T: drive and sent to the applicant, with a copy saved in GCMS. A case note must also be entered providing the reason for file closure to assist the Call Centre if the applicant calls to obtain information on their application.

  • The officer should create a record for the Abandonment of Canadian Citizenship Application notice [CIT 0543] in Outgoing Correspondence. They should then use the document appearing in Correspondence Attachments to create the abandonment notice through the T: drive. They should save a copy of the finalized abandonment notice in GCMS. After mailing the letter, they should update the record’s status to “Sent”.
  • A detailed case note must be entered into GCMS.
    • The case note for applications abandoned because the applicant did not provide additional documents should include the following details:
      • The date the first notice was sent.
      • Which notice was sent (what the notice was requesting).
      • Why the notice was sent.
      • How long the applicant was given to reply to the first notice.
      • Details of any response from the applicant to the first notice.
      • The date the final notice was sent.
      • How long the applicant was given to reply to the second notice.
      • Any additional comments in the final notice regarding the response provided by the applicant to the first notice.
      • Details of any response from the applicant to the final notice.
      • The reason the application is being abandoned.
    • The case note for applications abandoned because the applicant did not attend an event should include the following details:
      • The date of the first event.
      • The date the notice to the first event was sent.
      • Details of any response from the applicant to the first notice.
      • The date of the second event.
      • The date the final notice was sent.
      • Any additional comments in the final notice regarding the response provided by the applicant to the first notice.
      • Details of any response from the applicant to the final notice.
      • The reason the application is being abandoned.
  • If an explanation was provided by the applicant that was not deemed reasonable, the note must clearly outline the explanation provided and why the decision maker deemed the explanation to be unreasonable.
  • Below are samples of notes providing an acceptable level of detail:

    On (XX date), a notice requesting supplementary information was sent to the applicant. The notice explained that additional information (list the documents) was required in order for the Minister to make a determination on the application. The applicant was given 30 days to provide the additional requested documents. No response was received. On (XX date), a final notice requesting the additional documents was sent to the applicant. The applicant was given 30 days to provide the documents. As of (XX date), the applicant has failed to provide the requested documents (or “I have determined that the applicant has not provided sufficient reasons for being unable to produce the requested documents” and why). Therefore, the applicant’s application for citizenship has been abandoned due to non-compliance.

    On (XX date), a notice requesting supplementary information was sent to the applicant. The notice explained that additional information (list the documents) was required in order for the Minister to make a determination on the application. The applicant was given 30 days to provide the additional requested documents. A partial response was provided with no explanation for why the other requested documents were not provided. On (XX date), a final notice requesting the additional documents was sent to the applicant. The applicant was afforded 30 days to provide the documents. As of (XX date), the applicant has failed to provide a reason for not submitting the additional documents. The requested documents were intended to assess how the applicant meets the requirements for citizenship. Without this information, the file cannot be properly assessed. As a result, the applicant’s application for citizenship has been abandoned due to non-compliance.

    On (XX date), a notice was sent to the applicant requesting that they attend a knowledge test and document verification interview event on (XX date). The applicant did not attend the event. On (XX date), IRCC received a letter from the applicant providing an explanation for not attending the event, namely (explanation). After reviewing the explanation, (officer XX) deemed the explanation to be unreasonable because (reason why explanation was not deemed reasonable) and sent the applicant a Notice of Review of Explanation. On (XX date), a final notice was sent to the applicant requesting that they attend a knowledge test and document verification interview event on (XX date). The applicant did not attend the event. As of (XX date), the applicant has failed to provide a reason for not attending the event. As a result, the applicant’s application for citizenship has been abandoned due to non-compliance.

  • The officer should cancel all eligibility assessments, oath and hearing activities that are not yet at a terminal status as well as the certificate if one has already been generated.
  • Under the History tab, the officer should update the App Status to “Closed” and select “Abandoned” as the App Status Reason.
  • At the appropriate time, the officer should transfer the file back to the Case Processing Centre in Sydney (CPC-S) for file retirement. See the instructions on retiring a citizenship application.

Closing an application with an associated concurrent minor application

Processing a concurrent minor’s application when a parent’s application is abandoned

If the concurrent application includes both parents, the minor could obtain Canadian citizenship through either parent, provided that the parent has been granted Canadian citizenship and that parentage has been established.

If the application included only one parent, all efforts should be made to find out if the minor’s other parent is a Canadian citizen. If so, proof of citizenship for the other parent should be requested and parentage established.

If there is no Canadian parent, all efforts should be made to find out if either of the minor’s parents have a citizenship application in progress. If so, parentage should be established by obtaining proof of parentage and the minor transferred to the file.

Abandonment notice

Scenario 1: Where there is evidence on file that the other parent is not a Canadian citizen and does not have a Canadian citizenship application in progress (e.g., when both parents are on file and both applications are being abandoned), the following text must be included in the principal applicant’s abandonment notice:

The application(s) submitted on behalf of your minor [child/children has/have] been refused as they do not meet the requirement to have a Canadian citizen parent.

Scenario 2: Where there is no evidence on file and all administrative efforts (i.e., query in GCMS on the other parent) have been made to determine whether the other parent is a Canadian citizen or has a citizenship application in progress, the following text must be included in the principal applicant’s abandonment notice:

The application(s) submitted on behalf of your minor [child/children] could be refused as a result of the abandonment of your application for Canadian citizenship. Please refer to the attached letter requesting evidence that the other parent of your minor child or children is a Canadian citizen or has a Canadian citizenship application in progress.

In this situation, the procedural fairness letter for minors (located in the T: drive) must be included with the parent’s abandonment notice.

