Sending applications and changes of address
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 is about what to do when applicants change their address, guidelines on the transfer of requests and rules about sending files by mail.
Overview and jurisdiction
This section is about determining to which citizenship office applicants and applications should be referred.
Address determines closest office
Use the residence address on the application to determine the citizenship office or foreign service post closest to the applicant.
Business address, post box not acceptable
Do not use the address for a place of business or a post box on an application form to determine which citizenship office has jurisdiction. If there is doubt about an applicant's address, use the address given in answer to the question about the applicant's residential address during the past four years.
Applicant changes address
CIC is notified of a change in address through the Call Centre, via the Internet, or by fax or mail to a local office or to the Case Processing Centre in Sydney (CPC-S).
Staff at the CIC office that receives the notice of address change makes changes to the Global Case Management System (GCMS) record to show the new address and telephone numbers.
When a client changes their address via the Internet, CPC-S enters the request into GCMS and, where necessary, follows up with the local office concerned.
A change of address can be an advisory change or can result in a file transfer.
Advisory change of address
- An advisory change of residential address is a simple change of address that does not lead to a file transfer. If the local office is notified of an advisory change of address, following the mailing of a notice, they should notify the applicant either by mail or by telephone so that it does not lead to abandonment or administrative closure of the application.
- An advisory change of mailing address does not change jurisdiction and does not lead to a file transfer.
Transfer of files between local offices
A change of residential address by the client may necessitate a transfer of the file to another CIC office. This occurs when the new address falls within the geographic location of another office.
There may be instances where an officer believes that a change of address is not legitimate. Clients may change their address as a result of a perceived leniency in decision-making or quicker processing times at another office. If this is the case, the officer should request from the client more information on the change of address. If the officer is still not satisfied with the additional information, or if the client does not supply the officer with it, the files remain in the original office and the client is notified.
Example: The client who lives in Montreal requests that his file be transferred to his lawyer in Calgary. The request is refused and the client’s file remains in the local office nearest the client’s home.
Guidelines on transfer requests
The following guidelines have been developed to assist offices in responding to transfer requests.
Some regions may require specific procedures for their local offices with regard to file transfers among those offices. However, these policies should recognize that some files will need to be transferred from one region to another. Those counseling clients should be aware that different approaches may be taken within regions. Also, if a client has informed CIC of an address change, the file should not be abandoned or administratively closed before the local office has made sure that the person was sent the required number of notices to the right address.
- The local CIC office makes the final decision regarding whether or not the file will be transferred.
- The local office will transfer the file to the new office within six weeks of notification of change of address. If the office is not able to make the transfer within this time for reasons other than waiting on fingerprint results or because the file is with a citizenship judge, the office will make a note in GCMS so that the Call Centre can answer any inquiries. If there is no indication in GCMS that the file was transferred or if there is no case note in GCMS within six weeks, the Call Centre will make a referral to the local office. If a client inquires about a file transfer before the six week period, the Call Centre will advise the client to call back after the six week period for an update, if necessary.
- Transfers should not occur within the Greater Toronto Area, except in exceptional cases.
File transfers should be processed by the location of the physical file. It is the responsibility of the Call Centre to determine if the file is at CPC-S or at a local office and contact the appropriate office to notify them that a file transfer may be necessary.
Currently a change of address can be made through Online Services on the CIC Web site through e-Client Application Status (e-CAS).
On-line changes of address are updated in GCMS by an agent at CPC-S. Agents will use a postal code list to determine if a file transfer may be needed. CPC-S will notify the local office holding the file that a file transfer may be necessary.
Once a local office is notified of a file transfer it is their responsibility to follow up with the client if necessary. If the official believes the request may not be legitimate, they are encouraged to request additional documentation to confirm the address change such as a driver’s license, lease, etc.
The following points should be kept in mind when considering requests for file transfers:
- Transfer requests should be the result of a change of address or a change in circumstances (working during the week or attending school in another city).
- The determining factor for a transfer is to make it more convenient for the client to attend appointments at a local office.
- The purpose of the transfer is not to give the client a material advantage such as quicker processing times or a perceived leniency in decision-making.
- Transfers should occur only when this does not impede an investigation into that client’s circumstances (e.g., residence cases, immigration or RCMP investigations).
- Transfers should not occur when the client is before a judge or has already been called to appear at an event (examination, hearing or ceremony) and the notice has already been mailed. The file transfer should occur after the appearance date.
- Use discretion. In general, ensure that nothing is pending before transferring the file. For example, if the client has passed the citizenship test, ensure that the decision is made and the results entered into GCMS before transferring the file. If fingerprints have been sent to the RCMP, await results from the RCMP before transferring the file.
Security is an important factor when transmitting classified mail. Files should not be transferred by regular mail. It is CIC policy that restricted and confidential mail transmitted from city to city within Canada must be sent by secure mail, for example by registered mail or priority post.
For more information on transmitting classified mail see: Transport and transmittal of sensitive information and assets.
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