Abandonment letter

For applications received before June 11, 2015

Minors under 18 years of age do not receive a separate abandonment letter.

For applications received on or after June 11, 2015

If the minor’s application is abandoned and the minor was between 14 and 17 years of age when the application was received at the CPC-S, they will receive an abandonment letter, and it will be sent in care of the person who applied on their behalf. Minors under 14 years of age do not receive a separate abandonment letter.

Closing of the file

In the event the minor does not have a Canadian parent or a parent who has a non-concurrent application and/or does not provide evidence within 30 days of the date the decision was communicated, citizenship officers will wait an additional 30 days before refusing the minor’s application and closing the file.

Judicial review

In the event the parent files for leave and judicial review of the decision [within the 30-day time frame as set out in paragraph A22.1(2)(b)], the minor’s application will remain on hold pending a final decision of a court on the judicial review process.

A note in GCMS must be entered explaining why the application is on hold.

Procedures for closing a concurrent minor application when the parent’s application has been abandoned

The minor’s application cannot be closed before the period to file an application for judicial review of the abandonment decision in the parent’s application has expired or before the final outcome of any litigation resulting from the abandonment of the parent’s application. In other words, the minor’s application can be closed only once the decision on the parent’s application is final.

The abandonment decision on the parent’s application is final when

  • the time limit to file an application for leave and judicial review has expired;
  • the parent has filed an application for leave and judicial review and leave was denied;
  • in the case where leave is granted, the Federal Court has dismissed the judicial review application and no serious question of general importance was certified by the judge;
  • in the case where a serious question of general importance was certified and an appeal was made to the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal has rendered its decision and the time limit to apply for an appeal by the Supreme Court of Canada has expired; or
  • in the case where an application to the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to appeal was filed, either the Supreme Court of Canada has not granted leave or, if leave was granted, an appeal was filed and the Supreme Court has rendered its decision on the appeal.

Once an abandonment decision has been rendered on the parent’s application and once the judicial review period is exhausted, the minor’s application must be refused and closed in GCMS. The officer should do the following:

  • Update the parentage eligibility assessment to ”Failed”.
  • Cancel all remaining eligibility assessments, oath and hearing activities that are not yet at a terminal status as well as the certificate if one has already been generated.
  • Enter the decision of “Refused” in the Final field.
  • Create a new refusal ground under Finalize Application, selection “5(2) No Canadian parent”.
  • Update the record for the refusal letter, which will have already been created in Outgoing Correspondence, to “Generate”. Use the document appearing in Correspondence Attachments to create the refusal letter through the T: drive. Save a copy of the finalized refusal letter in GCMS. After mailing the letter, update the record’s status to “Sent”. This will close the application in GCMS.
  • Enter the case note “Application refused as minor applicant does not have a Canadian parent. Please see application(s) (app#(s)) for details on the minor applicant’s parent(s) whose application(s) has(have) been deemed abandoned(/refused/withdrawn)”.
  • At the appropriate time, transfer the file back to the CPC-S for file retirement. See the instructions on retiring a citizenship application.

Closing of the physical file

For applications received at the CPC-S before June 11, 2015

  • The refusal must be indicated on the citizenship application review form (CARF). The citizenship officer should indicate the following in the appropriate field (Part II):
    • “Citizenship is not granted”
  • The officer adds the following in the Reasons/Comments area:
    • “No rights: minor applicant does not have a Canadian parent”
  • The CARF is signed and dated by the delegated citizenship officer.

For applications received on or after June 11, 2015

  • The refusal must be indicated on the Citizenship Application Record of Decision form (CARD). The citizenship officer should indicate the following in the appropriate field (i.e., Part IV):
    • “Citizenship is not granted”
  • The citizenship officer adds the following in the Reasons/Comments section:
    • “No rights: minor applicant does not have a Canadian parent or leave denied/not granted” (as applicable)
  • The CARD is signed and dated by the delegated citizenship officer.

Returning the file to the CPC-S for application retirement

  • Before returning a file to the CPC-S for application retirement (and reimbursement of the right of citizenship fee), the officer should ensure that all the appropriate steps were taken for abandonment, that notices were sent to the applicant's latest known address (including overseas) and that the steps taken have been documented on file.
  • Applications that are treated as abandoned due to the procedures outlined must be kept at the local office for a period of six months in case of litigation or reactivation of the case.

Reactivating abandoned applications

Abandoned applications can be reactivated when it is determined that they were abandoned by a citizenship official in error or where directed to review an abandonment decision.

If applicants are questioning the abandonment of their file, the Call Centre will advise the applicant if information is evident in GCMS or in the case notes.

  • If the Call Centre staff cannot answer the question, they will send a referral to the local office (if it has been less than six months since the file was treated as abandoned) or the CPC-S (if it has been longer than six months since the file was treated as abandoned).
  • The local office or the CPC-S will check the file and, if the reason for abandonment is clear, advise the applicant. If it is not clear, the file will be sent to the manager of the office where the decision to abandon was made.
  • The manager will review the file to determine whether the file was abandoned in error.

Before reactivating an abandoned application, it must be determined whether the right of citizenship fee has been refunded yet. If the right of citizenship fee has been refunded, the applicant must be notified that they are required to repay the fee before having their application reactivated. Once proof of payment is received, this should be noted in GCMS and the application can be reactivated. For any questions regarding the procedures for repaying the right of citizenship fee, contact the Citizenship Program Delivery Division.

Note: Some requests to review abandonment decisions, such as those received through the Minister’s office, go directly to the Case Management Branch (CMB). The CMB has the ability to determine, and direct that a file should be reactivated.

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